Kovacic and Van Vlerken amazing in Almere

Jaroslav Kovacic broke a record that had stood for almost 20 years, while Yvonne Van Vlerken proved that she truly is the Queen of long distance racing in the Netherlands as the pair took Challenge Almere-Amsterdam.

| September 8, 2018 | NEWS

Yvonne Van Vlerken takes the 2018 Challenge Almere-Amsterdam triathlon.

Yvonne Van Vlerken takes the 2018 Challenge Almere-Amsterdam triathlon.

Photo >James Mitchell | Challenge Almere-Amsterdam

All week long Slovenia's Jaroslav Kovacic had talked about wanting to go under eight hours at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam - he delivered that and more, breaking a record that had stood for almost 20 years with a stellar performance in Holland. Yvonne Van Vlerken wasn't quite ready to go after her own course record, but came just three-seconds short of nailing her 16th sub-nine hour full distance race and proved that she remains the Queen of long distance racing in the Netherlands.

Jaroslav Kovacic sets a new course record in winning Challenge Almere-Amsterdam.

Jaroslav Kovacic sets a new course record in winning Challenge Almere-Amsterdam.

Photo >James Mitchell | Challenge Almere-Amsterdam

Kovacic outruns Wurf for the win

Australia's Cameron Wurf is renowned as the sport's premier cyclist at present - he holds the Kona bike course record and has been ripping up bike courses around the world as he moves from pro bike racing to the elite levels of triathlon. Today, though, he proved that he's a man to watch when it comes to running, too. Wurf trailed local hero Evert Scheltinga and Kovacic out of the water amongst a group of eight by a couple of minutes and seemed to take a long time catching the two leaders. He finally got into the lead early in the second loop of the bike and pushed the pace through the second half of the flat, windy ride to set a new bike course record of 4:10:48.

Out on the run the former Sky cyclist put on a masterful show, holding a scary-fast sub-2:45 pace for the first half of the run before "shutting things down" to save his legs for Kona. Kovacic screamed through the marathon, posting a blazing 2:43 split to finally take the lead just before the last of six laps, surging on to the win in record time, breaking Jan van der Marel's 7:57:46 from 1999 with his 7:55:44 final clocking thanks to an impressive 2:43 marathon split. Wurf ran his fastest marathon by over six minutes, a 2:52:24 to send a clear message to his competition in Kona to take second in a time just a shade over eight hours, while Denmark's Kristian Hogenhaug rounded out the podium.

Van Vlerken still the Queen in the Netherlands

Heading into Challenge Almere-Amsterdam there was lots of talk about a potential changing of the guard in Holland when it came to women's distance triathlon. The new woman on the block is Els Visser, who's inspiring story of surviving a shipwreck in Indonesia helped inspire her to follow the sport. She did her first sprint race two years ago and went on to surprise Van Vlerken at Ironman Maastricht earlier this year to take her first full-distance title.

Today, though, Van Vlerken made it abundantly clear that she's not quite ready to hand over the distance-racing crown quite yet, putting together a stellar bike and marathon combination to easily handle Visser and the rest of the field. Despite fading over the final kilometers of the run, Van Vlerken still came within just three seconds of posting her 16th sub-nine hour full-distance race. That was hardly a concern, though, as Van Vlerken was thrilled to add another Almere title to a stacked resume that has seen her on the podium in well over 100 races. Visser hung tough for second, while Germany's Lina-Kristin Schink used the day's second-fastest marathon to run her way to the final spot on the podium.

Photo >James Mitchell | Challenge Almere-Amsterdam

Challenge Almere-Amsterdam | Men

September 8, 2018 | Almere, Netherlands

Name

Country

Overall

3.8 km Swim

180 km Bike

42.2 km Run

1

Jaroslav Kovacic

SLO

7:55:44

0:50:07

4:18:52

2:43:27

2

Cameron Wurf

AUS

8:00:55

0:53:47

4:10:48

2:52:24

3

Kristian Høgenhaug

DEN

8:03:31

0:54:56

4:13:50

2:50:22

4

Evert Scheltinga

NED

8:10:32

0:50:04

4:18:40

2:57:32

5

Marc Unger

GER

8:19:29

0:53:38

4:26:16

2:55:33

6

Bryan Mccrystal

IRL

8:27:09

0:58:07

4:16:18

3:08:09

7

Diederik Scheltinga

NED

8:28:51

0:53:36

4:35:25

2:55:20

8

Dirk Wijnalda

NED

8:32:16

1:00:54

4:36:17

2:51:20

9

Steff Overmars

NED

8:41:07

0:54:52

4:30:42

3:10:14

10

Till Schramm

GER

8:41:40

0:53:38

4:33:03

3:10:28

Swipe me

Photo >James Mitchell | Challenge Almere-Amsterdam

Challenge Almere-Amsterdam | Women

September 8, 2018 | Almere, Netherlands

Name

Country

Overall

3.8 km Swim

180 km Bike

42.2 km Run

1

Yvonne van Vlerken

NED

9:00:03

1:00:29

4:48:33

3:07:02

2

Els Visser

NED

9:16:30

1:00:29

4:53:03

3:19:12

3

Lina-Kristin Schink

GER

9:17:47

1:07:39

4:56:14

3:08:09

4

Debbie Greig

GBR

9:20:39

0:57:59

4:59:41

3:18:38

5

Karen Steurs

BEL

9:22:05

1:00:39

5:01:48

3:14:06

6

Renee Kiley

AUS

9:33:00

1:00:26

4:59:53

3:26:27

7

Jenny Nae

SWE

9:35:29

1:10:32

5:13:14

3:07:44

8

Brooke Brown

CAN

9:44:54

1:00:36

5:07:14

3:22:11

9

Marleen Honkoop

NED

9:51:48

1:08:01

5:15:04

3:21:53

10

Rahel Bellinga

NED

9:51:50

1:09:15

5:08:06

3:28:41

Swipe me