Bart Colpaert of Belgium and Germany’s Susan Blatt win first edition of Challenge Almere-Amsterdam

Challenge Amsterdam 2013 Susan Blatt

Susan Blatt took the honours in the women’s race (Photo Charlie Crowhurst/image.net)

Bart Colpaert (BEL) and Susan Blatt (GER) have taken the inaugural titles of Challenge Almere-Amsterdam in the first year this historic race has been run as part of the Challenge Family.  For both of them, these were also their first victories over the full distance and they held their own against the competition and the weather.

Colpaert is not new to Almere, having won the half distance triathlon in Almere last year. Had a strong swim exciting the Weerwater shortly after Dylan McNeice (NZL) who posted a 46:10. McNeice was the favourite for the race, he already has the prestigious Challenge Wanaka and Challenge Taiwain titles this year, but the Kiwi was ill leading into the race 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 following up with the day’s fastest marathon of 2:57:24 to take the win in 8:34:50, comfortably ahead of Georg Potrebitsch in 8:43:19. 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 but Erik-Simon Strijk remained immune to such fate and in the second half of the race cycled strongly and advanced forward with the fastest split of the day of 4:42:55 which was enough to see him into third in 8:45:48.

This was Susan Blatt’s fourth full distance triathlon and there was nothing holding the German back as she shrugged the harsh weather conditions off. After the swimming she was looking at a five minute lag behind Hillary Biscay (USA) who led out of the water in 51:37, but the American was unable to cope with the cycling prowess of the German with Blatt posting a 5:06:12 bike split, putting her into first place for the rest of the race. It seemed as though the race was over for Irene Kinnegim after just a few hundred metres into the swimming. She was plagued with cramp and clung to a buoy for five minutes but still managed to continue her race and promised the announcer after the swim that she would speed up. She did indeed speed up and ran her way into second place and the Dutch Championship title with the fastest run of the day in 3:17:17, finishing in 9:47:37. Kathrin Walther (GER) rounded out the women’s podium in 10:07:10.

The triathlon weekend Challenge Almere-Amsterdam consists of three days of triathlon competitions.  On Friday hundreds of students took part in the schools triathlon. On Saturday the half and full Challenges were held and Sunday is dedicated to the team relays, with the business relay and the final Lotto Premier Division Triathlon.

For full results visit www.challenge-almere.com.