Jan Raphael and Mirjam Weerd are race favorites for this weekend’s Challenge Almere-Amsterdam 2016
Almere is ready to crown a new champion. The winner of the 2014 and 2015 editions – Markus Fachbach – will not defend his title this year, which leaves the field of title candidates wide open. Jan Raphael, who won the desperately fought Challenge Regensburg four weeks ago, seems to be favorite for Almere’s title. He can expect tough competition from top athletes Erik-Simon Strijk and Dirk Wijnalda.
In the women pro field, last year’s title defender will start in the legendary Long Distance. German athlete Kathrin Walther will compete with Mirjam Weerd, a strong Dutch athlete who recently dominated in Challenge Denmark. Experienced athlete Erica Csomor will join in this fierce competition.
German Raphael will particularly keep an eye on his Dutch competition. Dirk Wijnalda will start his tenth long distance race in Almere this year, and has had a good season so far. He won Challenge Venice earlier this year and became third in the European Championships in Poznan (Poland). His weapon – a fast marathon – could deliver him a podium place in Almere as well. Erik-Simon Strijk has shown progress this year and became fourth at Ironman Maastricht. Last year he became third in Almere, a result that he most likely will want to surpass. Youri Severin, an athlete from Almere, made his debut on the long distance this July and reached an impressive 15th position in this first race in Frankfurt. Severin hopes to do well in Almere:
There’s no holding back for me. I want to win
Allan Hovda from Norway has won the difficult race Norseman twice, and together with Polish Marek Jaskolka, who is a strong swimmer and runner, he could be able to surprise everyone.
Kathrin Walther will try to prolong her title, but this will not be easy: one of the other strong contenders is Mirjam Weerd. She needed to cancel Challenge Almere-Amsterdam last year due to an injury, but has regained her place within the international top afterwards. With her strong swim- and cycle abilities she will have a chance to create a gap between herself and her competition. Erica Csomor will join Walther and Weerd. This Hungarian marathon athlete and duathlete promises to achieve good results with her experience in running.
Mirjam Weerd will compete with Carla van Rooijen, Ilona Eversdijk from Almere, and debutante Lucie van Genugten for the Dutch Title.
Almere yet again prepares itself for the largest triathlon event of the Netherlands. Over 2,750 athletes will start at this 36th edition of the oldest triathlon of Europe. On Saturday, participants of the classic long distance will compete on a course of 3,8 km swimming, 180 km cycling and 42,2 km running. The start and finish take place at the Esplanade in the heart of the city of Almere. The Long Distance will start at 7:20 am, and around 3 pm the speakers will prepare the crowd for welcoming this year’s winner.