By David Peddie on 05/07/12 at 2:18 pm
The Triathlon community in Europe turns its attentions to the Netherlands this weekend as we visit the familiar location of Holten.
Holten has a long standing history with both the ITU and ETU, having staged an event every year since 2002, including the 2009 European Championships.
Holten has a real triathlon pedigree, is known as a ‘Triathlon City’ and with both a Premium European Cup and a Junior European Cup, this promises to be another exciting weekend of racing.
Martin Pieters of Triathlon Holten highlights the City's proud triathlon history: “After organizing the Dutch Championships for three years we made the decision to go international. First, as an ITU points race, followed by a European Cup and Premium Cup. I think we organised the first Continental Cup race as part of the European circuit.
"The competition has changed considerably. In the early days we contacted every athlete from abroad. This was what we enjoyed.
"We are still doing our best so the athletes can perform. The amount of athletes has increased yearly."
Last year Rachel Klamer won on home turf in Holten. Klamer is in the Dutch Olympic squad but is determined to regain her title. She said: “I am looking forward to the race. It's a kind of hometown race for me and I have good memories of racing Holten.
“The race is a good preparation race for the Olympics. I wanted to do an Olympic distance before London so this race is perfect.
"After Holten, I plan one more race before London, the World Triathlon Series in Hamburg."
Australian Mitchell Robins won the Elite Men’s race last year with Simon De Cuyper (BEL) and Franz Loeschke (GER) completing the podium.
None of these athletes will be involved on Saturday so we will have a new winner and the field is wide open.
Marco Van Der Stel is hopeful the home crowd will help spur him onto victory. He said: “The home races have something special, I always want to give it a little extra.
"Last year I finished 35th in Holten, and I am definitely going for a top 20 this time. My bike performance is a lot better than last year so I'll see what we can do with that."
In the Junior race, Raphael Montoya (FRA) returns again and with an opportunity to defend his title from last year.
In the Junior Women’s race, Lucy Hall was victorious in 2011 and she is now representing Great Britain at the Olympic Games – so who knows what kind of springboard the 2012 Holten Junior Cup will provide.
Renata Fuchs (HUN) was third last year and seems best placed to improve and be a contender this time.
There will be live footage of the Elite races via a live stream which is available at http://www.triathlonholten.nl
Find more details about this event - 2012 Holten ITU Triathlon Premium European Cup