European Championships 2009

Menno van Blitterswijk wins 11th EC Rowingbike

Menno van Blitterswijk already participated in the European Championships Rowingbike 2008. His rowing talents became immediately apparent when he claimed the seventh place in a group of very strong participants. He’s young (19 years), tall and has the right attitude.

Directly after the first start of the criterion it’s Menno who bellows some primaeval screams and sprints away from the accelerating group.Only top rower Sander Gerdes (training buddy of Nico Rienks) and Martijn Mateman (European Champion Rowingbike 2007) are able to hitch on to them. The rest follows at several bike lengths, but manages to join the strong trio at the first bend.
After the second bend an enormous amount of rowingbike adrenaline results in the escape of Martijn and Menno from the main group. Great to look at, beautiful rowing strokes and large amounts of power (Check, broadcast of September 21). The tone for the rest of the race is set: Martijn and Menno are striding for the first position,being a class of their own. Martijn wins this first race. The one hour race of the Saturday afternoon is won by Menno who approaches his physical limits, but crosses the finish satisfied and way ahead of Martijn. Sander Gerdes and Derk Thijs are the numbers three and four after finishing these two races. The tension rises after this first racing day: the classification is far from fixed.

The long distance race starts Sunday at 10.45. It’s a very beautiful ride from the Banjaard along the Oosterscheldekering and the Brouwersdam to the lighthouse of Ouddorp and back to Neeltje Jans. A large leading group of 6 riders is collaborating nicely. Just after the turning point a crash occurs: because of a steering fault one of the riders collides with the returning second group, running into Martijn Mateman. Sander Gerdes, immediately behind Martijn, flies over Martijn and lands against a parked car. Menno and Derk, at that moment at front, turn instantly to check if anyone is injured. Competition leader Bartel Lamers neutralizes the race; everybody has to wait at the turning point.

It’s a big fright: Sander Gerdes lays down for quite a while, while Martijn and olympic rower Matthijs Vellenga are already back on their feet. Martijn checks all his functions cautiously and after a few minutes he’s already talking about moving on. Luckily all human damage is limited to bruises and scrapes. Germ Dijkstra offers his bike, being a real sportsman, to Sander, who’s rowingbike is not going anywhere for the moment. The race continues but Sander is obviously injured and has to let go of the leading group. Moments later Martijn drops out too, the speed is slightly too high for him. Now only Menno and Derk are only accompanied by top rower Thijs Bosgoed and Andre Davidse. The race ends with a final sprint which is won by a mere 0.04 seconds by Derk Thijs, just before Thijs Bosgoed. Menno is third and one step closer to the European title. During the sprint finals Sunday afternoon Thijs Bosgoed wins with his incredibly beautiful rowing stroke, directly followed by Erwin Duizer. Menno is third, thus maintaining his position before Martijn, justly winning the EC 2009.

The ladies participate in the gentlemen group, but have their own end classification. Of the 7 participating ladies, Beb Thijs wins with slight lead on Hanneke van der Veen. Johanna Aernoutse is third. Apart from the 49 riders, 24 rowingbikes and 2 rowingbike tandems participated in the tour of the EC. The atmosphere within the group is superb. Thanks to the good weather conditions and the hospitality of the Banjaard and Roompot Holidays this 11th Rowingbike EC had another excellent weekend.

More info and pictures of the European Championships Rowingbike 2009 can be found at

International Rowingbike Federation

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