World 5000m champion Muktar Edris clinched the third Boclassic victory of his career, winning the 10km race in Bolzano in 28:45 to beat Moroccan runners Soufiane Bouqantar (29:07) and Hicham Amghar (29:08).
World 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Tirop from Kenya retained her title in the women’s 5km race, setting a course record of 15:30 to break the mark set by Germany’s Kathrin Wessel in 1991.
A six-man group formed by Edris, European cross-country champion Ozbilen Kaan Kigen, European marathon record-holder Sondre Nordstad Moen, Moroccan runners Hicham Amghar and Soufiane Bouqantar and European under-23 5000m champion Yeman Crippa took the lead after the second lap of a course that runs through the picturesque historic centre of Bolzano.
Edris pushed the pace during the third lap and went through the third lap mark in 10:54 pulling away from the chasing trio formed by Crippa, Amghar and Bouqantar by six seconds.
Edris increased his pace with three laps to go and opened up an eight-second gap over Crippa, who moved into second place after surging away from Amghar and Bouquantar.
At the bell Edris had built up a 12-second lead over Crippa, who miscounted the number of laps and launched an early kick to break away from the Moroccan runners. The effort took its toll on the double European junior cross-country champion, who was duly caught by Bouquantar and Amghar on the final lap.
Edris crossed the finish-line in the Walther Square in 28:45 with a 22-second margin over Bouquantar, who held off Amghar by one second in a close sprint finish. Crippa held on to finish fourth in 29:25 ahead of Moen (29:28) and Ozbilen (29:30).
Having won in 2014 and 2016, this was Edris’s third win in Bolzano, crowning a successful season in which he won the world 5000m title in London, beating Mo Farah in a dramatic final sprint.
“It was a difficult race, as I picked up a slight injury during my winter training,” said Edris. “I tried to push the pace in an attempt to break the course record but it was difficult to run alone at the front. I didn’t manage to break it but I am happy with my third win in Bolzano. I feel at home in this city.”
In the women’s 5km race, 2015 world cross-country champion Agnes Tirop and her compatriot Margaret Kipkemboi Chelimo pushed the pace early during the first lap, breaking away from European cross-country team gold medallists Emelia Gorecka and Stephanie Twell from Great Britain.
Tirop ran the second lap 10 seconds faster than the first, clocking a split of 3:48, and pulled away from Chelimo by seven seconds and Twell by 14 seconds.
After a fast first half, Tirop slowed slightly on the penultimate lap but still managed to build a margin of 28 seconds over Chelimo, winning in 15:30 to break the long-standing course record of 15:34 that had been held by Germany’s Kathrin Wessel since 1991. Tirop’s winning margin was the biggest in this event since 1986.
Twell edged her compatriot Gorecka to take the third place in 16:03, improving on the fourth place she achieved at last year’s edition.
“I pushed the pace but I did not expect to break the course record,” said Tirop, who will run in San Giorgio su Legnano on 6 January before going back to Kenya to train for next April’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. “Bolzano is a lucky place for me. I want to return next year to defend my title.”
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1 Muktar Edris (ETH) 28:45
2 Soufiane Bouqantar (MAR) 29:07
3 Hicham Amghar (MAR) 29:08
4 Yeman Crippa (ITA) 29:25
5 Sondre Nordstad Moen (NOR) 29:28
6 Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR) 29:30
7 Jonas Raess (SUI) 29:42
8 Yassin Bouih (ITA) 29:45
9 Andy Vernon (GBR) 30:22
10 Andrea Lalli (ITA) 30:31
1 Agnes Tirop (KEN) 15:30
2 Margaret Kipkemboi Chelimo (KEN) 15:58
3 Stephanie Twell (GBR) 16:03
4 Emelia Gorecka (GBR) 16:09
5 Margherita Magnani (ITA) 16:31
6 Julia Schmatenko (UKR) 16:38
7 Desirée Linden (USA) 16:40
8 Giovanna Epis (ITA) 16:58
9 Diana Sujew (GER) 17:01
10 Caterina Granz (GER) 17:02