Holland Beker 2023: Melvin Twellaar!
The men’s final certainly had us on the edge of our seats! My oh my, this certainly was a battle of titans with the reigning European Champion, vice world and olympic champions, world record holder on the erg and an olympic champion at the start, this will go down in history as one of the best Holland Beker finals ever.
Everyone was away fast. However, amidst the clash of the Dutch Titans Australian sculler Heseltine found himself off the blocks first. Top-favourite van Lierop found himself already half a boat length behind at 250m. However, he was the fastest of the Dutch scullers in the first 500m. He did not get much space from the others though. Broenink and Twellaar who race together in the Dutch men’s double sculles rowed almost synchronically together and kept the pressure on van Lierop and Heseltine. They followed the European champion across the 500m line within one second.
After this mark, the race started to change. Broenink placed an impressive attack and started to row away. He built the gap stroke by stroke and Wieten had to let go of the pack. He found himself in sixth place for the remainder of the race. Despite that, we hope he can look back on this weekend feeling proud of what he has achieved in this short amount of time back!
Meanwhile, as the scullers were nearing the 1000m mark, it was Twellaar who seemed to have found his rhythm and started to work his way back through the field. Unfortunately, van Lierop was clearly suffering under the fast pace the others were setting and had to give up costly places to Twellaar and van Dorp. Twellaar crossed the halfway mark in third and van Dorp in fourth place. Leading them were Aussie Heseltine in second place and Broenink in first place.
Having rowed together for such a long time, Broenink and Twellaar know each other through and through. This allowed Twellaar to place a well-timed attack around the 1150m mark. Stef could not fight him off and Twellaar quickly rowed past him. With 500m to go, Twellaar had a half a length lead over Broenink. Broenink tried to fight back, but the first half of the race had consumed too much energy from the vice-world champion. In the meantime van Heseltine cracked and this allowed van Dorp to take over third place. Van Lierop picked himself up and started to regain pace. The cyclists along the course yelled him past Heseltine and helped him gain even more courage for the final 500m.
The final 500m of this race was a true apotheosis of this weekend, and we could not have wished for more. Sadly, Broenink got overwhelmed by the speed he put in in the first part of the race, and slowly but surely fell back more and more. It was van Dorp who rowed past him first, and took over the second place. In the final sprint van Lierop also overtook Broenink and rowed to the final podium spot. Van Dorp who will race at the world championships in the single sculls was thrilled with his performance, demonstrated by a loud roar and him throwing his hands in the air after crossing the finish line. Van Lierop was clearly devastated with a third place after the brilliant race in Bled just a couple of weeks ago. However, the way that he managed to get back from fifth place onto the podium is more than commendable and clearly shows his strong determination and will to win.
Twellaar showed true brilliance and dominated the final 500m. He crossed the finish line clearly very emotional. In an interview with the NOS shortly after the finish, he explained that this was a special win to him. He expressed gratitude for his grandparents who got him to take the leap to go row in Amsterdam. Having just received bad news about the health of his grandmother on Saturday, winning this race was an extra special moment for him and his family. Melvin, we are sure you made her more than proud! Congratulations on winning the 129th Holland Beker!