Belgian triathletes race at North Sea coast
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Yesterday, the 2007 edition of the Zwintriathlon took place. This short course Triathlon starts in the canal in Sluis, the Netherlands, where the athletes swim 1000 metres. Then the 41 kilometres cycling part of the race goes through the nature domain Het Zwin, to the city of Knokke in Belgium, where the athletes had 10 kilometres of running on the seawall ahead of them. The finish was at the casino in Knokke.
In the Men's race, Stijn Goris surprisingly beat living legend Luc Van Lierde and Rutger Beke, known for being acquitted from allegations that he had used EPO. Goris, the leader in the overall ranking in the Olympic distance, could just follow Luc Van Lierde during the swimming part. He completed the cycling race together with Van Lierde, but had better legs during the footrace. Number four was Bart Aernouts, a duathlete champion who increasingly focuses on triathlon. Young talents Marc Geerts and Lander Dirken followed, before Frederik Van Lierde and Koen Hoeyberghs, who won the competition in the age group of 40 years and older (40+).
Kristien Vleugels was the first female athlete, before Knokke's local favourite and category 40+ athlete Françoise Wellekens. Another favourite, Joke Coysman, stopped her race after fainting during the running section. Sofie Goos followed, while Marjolein Truyers managed to keep her advantage before Inge Vancauwenberghe and Anne-Marie Dupont. The winners from each race took home €2500.
Almost 1000 athletes came to Knokke for the triathlon, professional and recreational, men and woman, and also hand-bike athletes. A typical element of this triathlon is the fact that some competitors finish the race in a costume. Among these, Spiderman was the first to cross the finish line. Other characters came from the Belgian comic albums of Tintin, from the fairy tale Peter Pan, there was a Roman soldier, a Tarzan look-a-like, a Chiquita Banana, and more.