Wurtele and Deckers capture Challenge Geraardsbergen

Trevor Wurtele and Tine Deckers mastered one of cycling's most famous climbs to capture the inaugural Challenge Geraardsbergen.

| July 3, 2017 | NEWS

Trevor Wurtele competes at Challenge Salou.

Trevor Wurtele competes at Challenge Salou.

Photo >José Luis Hourcade

The inaugural Challenge Geraardsbergen included one of cycling's most famous climbs - the "Muur," or wall, which is an iconic climb on the Flemish road racing scene. Canada's Trevor Wurtele and Belgium's Tine Deckers mastered the wall better than their competition and took the inaugural titles in Geraardsbergen.

New Zealand's Dylan McNiece was first out of the water in the half-distance event, but local favourite Pieter Heemeryck, who was fifth out of the water, quickly moved to the front and was both first to the top of the wall and into T2. Wurtele didn't make up much of his 1:54 deficit out of the water, but once on the run had more in reserves than the Belgian, catching Heemeryck in the final kilometers to take the win.

"The second climb on the Muur, I had to get off my bike," Heemeryck said of the famous climb, which he felt was the difference in the race. "There I lost one minute of my three-minute lead. In the end I was 40 seconds a way from the win. The Muur made the difference."

Trevor Wurtele (CAN) took first in 3:58:04, followed by: Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) 3:58:42, Sanne Swolfs (BEL) 4:02:02, Dylan McNeice (NZL) 4:03:01 and Timothy Van Houtem (BEL) 4:04:04.

Deckers was the first pro to enter the race, the first Challenge event in Belgium, and was determined to win at home. Deckers trailed swim leader Sarissa De Vries (NED) by 2:15 out of the water, but by the top of the Muur on the first lap was out in front and never looked back.

Tine Deckers won easily in 4:26:00 followed by: Sarissa de Vries (NED) 4:31:06, Margi Santimaria (ITA) 4:35:05, Ewa Komander (POL) 4:36:49, Annah Watkinson (RSA) 4:37:45 and Erika Csmor (HUN) 4:40:02.