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dinsdag, september 02, 2014

Preview: Belgian relay champs 2014

On sunday the Belgian relay champs will take place in the south of Belgium. This competition is always one of the most exciting races of the year. It's not only about orienteering, but also about teamspirit, tactics and head to head running. Many athletes and teams talk about this event for several months on forehand.

This time the competition will be organised at Baraque de Fraiture It's the 3rd highest point in the Belgian Ardennes (652m above sealevel). The competition centre will be close to the top at the skicentre. So the participants can expect some tough uphill running during the race.

All teams (140 in total) will start together at 10h00. Pierre Marchal will be the coursesetter. The longest courses (H-open) will measure 7000m and halfway they will pass the spectatorscontrol. Also a speaker will be present, so the spectators will receive all the up-to-date information about the races. The scale of the map will be 1/7500 and the map is updated in the summer of 2014.

Podium in H21E in 2013: 1st KOL (Michiels, Simkens and T. Hendrickx), 2nd HAMOK (Hoekx, Anciaux and T. van der Kleij), 3rd TROL (Franssen W, Genar and Pelckmans)

In class H21elite we can see one team as favourit for the golden medal. KOL won the previous 3 editions and their 3 runners represented the national team at WOC in Italy this year. Based on these facts we logically expect the brothers Hendrickx and Yannick Michiels at the startline of the strongest KOL team. The second team will probably also include some good athletes like for example the new Finnish star Taneli Pantsar, Wouter Hus, Bert Bockx or Sandro Grasso.

Ofcourse some other teams are very motivated to surprise and fight for the victory if KOL can't handle the pressure. The TROLcoach for example has a luxury problem for composing the first team. Sergey Fedatsenka showed some high level performances last summer at Jukola, Belgian 3-days, O-ringen and World university championships. Also Michael Van Baelen showed that he's back in shape after winning the Strumica Open in Macedonia ahead of Aposol Atanasov and Daniel Barkasz. Even Jeremy Genar, the brothers Franssen and Adriaan Pelckmans are ready and prepared to defend the white, red and blue colours from TROL.

As silver medalist in 2013 (and many other editions) HAMOK is also a dangerous outsider. Thomas van der Kleij (performing very strong in similar terrain last sunday), Benjamin Anciaux and Jeroen Hoekx ofcourse spearhead the first team. Dries van der Kleij, Toon Melis and Peter Krampiltz are candidates for the 2nd team.

Also OMEGA should be able to create a strong team with both Wouter and Evert Leeuws, Joost Talloen, Bart Delobel, Tommy Janssens,...  as clubmembers. The question is if the club could motivate its athletes this time and if they will all enter for this relay competition.

The same question counts for many clubs in the south of Belgium. They also have the possibilties to compose some strong teams, but in the past it happened only rarely that they all showed up. This year we at least can expect a strong team from HOC. Fabien Pasquasy, Johan Tinchant and Tom Drygalski are a strong trio. Also ARDOC will be present at the startline with their best team: the brothers Bastin in combination with Michael Hennes.

Co Liege will be the organising team, but their promising junior athletes Tristan Bloemen and Clement Demeuse are expected to compete at the relay. Also ASUB has many possibilities to compose a strong team when we think about Olle Karner, Francois Van der Ouderaa, Jean-Francois Krier, Christophe Bernard, the brothers Gillet, the brothers De Neyer,...

Podium D21E in 2013: 1. OMEGA (Fabre, Vandevelde and Maggioni), 2. KOL (Scheir, Heuninckx and Sallaerts) and 3. Co Liege (Hermans, Tilkin and Blockx)

In class D21E we expect a fight between OMEGA (with for sure Federica Maggioni and Miek Fabre) and Co Liege (with Aline Hermans and Stephanie Blockx). Probably also HAMOK can fight for the podium now. We can expect Greet Oeyen and Mira Scheir in this team. Also TROL will have a stronger team than last year with Helena Pluymers and Anna Serrallonga.

In women's class everything will depend on who will be the 3rd runners in the team and how they will perform. KOL (the silver medalist in 2013) has already published the team: Saartje Sallaerts, Sofie Heuninckx and Tina Linten will defend the blue and yellow colours. These 5 teams in combination with ASUB and ARDOC will probably on top of the resultlists in D-open.


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