Nils van der Poel dominated the world cup premiere and Olympic qualifier in Polish Tomaszów Mazowiecki last weekend.
The Swedish skating star crushed the opposition at 5,000 meters and was just over five seconds faster than the nearest opponent.
- We had not prioritized the first competition to the max.
Therefore, it was even more surprising, says Röjler.
On to Stavanger
This weekend, the skating circus will move on to Norwegian Stavanger.
This afternoon, the only Olympic qualifying race of 10,000 meters will be run there.
If van der Poel finishes among the top four riders, he secures a quota place for the Olympics in Beijing in February.
And the conditions could not be better.
He starts in the last pair so he has full control of the other riders' times.
He is up against the Dutchman Jorrit Bergsma who took silver in the 10,000 meters at the Olympics in Pyeongchang 2018.
In the pairs before, the challenger runs the Dutchman Patrick Roest and the Olympic champion the Canadian Ted-Jan Bloemen.
Inhibits in the start
The injury that van der Poel suffered at the beginning of the year and which haunted him during the summer and autumn remains.
But do not worry.
- It inhibits him a little in the beginning, in the acceleration.
He is a little slower the first 200 meters.
But it is as we expected, says Johan Röjler.
Qualifying for the Olympics is complicated.
To 10,000 meters there are twelve places.
Eight places go to the skiers with the best ranking in the World Cup long distance after four races.
The four remaining places go to the four skiers who then have the four best times.
And since only a 10,000-meter race is run, Saturday's competition will be a direct qualifier where the top four secure an Olympic place in Beijing.
Formally, Nils van det Poel must then be taken out of SOK.
But that should not be a problem.
The requirement is that you must be able to compete to be in the top eight.
Nils van der Poel is a double reigning world champion and also holds the world record of 10,000 meters.
Form topping against Beijing
If everything goes as planned, the Swedish skating world champion can start preparing for his trip to China already on Saturday night.
But if the truth is to be told, he has already done so.
- Our approach is a small gamble.
I will not top the form for the qualifiers but aim for the Olympic Games in Beijing, he explained when he went on ice in southern Germany in early October.Keywords: