2/7/2017: Tine has won the 2017 Challenge Geraardsbergen. As an ambassador for this first Belgian Challenge (1.9 km swim, 90 km bike leg, 21 km run), Tine had come to Geraardsbergen to win in front of a home crowd. Clocking in at 4:26:00, she was a few minutes faster than Sarissa de Vries (The Netherlands; 04:31:06) and Margie Santamaria (Italy; 04:35:05).
A typical swim for Tine, leaving the water a little over two minutes behind de Vries and Santamaria. Despite a false start – she lost her bottle and Garmin leaving T1 – Tine looked good on the bike from the beginning. After 37 kilometers, she had made up more than a minute. At the foot of the Muur, she was behind only 20 seconds and after less than 50 kilometers she overtook the lead. Her second passage on a wet and slippery Muur went even more smoothly. This allowed her to start the half marathon ahead by more than two minutes. Tine managed to extend that lead on the challenging run course for a comfortable victory.
To compete and take the title in front of a home crowd is a big deal. Tine was absolutely delighted: “It feels so good to be the winner of the first edition of this beautiful Belgian race. From the moment I became Ambassador of this Challenge, winning it became my goal. The atmosphere was absolutely wonderful. Still, the race was much tougher than I had anticipated, despite doing a recon this spring. The first few meters of the swim, I felt terrible. I think I sprinted too hard towards the water. I was able to close a gap, but I really did not feel great. The bike leg was so much better. But this course burns your legs. Especially that second go at the Muur. And all those twists and turns and stops and starts in the rain. I certainly felt it in the half marathon. After the first round, I had to work hard and fight cramps. But when you win, you forget the struggle. I am enjoying this victory, with my friends and family. For just a moment. Next week I am off to Lanzarote to prepare for the Embrunman, my second goal for the summer.”