Almere, The Netherlands – 14 September 2013 – The 31st Almere triathlon was an exceptional event. Included in the Challenge Family for the first time, it drew an internationally oriented starting line; a red and white coloured Esplanade in the heart of the city and old-fashioned Dutch autumn weather made the race into something which will be talked about for a long time to come. Bart Colpaert and Susan Blatt have been named as the first winners of the Challenge Almere-Amsterdam, the official name of the race. The Belgian and German triumphed for the first time in a triathlon over the classic distance and held their own against the competition and the weather. Former winner Georg Potrebitsch took the men’s silver; beating the new national champion Erik-Simon Strijk. Irene Kinnegim took the Dutch Championship title and the silver in the women’s competition, followed by the German Kathrin Walther.
Bart Colpaert won the half triathlon in Almere last year, whilst enjoying that race he was also forewarned as to what he would have to do today. The Belgium performed excellently in the swimming event and left the Weerwater shortly after Dylan McNeice. McNeice was the favourite for the race, he already has the prestigious Challenge Wanaka and others in his pocket, but the Kiwi was ill this week and afterwards admitted to not being as strong as he had hoped. Colpaert took the lead in the cycling half way into the race and refused to give up the position. Last year’s winner, Dirk Wijnalda, looked as though he was going to take the lead in the competition, but had to retire due to a puncture. Jan-Roelf Heerssema also suffered the same fate, while local Almerer, Merijn Schuurman, was also out of the race after a fall. Erik-Simon Strijk remained immune to such fate and in the second half of the race cycled strongly and advanced forward. The Davilex athlete, currently living in Limburg had already taken a second place in Almere in the past, has often stood on the Dutch Championship podium and did very well today. In the closing marathon he managed to keep team member Roeland Smits at bay and secured the overall third place. Only Colpaert and Potrebitsch remained in front of him, although he needed a final sprint in the last few kilometres to stay ahead of Strijk. Just as last year, the Dutch Championship bronze went to Remy Vasseur, who finished overall sixth, after Smits and the Belgian Hannes Cool. The best Almerer was Thomas Naasz who took seventh place.