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31. January 2012

Yvonne van Vlerken takes second Challenge-Walchsee-"Kaiser"-crown

Endurance Team coached youngster Thomas Meusburger (AUT) great 5th in the amateurs.

There were absolutely perfect racing conditions for the 1100 participants at the 2nd edition of the Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl. 20 degrees water temperature and a wonderful late summer day awared the team around organizers Andi Klingler and Mario Höller for the excellent rase-organisation. Accordingly was the mood already at the start for the second largest highlight over the half distance on Austrian ground. Numerous long distance start were among the professional starters such as Ronnie Schildknecht/CH, Michael Göhner/GER, Timo Bracht/GER as well as in the ladies the titleholder Yvonne van Vlerken/NED, local hero Eva Dollinger and the 3-time Dutch Champion on the half distance Mirjam Weerd. 

The Austrian resident Yvonne van Vlerken showed up strong in the first discipline and only gave roughly 2 minutes away to her competitor Eva Dollinger, in contrast to the year before where she had lost 4 minutes. The Czech Eva Potuckova had taken over the lead after the swim and could hold this on the bike. Then in the first of two selective bicycle-loops through the picturesque region all around the „Wilder Kaiser“-massive both Dutchwomen quickly closed in on Eva Dollinger. Weerd had her already in view, van Vlerken was less than one minute down. Dollinger found connection to a 6-headed group passing her, started to develop a new gap steadily, took over the lead from Potuckova and could bring 3:40min to 2nd transition on van Vlerken and Weerd. On the selective and idyllic run-course around the Walchsee it first almost looked like a victory for Eva Dollinger. However, Yvonne van Vlerken quickly overtook 2nd Eva Potuckova and seemed not to be impressed by the ride of Dollinger, trusting on her run strength. Van Vlerken ran each loop one minute faster than Eva Dollinger and finally claimed the lead on KM 17. While van Vlerken ran towards an unthreatened victory, Dollinger who was quickly fading after, had to keep Mirjam Weerd on distance to hold her 2nd rank. The young athlete from the state of Vorarlberg Thomas Meusburger delivered a taste of his talent in his only third halfdistance race and took excellent 5th in one of the strongest amateur categories (M24-29).

In the men´s Ronnie Schildknecht/CH won with a sovereign performance before German Timo Bracht. Yvonne quote: „I am very pleased with my swim, then when I heard that I was loosing ground after the first loop I was a bit amazed as I was riding quite quickly. But then again the gap after the bike didn´t impress me that much, I didn´t worry. I calculated and knew that I would get Eva Dollinger the latest at the beginning of the 4th loop if I procede with my run-tempo. Exactly that happened and I really enjoyed the warm winner´s welcome by the enthusiastic spectators at the Walchsee.“