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maandag, juli 06, 2009

Holmgard and van der Kleij win Belgian 3 Days

Thomas van der Kleij and Sofia Holmgard won the overall ranking of the Belgian 3 days 2009 in the elite classes. Holmgard also won the WRE on day 2. In the men's class, the number two in the overall ranking, Ondrej Pijak, of Slovakia, won the WRE.

Van der Kleij already took a good option on the overall victory by winning the first race in Mazy, with a 4 minute gap to the Kobra Bratislava runner Pijak and a further 4 minutes to Desmond Franssen. In the women's class, Holmgard had some troubles the first day, finishing 6,5 minutes after Greet Oeyen in 4th spot. Runner-ups were Sofie Herremans, one minute behind and Kim Geypen, 3,5 minutes down. The physically challenging terrain and the small contours of Mazy proved once again their claim to fame.

Holmgard and family

The WRE of day 2 was held on Opglabbeek. This is a sand dune area, but atypical, since the runability and visibility are both low. Hardly anyone could finish the course (map HE) without big mistakes. In the men's elite class, Pijak was the fastest runner, closing in on van der Kleij, who became second, by about two minutes. Pieter Hendrickx was just 6 seconds slower than van der Kleij and finished in third position. Holmgard had to push very hard until the end of the race to secure her victory, with Oeyen just 10 seconds behind. They had a comfortable 2 minute gap to Miek Fabré and Geypen, finishing in third and fourth place.

Van der Kleij interviewing Todd Oates

The winner of the overall ranking was going to be decided in the chasing start the last day at Saenhoeve. In the men's class (map), van der Kleij started two minutes ahead of Pijak and was never in any danger, Pijak being just a few seconds faster. Number three, Pieter Hendrickx also managed a good race and completed the winner's rostrum. But how different thing were in the women's class. Oeyen started first with a comfortable lead of 6,5 minutes, but she had some problems fighting the high temperatures and lost a lot of time. This allowed Geypen and Holmgard to pass her and decide the matters in a sprint, which was (deservedly, according to Geypen) won by Holmgard.

Pijak, Geypen, van der Kleij, Holmgard and Hendrickx

The tough terrain of the last day, made for a fair race, even though there was no forking. Except in the women 65 and 70, where a pack of 4 women got together and a photo finish had to decide the winner. That winner was clearly Magda Goffin. We also have photos of the decisive moment in the M45 class, Frans Laenen and François Jacobs arrived at the spectator control together, but Laenen had lost his glasses in the forest and started the final loop in the opposite direction.

Results day 1, day 2, day 3, overall