Robin Groot only heard two days ago that she would participate in the European Allround Championships. The 21-year-old skater from Alkmaar was called up to replace Joy Beune. In Hamar, Norway, she finished fourth at the European Allround Championships.

    Irene Schouten was the major absentee at the European Allround Championships. The skater from Hoogkarspel chose to skip the NK all-round and was therefore unable to qualify for the European All-round Championships. So the North Holland pride had to come from a different angle. Groot finished fourth at the Dutch National Championships and was a reserve for the European Allround Championships. Because Beune was felled by a stomach flu, the Alkmaar was allowed to raid.

    On the first day of the European Allround Championships, Groot immediately showed her business card. She won the bronze in the 500 meters in 39 seconds and 72 hundredths. She also rode a solid race in the 3,000 meters. With a time of 4 minutes, 9 seconds and 40 hundredths, she finished fourth behind Ragne Wiklund, Antoinette de Jong and Marijke Groenewoud.

    Top 4

    They were also the competitors for the podium. On Sunday, the top 4 in the 1,500 meters was the same, with Groot again placing fourth in 1 minute, 58 seconds and 57 hundredths. In the final 5,000 meters, Groot knew she had to set a top time to finish on the podium. That turned out to be a bit too ambitious, but with another fourth place (7.11.52) she secured her fourth place in the general classification.

    Antoinette de Jong was crowned European all-round champion in Hamar. Wiklund and Groenewoud completed the podium. Groot made his debut with a fine fourth place. Crowned yesterday Merijn Scheperkamp from Hilversum became European sprint champion.

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