CHALLENGE ALMERE-AMSTERDAM ABOUT TO HOST 2020 ITU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Executive Board of ITU has met during two days in the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia, just ahead of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final to debate and decide on several important issues, including the 2019 competition calendar, the new services for National Federations or the cities that will host the 2021 and 2022 Grand Final. After reviewing the bids of the different cities interested on hosting our mayor events, the ITU Executive Board has decided to award the 2021 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final to Bermuda, with Abu Dhabi hosting the Grand Final in 2022. The Board also discussed the 2020 edition of the Multisport Championships, and decided to award it to Almere, in the Netherlands.

“I am really satisfied of the intense work we have done, especially on two main aspects for our future as an organization: the cities willing to host one of our major events, and the development programmes and the way we work with the National Federations in order to continue to push our sport and bring it to the next level of participation and engagement”, said ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado.

“I feel really confident that with the work that we have been doing during last year, and the commitment from all the Board members and ITU staff, we will continue to push our organization even further. We do have more presence and impact now on both the Olympic and the Paralympic movement, our financial statements are on track, we still are a role model on good governance and we have our Strategic Plan in place and setting up the path for the next few years, so we can proudly say that 2018 has been an excellent season by all means for us”, she said.

The Board agreed that the three strong and sustainable Organising Committees awarded with major events in the upcoming years –Bermuda, Abu Dhabi and Almere- will guarantee the level of excellence required for the pinnacle of ITU’s events, and is convinced that we will work together in order to continue growing our sport.

One of the main topics of the Executive Board meeting was the review of the competition structure for the upcoming years, trying to balance events across the world and extend the calendar to give as many opportunities as we can to all athletes to compete near their continents. The Board members also reviewed the 2019 calendar, that will be presented to Congress.
With a changing environment and to ensure the global leadership of ITU within the sports community, the Board continued working on the good governance practices and the Strategic Plan for 2017-2020.

After the reports from the Continental Presidents on their activities for the last 12 months, the Board also reviewed the recently created National Federations Services department, to establish and maintain continuous communication and constructive working relationship with all the National Federations, to help all our members to develop triathlon within their own territories. A new concept of Development events has been approved in this regard.

The Board also approved the 2018 budget to be presented for approval to Congress. Next meeting of the Board will be in November in Luxor (Egypt).

CHALLENGE ALMERE-AMSTERDAM INNOVATES WITH PROGRAM

With the allocation of the European Championship Long Distance in 2019, the organization of CHALLENGEALMERE-AMSTERDAM is adjusting its race schedule slightly compared to previous editions. For example, the Junior Challenge moves one day forward and the races on Sunday will be moved. This gives extra focus to Saturday, when the European Championship Long Distance is held but also the very popular Middle Distance.

According to Race Director Richard Belderok, this new schedule is not only related to the European Championship, but just as much with the World Championship that will be organized a year later, in 2020. ,,We will organize six different races in a week then and these races will be hosted on two different locations”, referring to the Esplanade but also the Kemphaan. ,,We try to make both 2019 and 2020 event schedules as identical as possible.”

This means that this year – 2019 – the Junior Challenge will be held on Thursday 12nd September: one day earlier than usual. Usually this race was always held on Fridays. On Thursday 12th 2019 also the Business Relay will take place, a race that normally always was held on Sundays. This year this race will end with a big party on Thursday evening.

The No Limit & Senior Challenge will still be held on Friday 13th September, but there will be no other races on this day. ,,This allows us to start the athlete briefings earlier and gives us even more time and attention for the athletes who will start the Long Distance or Middle Distance on Saturday”, explains Belderok. ,,And this also allows participants to check in their bikes earlier and for longer time on Friday, the day before race day. This will enable us to improve the quality of our race. Of course there will be a pasta party on Friday and triathletes will get the opportunity to test our swimming course.”

Saturday, 14th September in 2019, remains unchanged in terms of schedule. Then both the Long Distance (this year the European Championship) and the Middle Distance will take place. On Sunday 15th September there will be no Business Relay – which has been moved to Thursday – and the Eredivisie final, which has been held in Almere for a number of years, will be removed from the race schedule. ,,We will use the Sunday for the award ceremony: especially in the case of an European Championship we think that there should be full attention for that. But we also organize a big party to thank all of our volunteers.”

This year, the organization of CHALLENGEALMERE-AMSTERDAM is organizing the National Championships Cross Triathlon on 8th September as well. ,,So this year we already have several races, spread over several days.”

NATIONAL CHAMPION JOEP STAPS ABOUT NATIONAL AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS BIKE COURSE CROSS TRIATHLON: ‘IT’S REALLY AMAZING’

It’s a big name in the Dutch Cross Triathlon scene: Joep Staps became National Champion Cross Triathlon in 2018 and is therefore the ideal person to be the first athlete to test the Dutch Championships (2019) and World Championships (2020) bike track for Cross Triathlon. He has already done so and his first reaction speaks volumes: ,,This is amazing. It’s really a very attractive course.”

In 2019 Challenge Almere-Amsterdam of course organizes the Dutch Championships Cross Triathlon in September and one year later, in 2020, the ITU Multisport World Championships will follow. Part of this World Championships will be the Cross Triathlon. Staps is already looking forward to both championships and was allowed to explore the bike course last week. He rode both the 7 kilometers loop over Braambergen, including 200 altitude meters per lap, and the 7 flatter but technical kilometers over De Kemphaan. ,,The course is not only cool, but also varied. The track builders have really done their best”, Staps says in a first reaction.

Already after 200 meters of biking he called the course ‘cool’. ,,And that feeling has only become bigger now that I’ve been allowed to ride the whole course. You expect Almere to be flat, but the track has big differences in height. It has steep, fast and technical parts. This is definitely a course that makes it very hard to get into your rhythm. That makes it nice but challenging.”

In any case, according to Staps, it is a course that suits him well. ,,I don’t get scared of it, but I really want to race it. I will definitely come to Almere to defend my National title and hope to be back for the World Championships as well.”