Preview: Belgian Sylvester 5-days
During the 5-days, this website will focus on the elite classes. It's possible to read reports, check results and view the maps every day. Today we'll write about the likely candidates to win the overall ranking. The overall result will be made using the Scottish system with the 4 best results. In order to be included in the overall result, the competitor must be pre-registered for at least 4 days.
The stars of the men's field are expected to be the Belgians Thomas van der Kleij and Bart Delobel, who collected some medals at the national championships, including a gold one for van der Kleij at the long distance. The highest-regarded foreign runner is Nick Barrable, who won this event in 2007.
The undisputed women's star is Masha Semak of Ukraine, who won the sylvester 5-days in 2007. She also performed strong at the Danish champs middle distance 2008. Saartje Sallaerts of Belgium and Sadie Zwiker of the Netherlands are other top competitors in the women's field. The main Finlands hopeful is Sabrina Merihein.
3 stars - ***
- Thomas van der Kleij: results at the Belgian championships 2008: 5th in middle, 2nd in relay, 2nd in sprint and 1st in long distance. He's 4th at the Belgian ranking at this moment.
- Nick Barrable: he won the sylvester 5-days last year with 2 day-victories. He finished 2nd at the Istanbul 5-days a few months ago. His world ranking position is: 181.
- Bart Delobel: last year he won the WRE at the sylvester 5-days. He was present (qualified) at EOC and WOC 2008. 5th spot at the Bel-ranking. Very busy with his job last months.
2 stars - **
- Sergey Fedatsenka: he was present at JWOC and performed strong at several Belgian 3-days competitions in 2008. Last month he changed club (from Amor to Trol Belgium).
- Ken Peeters: 9th place at the Bel-ranking. He's training hard at the moment and ready to perform strong at this 5-days competition (his first goal before a medical surgery in january).
- Tom Herremans: A-final at WOC 2001 in Finland. This Belgian legend lives in Italy at the moment and is training for tiomila (rumours). Last month he reached the PWT A-finals.
1 star - *
- Daniel Zwiker: 44th at the last Suisse-ranking (2nd part of 2008 season). He beat all of his Belgian opponents at O-ringen 2008 (H21long). Also his weight is perfect at the moment.
- Jeremy Genar: the main Trol's hopeful is training hard at this moment. His goal is to shine at JWOC 2009 and 2010.
- Jan Oeyen: last year he won the first stage at the sylvester 5-days and he's the current number 10 at the Belgian ranking.
- Jeroen van der Kleij: he showed his good shape at some military events last month. But last week he became sick. He's 11th at the Belgian ranking.
- Dries van der Kleij: silver medal winner at the national championships relay. He was in good shape at the end of the season, but he didn't start his wintertraining yet. Ranked 13th.
Masha Semak (photo: http://www.worldofo.com/)
3 stars - ***
- Masha Semak: winner from the sylvester 5-days 2007. She got also got a bronze medal at the Danish champs middle distance. World ranking position: 107.
2 stars - **
- Saartje Sallaerts: she gained a bronze medal at the Belgian national champs middle distance. She's 7th at the Belgian ranking.
- Sadie Zwikker: from the Netherlands. She won the national championship long distance (results) and also the middle distance (results).
- Sabrina Merihein: the Finnish girl won the Sylvester 5-days in D18 last year. So she's still a junior and running for the same club than Jeremy Genar and Jörgen Wickholm).
1 star - *
- Els Talloen: won the national championships relay with her club Omega. She started preparing next season with her new coach 3 weeks ago.
- Kim Steegen: 13th at the Belgian ranking. She's probably in good shape, because she is the leader in the winter-criterium.
- Katja Stöckli: elite runner in Suisse. You can check her training log here.
Ofcourse some other strong Belgian runners will be present at the startline, specially at the WRE. But they don't run 4 days or more. Maybe we'll still publish a preview from the world ranking event.