Joe Skipper crowned 2017 European long distance triathlon champion – and rewards himself with a new coffee machine

Norwich triathlete Joe Skipper.

Norwich triathlete Joe Skipper. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's professional triathlon star Joe Skipper has been crowned the European long distance champion – to finally earn a prize he promised himself two years ago, of a new coffee machine.

The 29-year-old, from Cringleford, raced to the win at the Almere-Amsterdam ETU (European Triathlon Union) Challenge Long Distance Triathlon European Championships in the Netherlands on Saturday.

Skipper, originally from Lowestoft, has enjoyed an excellent rise to prominence in his sport, since finishing 13th in the World Championships in Hawaii at the end of 2015, having also won bronze at the 2015 ITU Long Distance World Championship and broken the bike record when finishing second at Ironman Texas.

Second at Ironman New Zealand soon followed before his crowning achievement, becoming the first British athlete to complete an Ironman distance in under eight hours in July 2016, when finishing second at Challenge Roth in Germany.

Despite a steady stream of podium places, victories have eluded the 29-year-old, and he promised himself a treat when his next one arrived.

'Over the moon to win @challengealmere today,' Skipper said on his @NotAnotherAverageJoe Instagram account. 'European long distance champion sounds good!

'It was a very good race and I'm so happy to win this race, it's been a long time coming as my one and only pro win up until now was challenge Weymouth in 2014.

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'I've been the bridesmaid plenty of times and today I'm finally the bride! I made a pact with myself back in 2015 that I would get a coffee machine when I win my next pro race, it's been a long time coming but now I'm finally getting my coffee machine!'

Skipper finished in seven hours, 59 minutes and 39 seconds overall in Amsterdam – claiming 6,000 euros of prize money.

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He completed the 3.8km swim in 51.15mins to climb out of the water in 14th place but completed the 180km cycle in 4:22.35hours to move up to second.

With just over nine minutes to make up on leader Kristian Høgenhaug of Denmark, Skipper put in the fastest marathon (26.2 miles) time of 2:41.05hours to finish 3.35mins clear of his nearest competitor, Viktor Zyemtsev of Ukraine.

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