A surprising name at the start of the beloved beach race is current Dutch road champion, Pascal Einkorn. The 27-year-old contestant, who will swap Team Jumbo-Visma for Belgian Lotto-Dstny after this season, is stepping out of his comfort zone to take on the ultimate challenge. With no beach experience, could he keep up with the beach racing experts?
One rider with a lot of experience in the field is 32-year-old Jasper O’Kilwin. In 2018 he won the GP Groot Egmond-Pier-Egmond and in 2016 he became European Beach Champion. He is currently at his best: he recently won the Beachrace Noordwijk and during the European Championships finished fourth. Ockeloen will be competing against Ivar Slik, among others. The professional gravel racer proves Slick can handle tough surfaces with a win in June at Unbound Gravel in America. The rider from Bergen finished third in Egmond aan Zee in 2019, the year he also won the European title.
There is also international interest in the competition. The 35-year-old Timothy Dupont is well known in racing with two victories, in 2016 and 2019, in the GP Groot Egmond-Pier-Egmond. Both times, the fast Belgian beat his rivals in the final race on the Boulevard of Egmond aan Zee. He showed his legs were fine two weeks ago in Dunkirk, France. Here he rode to second place during the European Beach Racing Championships. France’s Samuel Leroux finished third, and will race again with Dupont in Egmond on January 7th. In this company, Salem Kipkembwe from Kenya and Charles Kajimo from Uganda will also compete for the prestigious award.
In the women’s race, a big fight is expected between Tessa Neveges and Ryan Marcus. Both ladies are experienced in beach racing. Neefjes won the European Beach Championships title earlier this month and is also defending GP Groot Egmond-Pier-Egmond. Dutch Champion Markus has been on the podium several times in the European Beach Racing Championships.
Experience an epic sports weekend
Unique to GP Groot Egmond-Pier-Egmond is that as a recreational rider you get to get on the wheel of these big names. Registration for the GP Groot Egmond-Pier-Egmond is still possible until Monday 26th December via www.gpgrootegmondpieregmond.nl. Late registration is only available on the day of the Bike Shop Egmond Youth Beach Race for children ages 11-15.
The day after the Grand Egmond-Pier-Egmond GP, one of the most difficult half marathons in the Netherlands, the NN Egmond Half Marathon, will take place. Those who would like to experience the atmosphere of this legendary sports weekend, but prefer not to participate themselves, are most welcome to help out as a volunteer on Saturday 7th and/or Sunday 8th January. You can register via [email protected] Or search for more information www.lechampion.nl/vrijwilligers-egmond-weekend.
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