Why are dutch female speedskaters so poor at long distances?
Only one rider in the A group and she did end on the last spot!
The Past World Cup race in Hamar 2010, Norway showed it again, the Dutch female team had only one participant in the 5km A group and she did end dead last. In the B group some other skaters got some better results/times, but those aren't 100% comparable as in the B group where you are riding with double pairs on the ice, that does gives an advantage. And does times where also not super.
Why is this? On almost all distances, the skating woman do well, on the 3 km it always get's a bit more difficult and the 5 km is almost always a step too far. And what we also almost always see is a poorly executed schedule, their races almost always are fly and die races, ending with slow rounds. A typical feature of an antistayer.
The strange thing is that the Dutch men through the years have always produced good stayers who won many medals at World Championships and Olympic games. So genetically there should be no reason why women not also could be good at longer work.Pure fysical endurance is what seems to count the most.
We often see that coaches from other countries don't come from a skating background themself, and thus might be less focused on technique and more on pure physical ability. And you get no style points during speedskating, the fastest one wins. Look for example at German riders, Gunda Niemann (picture), Claudia Pechstein and nowadays Stephanie Beckert. They would never have won style prices. But real medals they won plenty.
Also in terms of training, I can indicate a difference, particularly the German women are known for the high mileage they do. Around there races they are known for the long hours at low intensity they make on the ice. And endurance for long distances is by far the most factor.
Furthermore, if we look at the Germans, they have always had good stayers, although there total amount of skaters is far less. The Canadians also have often good riders who participate on the longest distances, also with a lot less total of skaters.
Looking at possible causes I can think of a few things. The Dutch skaters often ride very neat and smooth, it looks technically very nice. Especially when we start comparing them with the Germans and Canadians. From this you could conclude that technique on the longest distances is less important.
Another issue is finding talent, it can not be that there are no Dutch women have a talent for the longer work. Apparently in the junior stages there is so much emphasis on the all-round types of skaters, that does who do not directly suit this don't make it to the adult stages. For youth there is no 5000 meters on the program, so the more sprinty types are in favor. As a senior, this benefit falls away. And even if you an allrounder you need a good 5k to be really successful.
I still find it very strange that the Dutch women perform so poorly over the long distances. Especially considering the number of people skating here and the organization of the Dutch federation KNSB that apparently is not able to do a good job in this. There underlying policy in this area just does not work.