Nils van der Poel snaps Dutch dominance one last time before retirement

Nils van der Poel, Patrick Roest

Swede Nils van der Poel rallied to win the biggest title missing from his resume, again knocking off a Dutchman, in his penultimate competition before retirement from elite racing.

Van der Poel became the first Swede in 49 years to win the world men’s allround — one of the most storied events in sports dating to 1893 that combines results from the 500m, 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m over two days of racing.

Van der Poel needed to beat Dutch rival Patrick Roest by more than 21 seconds in the closing 10,000m after Roest was stronger over shorter distances.

After van der Poel skated 10.82 seconds slower than his world record from the Olympics, Roest went 41.49 seconds slower than his silver-medal time from Beijing, handing van der Poel the title.

At the Olympics, van der Poel relegated Roest to silver in the 5000m and 10,000m by .47 of a second and 13.85 seconds, respectively.

Van der Poel snapped a streak of nine consecutive world allround titles for Dutchmen, a run that also included Sven Kramer (five titles), Koen Verweij (one) and Roest (three). The last Swede to win was Göran Claeson in 1973.

Van der Poel said before the championships that he planned to retire from top-level competition after next week’s World Cup Finals, though he has tried to quit twice before and come back. On Sunday, van der Poel didn’t rule out a return.

“The idea is to have a final goodbye to the elite part of the sport,” he said, according to the International Skating Union. “I said I’ll skate Swedish Championships for as long as I can and if I’m in shape enough next year, maybe I’ll go to the 10,000m World Cup and meet my friends, just to have fun with it.”

Dutchwoman Irene Schouten, who won all three Olympic distance races, captured her first world allround title. She held off Japanese Miho Takagi, who took Olympic gold in the 1000m and silver in the 500m and 1500m.

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