Better, it never was. Not at NK distances, nor in an NK race, let alone on the World Cup circuit or during World Cup distances. A podium finish in a national context was Wesley Dages’ best result until Friday. But in Canada, he broke the spell, after years of toil in the sidelines: in the 1500m he stayed surprisingly ahead of China’s Zhongyan Ning and Olympic champion Kjeld Noyes with a 1.42.93. The first is 27.
Dijs once called himself the king of training. The speed he recorded after that, he rarely shows in competitions. Then he misses the perfect relaxation in his strokes. So, the runner from Soest has been wandering around as an extra for years.
A hint of his ability to skate hard came last season in Salt Lake City. Then Dijs, who did not qualify for the World Cup tournament, was allowed to replace Chris Huizinga and he took this opportunity. It took the fourth place in the United States, the second in the Netherlands. He succeeded Thomas Kroll but ahead of Kjeld Neuss. With his time of 1:42.38, he broke his personal best by nearly two seconds. The result is the mummification of his soul.
Kjeld Nuis, the winning kind, is the standard
After all, Nuis is the Dijs standard. Not only because they have been teammates at Reggeborgh for three years, but mainly because of what Nuis shows on the ice in official competition. two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time world champion, European champion, world record holder; It’s a list of honors that can only make Dijs’ mouth water. “Kjeld radiates class. It’s the winning kind.”
The fact that he was ahead of Neuss by the score at the time fueled hope. It was three weeks before the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and Dijs told himself a stunt could be in the works like this. He was cheated.
During the qualifying match for the Beijing Winter Games, he was not a shadow of himself, not even his faceless old self. “I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I got it black out On the day it was supposed to happen. I finished eleventh, a disappointment.”
View from one race to another
After this disappointment, Dijs decided to take up racing as a race. Don’t drive yourself crazy with fantasies, but see where you stand on the day itself. He also applied this strategy in Calgary. In the Heights, where his abilities usually come into their own. “It went the way I wanted it to. I drove focused, it was sharp, and I left nothing behind.” He laughs: “But then, of course, it’s easier to talk. If you win, there’s nothing to complain about.
The victory, which Dijs described as a “relief”, fueled ambition. However, he did not want to fall into the trap again. “Of course I want to qualify for the World Cup in March over the NK distances in February, but I’m not looking forward so much anymore. I’ve now made a move. Next week in Calgary, when we start reruns, I want to try to improve myself. To increase my confidence, which is A must for the second part of the season.”
Nuis Piggybacks on Wüst’s success: ‘You can do this, too,’ she said.
Kjeld Neuss extended his Olympic title in the 1,500m on Tuesday. He got the inspiration from Erin Foust. Nuis now has a unique statistic: three Olympic races and three gold medals.
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