Roeselare, BelgiumStephen Kiprotich from Uganda was the impressive winner of the men’s race in the Lotto Cross Cup yesterday (29). The 20-year-old left Dame Tasama (ETH) and Pieter Desmet (BEL) way behind in a strong solo effort.
Portugal’s Ana Dulce Felix confirmed her good form and took victory in the women’s race.
Stephen Kiprotich cruising on the muddy course
Heavy rainfall of the last 10 days had made the course at the Schiervelde Sports Centre extremely muddy and exhausting. But that didn’t seem to disturb Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich at all. Kiprotich went quickly into the lead and was immediately 50m ahead of Dame Tasama and Pieter Desmet.
These two athletes closed the gap in the second lap, but Kiprotich then made a decisive acceleration, and the gap soon became 30 seconds and more. Behind Tasama and Desmet a group of six athletes formed in which the positions constantly changed. Meanwhile Kiprotich continued his impressive effort and made it look as if the waterlogged course wasn’t demanding at all for him.
The 20-year-old Ugandan, who has a personal 5000m best of 13:23 on the track cruised to victory, while Tasama was the fastest sprinter for second place. Desmet, who finished 5th at the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels last year, showed increasing form and looks to be ready to do well at this year’s edition in Dublin next month.
Another step forward for Ana Dulce Felix
Ana Dulce Felix started conservatively in the women’s race and left Belgian Veerle Dejaeghere with the work to do in the early stages of the race. But as soon as the Portuguese moved into the front the race was over. Felix injected pace and gradually extended her lead.
In the closing stages Maria Sig Mooler from Denmark broke away from the following pack and overtook Dejaeghere to take second, with the Ethiopian managing to defend third place from the rest of the field.
The 27-year-old winner from the northern Portuguese city of Guimaraes was happy with her race, and commented on her hopes that Portugal will make a strong bid for team gold at the European Championships in Dublin on 13 December.
“My shape is good,” said Felix. “Last week I won in Tilburg on a fast course, today I really felt good on this difficult course. I made a big step forward this year because I decided to become a professional in athletics. Before that I was a fulltime factory worker. Now all sights are set on Dublin. Next week we leave on a training camp for two weeks to prepare for the championships. I want to finish in the top 10 there and contribute to a strong team result for Portugal.”
Felix was encouraged by her team mate Jessica Augusto, who won in Leffrincoucke, France earlier in the day, about a one hour drive from Roeselare.
“It was good to see Ana Dulce win here today,” said Augusto. “Indeed we have a strong team with Ines Monteiro, Sara Moreira, Analia Rosa and others. I am running very well so far this season and it is definitely my aim to win the European title in Dublin. But the competition will be very tough.”
Ivo Hendrix for the IAAF
1. Stephen Kiprotich (UGA) 30:17
2. Dame Tasama Faisa (ETH) 30:30
3. Pieter Desmet (BEL) 30:44
4. Abdi Nageeye (NED) 30:46;
5. Hans Janssens (BEL) 30:51;
1. Ana Dulce Felix (POR) 23:22
2. Maria Sig Moller (DEN) 23:27
3. Veerle Dejaeghere (BEL) 23:50
4. Veerle Van Linden (BEL) 23:57;
5. Naomy Jepkosgei (KEN) 23:59;