The Dutch living triathlon legend Rob Barel did it again. For the third time in a row, the 45-year-old Barel showed the youth how a race is won. Only the Dutch XTERRA-specialist Royce Kortekaas was able to give Barel a hard time. After the three disciplines, the time difference between both gladiators was 50 seconds. In the women’s division, US athlete Jamie Whitmore was once again way better than the competition.
At 18.00 hrs. the athletes dived into the heavy surf of the North Sea. High waves and a strong undertoe made it difficult for the athletes. After 1500 metres, the Brit Chris Volley was the first to exit the water, but only with the competition at a couple of dozens of metres. By then, Rob Barel was already nested in the top-ten when he started to move forward. Barel had chosen foir slick tires, and as it seemed afterwards, this probably was the best choice of tires. Especially on the beach the difference with athletes riding on semi-slicks was made. After conquering the ‘rock dunes’ section, Kortekaas took a short lead, but once back on the beach, Barel re-took the initiative. Kortekaas was able to keep track, but could not overtake Barel once again.
After the second transition, Barel had a 30 seconds lead. Kortekaas tried, but could not, close the gap to Barel. While battling each other, both men gained ground on the numbers three and four in the race, Marc Ruhe from Liechtenstein and Machiel Ittmann (NED). Behind them, Eric van der Linden started a great run, which took him from fifth after the bike to third at the finish line.
Thanks to his second place in Den Haag / Kijkduin, Royce Kortekaas is strengthening his position for the XTERRA European Tour. With one race to go (Titisee, Germany, on September 13th) he has taken a considerable lead on his main contestant, Marc Ruhe. Jamie Whitmore did the same in the women’s division. With two wins in two races, who is going to threaten her in Germany?
In the women’s race, the swim leader Tanya de Boer had to abandon the race when she took an early fall on the bike. Whitmore took the lead and left the other women at great distance. Behind her, the battle for second place was going on between Ute Schäfer and Ingrid van Lubek. For a long time, it seemed that Schäfer would get the upper hand, but in the run Van Lubek (last year’s winner) managed to pass Schäfer and took second. Winter triathlon world champion Marianne Vlasveld came in in fourth place, just before the Finnish Riika Kelja.