Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wellington vs Van Vlerken

The duel is set for this weekend - make that August 30-31 - in Almere, The Netherlands which is hosting the ITU Long Distance World Championships.

It will be the last big race for both athletes before Kona in October.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Interview: Yvonne van Vlerken

In conversation with Yvonne van Vlerken
By Timothy Moore

For the first time in any iron-distance event, four women finished in less than 9 hours in Roth, Germany on July 13.

What’s more, in a matter of just eight days last month, on three different race courses in Europe, eight of the world’s best iron-women confirmed their membership in the elite Sub Nine Club. They have set the stage for the fastest starting line ever in Kona this October.

The race in Roth marked the third time in 12 months that Yvonne van Vlerken crossed a iron finish line in less than 9 hours. Her unexpected approach of the world record in Roth in 2007 - she was 1 minute and 2 seconds off the mark - can rightly be seen as a catalyst for the recent surge in speed among the women’s field.

In fact, the women in Team TBB - among them Chrissie Wellington, Erika Csomor and Belinda Granger - help motivate themselves in training with thoughts of putting `Yvonne VV` in her place. It’s a huge compliment to what van Vlerken has accomplished.

Including her iron debut in Roth in 2007, van Vlerken has won three iron-distance races, and she was second in her fourth, which came early in her season when, as she says, her top priority was to secure a spot to Kona.

While new to iron-distance racing, the 29-year-old has a very solid race CV including a World Duathlon Championship in 2006. She has raced and won events across Europe for more than six years. She’s preparing now for the ITU World Long-Course Championship which is being held in Almere, The Netherlands later this month.

Van Vlerken was surprised by her performance in Roth in 2007. She wasn’t aware how close she had been to Paula Newby-Fraser’s record. She didn’t intend to repeat that mistake.

"I didn’t feel any pressure. I was confident that I could win,’’ she says of her preparation for Roth a month ago. "I just knew that I could win and break the world record.’’