Sara Van De Vel
Sara Van De Vel was initially a talented runner but picked up an injury at the age of 18 and started riding a bike. It turned out to be a move which would set her on the road to a career as a professional triathlete.
Van De Vel admits she turned out to be a better cyclist than a runner and decided to take part in a triathlon for fun, even though she was afraid of open-water swimming. She ended up swimming breaststroke in a sprint-distance race but still won and decided to take the sport more seriously.
She initially made her mark in 18-24 age-group competition by taking victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Turkey in 2017, before doing the same at the 70.3 World Championship in South African in 2018.
2019 saw Van De Vel make the step up to the professional 70.3 ranks and she showcased her promise immediately with second in Barcelona, third in Cozumel and sixth in Dubai. Her 2020 campaign started with a seventh in Dubai before COVID-19 started to wreck the sporting calendar
Sara also claimed domestic honours in 2019 by winning the Belgian Middle Distance Triathlon National Championships.
Van De Vel says she doesn’t have a hero, but is a big fan of multiple IRONMAN World Championship silver medallist Lucy Charles-Barclay. She enjoys training on her own but does sometimes train alongside various Belgian stars including professional cyclist Victor Campenaerts.
Sara’s favourite race so far was her rookie visit to Cozumel in 2019 (her favourite cheat meal is also Mexican food), but she admits there are still many places to discover on the professional circuit.
She is most proud of where she has come from and what she has become, doing what she loves and travelling the world thanks to sport.