[<< wikinews] Triathlon national championship held in Belgium
Sunday, July 6, 2008 

Today, the open national championship Olympic distance triathlon has been held in Belgium in the city of Kortrijk, West Flanders. The 1.5 km swim (0.93 mi), 40 km bicycle race (24.8 mi) and 10 km run (6.2 mi) turned out to be a thriller event in both the men's and the ladies' event.

The new Belgian champion Simon Decuyper was only 13th out of the water but was the fastest to complete the 4 bicycle laps, with still energy left to catch up with and run away from Stijn Goris halfway the second of three laps. Lander Dircken finished third, beating Marc Geerts by only a few meters in the final spurt. Geerts, who won last year in Kortrijk, may have lost a precious 30 seconds when he fell with his bike upon entering the transition area -fortunately not sustaining any serious injuries. Local athlete Bart Colpaert came in fifth.
In the women's race, a group of eight women came out of the water within a minute of each other, among them winner Joke Coysman and Katrien Verstuyft who finished third. In this drafting race, Coysman soon took the lead in the cycling in a group of four. Behind them, Sofie Goos managed to close in with the help of Marjolein Truyers. Goos managed to run past everyone except Coysman, and Truyers managed to take fourth place before Christel Van Eesbeek.
In the category up to 18 years old, Gilles Cottyn and Jolien Lewyllie took the gold medal. In the age group 40 and older, Gert Goedhart and Christel Van Eesbeek won. In the category 50+, Luc Geerts (Marc Geerts' father) fulfilled his favorite's role.
Weather conditions were favourable with only a few rainshowers during the footrace. Mayor Stefaan De Clerck handed out the medals.


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