After Prague and Finland I slowly got back in the real race-shape. I started feeling stronger and wanted to race for a podium in Almere after finishing in 5th place last year. I always enjoy racing in Holland and Almere is extra special to me.
The swim was quite relaxed. I swan in the lead position, decided on the pace and only Jaroslav Kovacic was able to follow. We exited the water in 1st and 2nd position with a lead of 3.5 minute on th rest of the favorites. I knew I had to ramble on the bike. If there was a discipline to grab some time on Kovacic it was there (he is a really strong runner), and with uber bikers as Wurf and Hogenhaug I couldn’t get away with an “easy” ride.
That said, I biked the first 110K in 1st position. As if I was standing still then Cameron Wurf passed me. To be honest I was quite satisfied with myself that it still took him so long. After 130 kilometers it got rough for me. No wonder really. From behind came Kovacic back and I couldn’t keep up with him. Later also Hogenhaug past and with the three of us we followed Wurf on a 4-minute distance.
The first 3 of 6 loops the running was quite easy. I was running in 4th position with sight on the number 3. I ran with the breaks on because I knew it was still a long way ahead and I could alwasy speed up towards the end. But in the 4th loop it quite suddenly got heavier again. Instead of speeding up, I slowed down. Slowly I lost sight of a podium place and all I could then think of was just making it past the finish line.
Luckily I didn’t collapse completely and still made it in 4th place in a time of 08:10:32, 7 min away from the podium and 15 minutes behind winning. I know where to improve for next year!
Photos: Andre Kwakernaat & Romy Louise van Schooneveld