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Dutch speed skater Kjeld Nuis tore up the record books by reaching 103kph over natural ice on Norway’s Savalen Lake. The 32-year-old Olympic champion exceeded the 100kph mark as he added a further 10kph to his existing speed record.

With a three-kilometre-long natural ice rink and a Dakar Rally car with a “wind catcher” behind it to keep him out of the wind: the perfect conditions were in place for Nuis and his quest for 100.

I was literally flying over the snow… This is really the maximum that is possible on skates

“I was literally flying over the ice. Every little bump felt like a threshold. Sometimes I even got really loose from the glaciers. Skating that fast is technically challenging and requires precision. ” Nuis said after his successful record attempt. “Moreover, I skated more than 2km on each attempt, which I never do in competition. So today’s tactic was to skate as far as possible into the wind catcher, so that I had enough energy left to make the acceleration from 92 to over 100kph. It was very hard on my body. This is really the maximum that is possible on skates. ”

Nuis set the world record four years ago in Sweden, with 93kph. However , the Dutchman knew that he could go faster and was determined to break his own record.

“That 100kph limit kept gnawing at me, ” Nuis confessed. “And how nice is it to do that exactly 4 years after the last Games? I’m in great shape and so I had to skate that 100kph. ”

Coach Erben Wennemars saw how difficult it is to align athlete, rider and windshield. “Four years ago we had a dream about how fast we could go, ” Wennemars revealed. “Maybe 100kph, but that was not based on anything. Through improvements in terms of ice, preparation and communication, we succeeded. But 100kph is so hard! When you see how fast you go on the ice, it really is bizarre. It was exciting. We couldn’t go any faster. ”

Nuis relied solely on his own strength in his attempt, but was kept out of the wind by a car travelling with the windscreen behind it. At the wheel was American racing driver Seth Quintero , the record-breaker himself at the ultra-tough Dakar Rally.

Teenager Quintero is clearly just as talented at driving on the ice as he is in the deserts of the Dakar. “The biggest challenge for me was to accelerate in the right way, ” Quintero explained. “I’ve also never felt so much tension at such a low speed. On the other hand, while riding on the snow, I couldn’t imagine anyone achieving that kind of speed with their own legs. inch

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