Not too many big stars at Orient'Show this year, but that didn't change the intensity of the competitions. The men's final was the closest decision we've seen in Villeneuve D'Ascq and took also the longest time to actually decide who won. The women's class ended up as predicted in our preview
. The relay was once again a horror story.
Unlike our SpringCup report
, which was perceived as "tabloid like" and "Hoekie like harsh" by some, this report is a quality publication (written entirely from memory). Before compaining about it in the future, De Laatste Post is, indeed, a healthy mix of really good content and cyclo-cross style imaginary WC reports.
The event site
Let's start with the qualifiers on saturday. Since there were less than 64 participants, they would only be training races for the real competitions on sunday and the relay qualification on saturday evening. There was only one unexpected thing to note and that was the appearance of the English running Dave Schorah, we missed him in our preview, but he managed to win one of the 4 qualification races and in addition had the fastest cumulative time over the 4 races. Two other courses were won by Slok's Bruno De Lat and the other one by your reporter. The other favourites didn't dissapoint either, with Pierre-Marie Lesaffre, Thomas van der Kleij and Desmond Franssen performing steady. Newcomer to the Orient'Show concept Ken Peeters, started of badly, but improved his performances throughout the event. Our sixth man, Bram Vyncke had only run a few orienteering races before, but always managed pretty good results too.
How you get and keep people in orienteering
In the women's class, Miek Fabré turned out to be the clear favourite, with mostly Els Talloen and Camille Moulière also finishing quite good. An Frederickx showed she had some room for improvement.
We decided ourselves we were the clear favourites for the relay, with two strong teams: van der Kleij, Franssen, Hoekx (last year's winners) and De Lat, Fabré and Peeters in the second team. And during the race, we finished easily in the first two positions, but we did not know how many penalties we would have suffered. According to the results: 10 each, so both team ended up barely qualifying in the best 8, with 5 minutes penalty time. We don't really believe that of course, we suspect some maps or SI numbers were mangled and some runners took a few faulty butterfly loops because of that. Not that it did matter all that much, since there was news that all teams would be allowed in the final.
The 1/4 finals were still a walk in the park for some, with the best runners in separate heats and only competition in one of them. Only one top runner out, with Paul Bolsens not being able to run due to an injury.
The 1/2 finals were serious business, since there were about 8 candidates for the 4 final positions. In heat A, there was Lesaffre, Schorah, Peeters and your reporter, the others, van der Kleij, Franssen, De Lat and Jerome Baudson in the other.
De Lat was the first one to start and immediately ran a superb race in heat B. Next up was your reporter, also racing quite well in heat A. The next change was Schorah's arrival, taking the lead with 8 seconds in heat A. The same thing happened in heat B, with van der Kleij being faster than De Lat. Franssen finished next, beating van der Kleij's time, but had two penalties and was out. Lesaffre also suffered two penalties, but his time was not good enough either. It also wasn't Baudson's day, so the final decision was Peeters's. He ran quite good, but in the end, was 7 seconds too slow to make it to the final.
The women's class was less exciting, but nonetheless full of surprises. Fabré won easily and it was quite clear no-one but herself could loose the title in the final race. Frederickx suprised herself by finishing second and thus making it into the final. The second heat was won by Talloen, with Moulière in second position.
Overall, 6/8 runners in the finals would be Slok runners!
Men's Final participants
You can read about the men's final in Schorah's training log
, but we can give you some more details (from behind, that is!).
The start was already problematic
for van der Kleij, with his SI start control being too slow. The final had a butterfly in a butterfly and Schorah and your reporter had the hilly part first, while van der Kleij and De Lat had the other part. Schorah was the first one to leave the butterfly, followed shortly by your reporter and van der Kleij and De Lat. I a small hesitation in the labyrinth and van der Kleij and De Lat passed me. More problems: while De Lat was punching the last control in the labyrinth, the SI station got loose and was thrown a few meters back, so vdK and me had to go back to it, loosing valuable seconds and our position nearby. This meant Schorah won and De Lat punched second, vdK third, but van der Kleij ended up receiving the second position because he started a few seconds later.
Then we had to pass the computer: Schorah, two penalties, me, also two, van der Kleij and De Lat 10 penalties! Unbelievable you'd say. Everyone was certain they did not mispunch a control. van der Kleij and De Lat indeed got mixed up in the computer, but they still had two mistakes then, no changes to the final standings there. It turned out everyone picked the same wrong control in the labyrinth and now the three Belgians also realised they had indeed forgot or mispunched another control. Schorah's other mistake is still inexplicable, since the other runners saw him punch the control. (The speaker was too loud in certain parts to clearly hear the SI beep). But the final result was indeed the order in which the runners were ranked after the finish.
Miek Fabré showed her iron nerves during the final, starting as the clear favourite and winning the race, despite two penalties. Talloen finished second, but had three penalties, so she was passed by Moulière and Frederickx, both without mistakes.
Van der Kleij still changing his clothes while the others were starting.
The relay final start was quite chaotic. Our first team, with van der Kleij had starting problems once again (see photo). Some more teams also missed the start (SLOW). Due to the forking it was not really clear who was in the lead, but suddenly van der Kleij had a huge gap to De Lat and so Franssen could start off, controlling the race, with Fabré racing to close the gap (the inverse of the qualifications, where De Lat was the first one to finish). After two runners, it was still Slok 3 in the lead, in front of Slok 2, but the decision was already made, all further efforts by the leading team would be pretty much worthless, since vdK forgot one butterfly loop (presumably because of the catch up he had to do after the start). In the end, Slok 3 finished first, but with 8 penalties. Slok 2 was the real winner, followed by a Guyancourt team and Vervins.
It should also be noted that the first sun of the weekend started to shine right after the prizegiving ceremony, just in time for De Ronde.