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Reigning European Champion Kieran Lindars: ‘I know what it takes to win Challenge Almere-Amsterdam’

Briton Kieran Lindars will be at the start of Challenge Almere-Amsterdam next Saturday. There he will defend his European Long Distance title from last year. “I feel less pressure because I know I’ve done this before. I know what it takes to win a race like this. And I know I’m capable of putting down a great effort.”

Still, Lindars knows that winning Challenge Almere-Amsterdam once again, and with it the European Long Distance title, is not going to be easy. At least he had a good preparation. “My preparations towards Almere are going very well. I put a lot of training into this event and my numbers looking good. If anything helps to get me calm, is that because I’ve done it before. I know that I’m capable of doing it and I also know what it takes to win a race like this. My last year’s approach was the calmest approach ever and It turned out to be my best race ever. It was a winning formula. All I need to do now is make sure all puzzle pieces to fit nicely. I know I’m able to put in a nice race and when there are better people on race day, who execute their race plan more efficient than me: all credits to them. I feel less pressure since I know what it takes to win.”

Lindars realizes all too well that he is one of the favorites for victory, if only because he is thus the defending champion. “I definitely coming in as the defending champion. I feel like I’m one of the favorites. I already had a relatively successful year, climbing the world rankings. I’m in a good position to consider myself as one of the favorites. The nice thing about this race is that anything can happen on the day, because there is such a long time to execute your race plan efficient. For me being a favorite is just making sure that I’m consistent during the race. You’re going to have good, perfect and worse periods and in the end you simply must be consistent.”

In fact, the British reigning champion sees everyone as serious competition. “I think when it comes to the Long Distance, everyone is a threat. It’s all about being able manage your highs and lows during the event. Those who can get through their low periods well and not doing something too crazy when they are feeling good, I think they are the ones to watch out for. There are some great guys in the race. Tom Bishop is someone who is probably the biggest threat. He got no weakness in any of the disciplines and I know him well. The only thing going against him; he hasn’t done this distance yet. And I think for most people when they go to Long Distance, they’re actually learning the event the first times, and after learning the distance, you can start learning how to race the distance. But again, Tom is such a phenomenal athlete so I don’t think that will be a problem. When it comes to guys like Evert Scheltinga, who is so consistent over this distance. When he doesn’t have bad luck, he is someone that will always will be coming in the end. You need to watch for him. There is such a strong field this year that I think that anyone can cause issues and there’s a lot of guys that are up and coming which again, can be huge threats.”

Racing in Almere and returning to the place where he experienced his first race as a professional athlete will be special anyway. “I love racing in The Netherlands and I love being here. This was my first ever Long Distance race, where I earned my pro license, so I feel a real strong connection with Challenge Almere-Amsterdam.”