Markus Fachbach has kept his promise: he’ll return to Almere to defend his title from last year. Even though the Challenge Almere-Amsterdam is no European Championship in 2015, Fachbach will still start in Almere this Saturday. Like last year, he will have to prepare for a duel with Dirk Wijnalda (NED), who became second in 2014 and is the current Dutch Champion. The title for the best female athlete is up for grabs since Heleen bij de Vaate retired from triathlon. This edition will be the 35th anniversary of this oldest triathlon of Europe, formerly known as Holland Triathlon.
The competition between the men appears to become a duel between Germany and the Netherlands. Fachbach is a strong contender from our neighboring country, but also his fellow countrymen Jens Kaiser and Stefan Eichheimer are experienced long distance triathletes and will create a strong German field. Dirk Wijnalda has experienced Fachbach’s strength last year, but he will also have to keep an eye on his own countrymen. One of the Dutch favorites this year, if he had enough time to rest, is Mark Oude Bennink. He became second in Ironman Maastricht-Limburg last August. Furthermore, Thijs Koelen (second during the Dutch Championships last year), Roeland Smits, and Erik-Simon Strijk stood on the podium in Almere before. This applies to more athletes who will compete this Saturday: Gerrit Schellens (BEL) won the title six times in Almere and will be at the start again this weekend.
It has become an ‘anybody’s game’ in the female field since title contender Mirjam Weerd has canceled due to an injury. Beate Goertz and Kathrin Walter will probably lead the race this Saturday. Goertz (GER) has won Challenge Denmark this year and Walter (GER) reached the podium in Almere in 2013. This also applies to Irene Kinnegim (NED). She became second in 2013 but she has also won the race in Almere in 2009 and 2010. Together with Carla van Rooijen, Nina Bakker, Linda van Bemmel, and Grada Boschker, Kinnegim will compete for the overall title as well as the Dutch Championship.
Challenge Almere-Amsterdam promises to become an exciting event this weekend. With over 2500 athletes competing, this 35th edition is the largest triathlon event ever held in the Netherlands. The long distance triathlon will be a Dutch Championship as well for the Dutch athletes. The long distance is a classic race, with a 3,8 kilometer swim course, a 180 kilometer bike course, and a 42,2 kilometer run course. The start and finish are located at the Esplanade in Almere. The long distance race starts at 7:20 hrs, and from 15:00 hrs onwards, the speakers will warm up the supporters to welcome this year’s winner of the Challenge Almere-Amsterdam.
Source: Dutch Triathlon Union