Mitch Kolkman takes first Europe Triathlon Cup victory in Holten, Jolien Vermeylen doing it again

Mitch Kolkman takes his first Europe Triathlon Cup victory in Holten (Picture: Triathlon Today)

The Europe Triathlon Cup Holten has just turned out to be an incredibly exciting race in both the men’s and women’s events. In the men’s race, the win went to home favorite Mitch Kolkman, winning his first Europe Triathlon Cup. In the women’s race, the win went to Jolien Vermeylen, who prolonged her title by beating home favorite Maya Kingma.

Both races were decided mainly during the run. Especially with the women, where a group of about 10 ladies started the run at the same time. Of that group, it was Vermeylen, Kingma and also Switzerland’s Nora Gmür who ran the fastest and initially took off in threes.

When Kingma picked up the pace with a few kilometers to go, it was Gmür who had to bow her head first and let her two competitors go. From that moment on, a beautiful battle ensued between Vermeylen and Kingma, who would concede nothing to each other and both went flat out for the win. Side by side they went to the finish line. For Vermeylen this was undoubtedly familiar, because last year she did exactly the same with Dutch Rachel Klamer, whom she then beat in the final sprint.

With two hundred meters to go, the same thing happened this time: Vermeylen proved too strong for Kingma and eventually claimed victory in 58:19, Kingma finished second in 58:21 and Gmür third in 58:41.

In the men’s race, the first crucial shuffling took place early on the bike: Dutchman Mitch Kolkman teamed up with New Zealander Dylan McCullough and the two of them rode so strongly that they managed to grab a lead of just under a minute over a huge and chasing pack. When both men began the final five-kilometer run, they seemed to be the only ones left to compete for the gold and silver. Yet that was not the case, for in the meantime both men also had to look over their shoulders; Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk and Brazilian Manoel Messias had found each other well and were running so fast that they began to catch up to the two leaders pretty quickly.

That both McCullough and Kolkman were struggling was evident by the faces they were pulling, even though they were still leading the race at the halfway point. On the fixed cameras, however, it was easy to see that their two first pursuers were getting closer and closer, so the paces had to be pushed even more in the last 2.5 kilometers to secure the gold and silver.

Kolkman did not let that be said twice, because just after entering the final lap he boldly passed McCullough, giving the New Zealander a clear signal: it had to go faster. McCullough, however, had no answer to Kolkman’s acceleration and so the Dutchman suddenly found himself a few meters clear. At least it seemed to give him wings, as the pace picked up some more and his lead over McCullough quickly grew considerably.

Yet victory was far from certain, as McCullough also continued to hold on to the leader, and in the meantime Mislawchuk and Messias, with about a kilometer and a half to go, continued to rapidly catch up: they were still a second over twenty behind Kolkman and thus constantly watching the Dutchman’s back. When Messias also placed a devastating acceleration – which simply looked like an all-destroying sprint – he immediately ran away from Mislawchuk but more importantly; got even closer to Kolkman who could already hear the stadium.

For a moment it seemed that Messias, who accelerated once more, would outsmart Kolkman, but the Dutchman managed to accelerate just in time as well and took the victory in 53:11. Messias was second six seconds later and McCullough was third again four seconds behind.