Challenge Almere-Amsterdam 2016 is done and dusted. Europe’s oldest long distance triathlon was organized for the 36th time and could crown two new winners: Jan Raphael from Germany and Camille Deligny from France. After a decent swim, Raphael got away from the rest of the field on the bike and increased his lead further and further. Camille Deligny won the women’s race. After finishing third last year, she now took gold in a very exciting race. The Dutch athletes also had the Dutch Championship on the long distance to compete for. This year, Dirk Wijnalda and Mirjam Weerd were crowned as best Dutch athletes. The organization looks forward to the next edition of 9 September 2017. Athletes can register for the Long and Half Distance via www.challenge-almere.com
During the Long Distance race, Raphael took the lead immediately on the bike course after he had a decent swim. Checked though determined, he was able to create a distance between himself and the rest of the field with the German Christian Otto, Polish Marek Jaskolka and Youri Severin in the first chase pack. After about 90 km, they were joined by a second larger chase group, consisting of Erik-Simon Strijk, Dirk Wijnalda, Scottish Graeme Stewart and others. After the 180km bike leg, Raphael reached the Transition Area with a convenient 12 minute advantage. By running a fast pace the first two rounds, he wanted to strengthen his position, so he told us afterwards. His pace was so promising that he was on track to break the race record of Jan van de Marel (7u 57) dated from 1999, but he eventually finished a great 8.03.43. Dirk Wijnalda started the marathon in second position, which he was able to retain. With an outstanding 2.49.59 run Wijnalda even made up some time on Raphael, but he turned out to be out of reach. Polish Marek Jaskolka overtook Erik-Simon Strijk in the last kilometers of the race and took the bronze.
The women’s race turned out as a turbulent battle for the gold. As expected, Mirjam Weerd took several minutes on the swim, but was not able to follow a very strong Camille Deligny on the bike leg. The two women entered the Transition Area with more than a 20 minute lead. Last years winner Kathrin Walther had already lost precious time and would get out the race after the bike leg. Deligny, who finished third last year, started the marathon in leading position, but halfway, Weerd caught up on her. They seemed to start taking turns, but at 28km Weerd got in trouble. She lost several minutes and even seemed to miss the podium, due to an unleashed Simona Krivankova. Krivankova had company of Erica Csomor (HUN), and the three women got into a heavy battle for second and third spot. But Weerd was able to dig deep. She finished second and thanked the cheering crowd while being very emotional. Simona Krivankova took the bronze with an outstanding marathon, which made her make up the almost 20 minute backlog on Weerd.
Winners other races Challenge Almere-Amsterdam 2016
Athletes could compete in other races as well during the weekend: the Half Distance on Saturday, Junior Challenge and Challenge4All (Senior Challenge and No-Limit Challenge) on Friday, and the Jeugd-Junior Circuit, the Business & Family Relays and the Lotto Premier League on Sunday. It was a successful weekend with 2.750 athletes at the start, beautiful weather and an enthusiast crowd in the stadium and alongside the course.
900 athletes started the Half Distance of Challenge Almere-Amsterdam. German athlete Benjamin Winkler won this race with a time of 04:11:48 and the Dutch athlete Leanne Fanoy took the win in the female category with a time of 04:26:19.
TriTogether teams Long and Half Distance
Athletes could also participate on the Long and Half distance in teams of three athletes. The team that won the Long Distance was cyclingsupport with Jonas Coreelman, Stijn Demeulemeester and Yves Vandermeulebroucke with the time 08:44:21. The Half Distance was won by the team of Bart Colpaert. Team Trisportpharma was formed by Peter-Johan Dillo, Ruben Geys and Colpaert and finished in 04:15:51.
Friday 9 September
The day before the Long Distance took place, the course was already tested by 700 Dutch high school students during the Junior Challenge. They covered 1/10th of the long distance. In the category <16, Jelle van Lanen of the Hendrik Pierson College in Zetten and Dirkje Lebouille of the Oostvaarders College in Almere won. The category 16+ was won by Davy Heijsteeg of the Amstelveen College and Maaike Telkamp of the Helen Parkhurst College in Almere. The Helen Parkhurst also won the Dutch Championship School Triathlon. Seniors and people with an intellectual disability participated in a recreational triathlon in which they swam 20 minutes, cycled 25/35km, and walked 6,5/10km.
Sunday 11 September
According to tradition, the Challenge Almere-Amsterdam weekend ended with the finals of the Lotto Premier League. The Dutch teams, consisting of 4 athletes, closed off their season in Almere. Davilex from Nijmegen won the race for the men, and Hellas Utrecht won in the women’s race. In the morning, juniors competed in the Jeugd-Junior Circuit. TVHaarlemmermeer took the first position.
At 10.05, 100 teams partook in the RABO Business Relay and Family Relay, a series in which teams of 3 race a super sprint relay. They covered a 380 meter swim course, a 7km bike course and 2 km run course which took them through the city center and Almere’s city hall. The RABO Business Relay was won by team Van der linde Almere and the Family Relay by team Dolfijn 2.
All results can be found at www.challenge-almere.com/nl/atleten/results/