Halfway into Challenge Almere-Amsterdam one thing is clear. The 2014 edition will give lots to talk about after the race. In spite of the calm weather at the Esplanade, there’s strong winds on the dykes. We’re receiving reports saying cyclists nearly come to a halt at the dyke.
After a traditionally slow swim, Heleen bij de Vaate took the lead on the bike within 40 kilometers. Surprise act is Tineke van den Berg, who is following the race leader at a mere 10 seconds for over 60 kilometers. Rahel Bellinga is the women’s number 3 in the race. Celia Kuch is the first non-Dutch athlete at rank 4, trailing at about 8.5 minutes behind Bij de Vaate.
Bad luck for Jon Thorp, who had to forfeit after te swim. The Norwegian suffered a double flat and didn’t even make it past the transition area. Last year’s winner Bart Colpaert is also out of the race. The Belgian clocked the fastest swim split, but felt his powers fading in the early stages of the bike. His achilles tendon forced him to an early exit after a mere hour into the bike. German Markus Fachbach was already in the lead by then. After 100 kilometers on the bike Fachbach led before ‘Little Georg’ Potrebitsch. First Dutchman at that point was Diederik Scheltinga in 8th position.