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donderdag, december 27, 2012

Sylvester Day 2: Michiels ready for New Zealand

Yannick Michiels was a league on his own today at stage 2 of the Sylvester 5 days. "I really wanted to win my last race in Belgium for a while", Michiels commented afterwards. Tomorrow he's travelling to New Zealand for the World Cup races and Sprint The Bay. He's hoping for top-10 spots in the middle distance and sprint races. It's great to see a Belgian runner being that ambitious.

By winning today, Michiels did not do his teammates Pieter and Tomas Hendrickx a favor. In spots two and three the brothers held off the rest of the starting field, but lost precious points in the overall ranking, even though Tomas is still comfortably in the lead. Yesterday's number two, Thomas van der Kleij took a gamble. With Michiels unbeatable these days he decided to only search for a few controls before returning to the event center with fresh legs.

The other contenders for the podium did quite solid performances, with your reporter finishing 4th, 2 seconds down on Tomas Hendrickx. Ondrej Pijak finished 5th, losing some time on the way. 6th place Alexander Lubina was quite happy today. He said he's improving day by day and is clearly in a better shape than the last years.

Miek Fabré managed to win the second stage in a row, but things were much closer together today. Swiss youngster Sophie Tritschler was only 11 seconds behind. Next up was Anna Serrallonga of Spain, 1:44 down. She had fresh legs having only arrived yesterday evening. She's challenging Greet Oeyen, 4th today, 3:16 behind, for the third place on the winners rostrum.

Todays race was not run in the most exciting terrain. The race itself was quite interesting however with a lot of time loss on route choices. Let's take a look at them.

H21 Leg 9-10

This was the longest leg of the course and responsible for a lot of time loss. Both Pieter (1:30) and Tomas Hendrickx (2:00) lost time, not only to Michiels, but also to your reporter who was definitely not running faster than them today. Instead of trying to find a way through the fields as many runners did, the fastest option was to avoid them altogether (also done by Michiels).

Red: Michiels 8:23 (1), Hoekx 8:44 (2)
Blue: Franssen 9:32 (4)
Green: T. Hendrickx 10:23 (13)
Purple: Melis 13:18 (34)

Of course, a bit of preparation for this race would have made this leg easy as the same course setter used a similar leg 2 years ago during a regional event. It was current Flemish elite team coach Dirk Goossens who started the discussion back then.

H21 Leg 12-13

This leg was shorter, but it's one with many different options and also one that Michiels didn't win. Tomas Hendrickx had the fastest choice by running as close as possible to the line . He did not even avoid the green, which was quite runnable, he said.
Red: T. Hendrickx 3:50 (1)
Blue: Michiels 4:01 (4), Hoekx 4:06 (5)
Green: Franssen 4:15 (7)
Orange: Talloen 4:29 (11)

Map with routechoices Desmond Franssen, Kimmo Hirvonen,

Tomorrow the competition will shift from the flanks of the Meuse river to central Belgium. It means sticking to the line and take the climbing as it comes.


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