He does not care at all that there are Olympic, World and European Champions at the start: when Youri Keulen himself is at the start of a race somewhere, he goes for the win and nothing less. After his stunning victory at Challenge Barcelona just last week, he has just added another victory at Challenge Mallorca. Between an unprecedented pro field, the Dutchman was convincingly the strongest and thus took the win. With this second victory in a row, Keulen can definitely count himself among the very best athletes in the world – especially considering the field of participants.
As at Challenge Barcelona, he was right at the front from the of the swim, enabling Keulen to get into a leading group on the bike. There, just like last week, he met Alistair Brownlee, whom he defeated in Barcelona after a direct duel, as well as world champion Rico Bogen, Mathis Margirier and Wilhelm Hirsch. The leading group of five was initially chased to about half a minute by a group of ten chasers, which included überbiker and defending champion Frederic Funk, as well as Dutchman and European Champion Long Distance Menno Koolhaas.
The leading group worked well together on the tough bike course, including a few steep climbs, and saw their lead increase pretty quickly. Halfway through the bike leg, their lead had already doubled to a minute. During the second lap of the bike, the lead of the leading group, which always stayed together, more than doubled again, eventually starting the half marathon with a lead of over 2:30 minutes.
During that run, Keulen left nothing untouched by his competitors. In fact, right away he ran away from everyone, and eventually Keulen saw his lead grow larger every kilometer. Everyone squeaked and creaked, even the greatest champions struggled, but Keulen continued seemingly tirelessly. At an insane pace, he worked through his half marathon, eventually taking the victory in an overall time of 3:41:12. Margirier was second in 3:44:11 and Brownlee third in 3:45:27.