Ayad Lamdassem from Spain, the European Cross Country Championships silver medallist from last December in Albufeira, and Turkey’s Alemitu Bekele Degfa, European 5000m champion in Barcelona, claimed wins at the 79th edition of the Cinque Mulini, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting which incorporated the European Cross Country Club Championships.
Lamdassem, running for the Spanish Team Bikila Toledo, crossed the finish line first in 28:58 holding off European Cross Country bronze medallist Youssef El Kalay from Portugal (29:00). Abraham Nyonguru (Athleg Provence) finished third in 29:01. The Grupo Desportivo Recreativo Conforlimpia took the men’s senior team title with 24 points beating Athleg Provence (44 points) and Bikila Toledo (45 points).
The leading group was formed with 7:13 on the clock by Pascal Sarwatt for Czech club Ak Kromeriz, El Kalay, former European Junior and Under 23 XC champion Andrea Lalli, Gabriele De Nard and Yuri Floriani (all from Italy). Sarwatt was the first to take the initiative with 16:30 but he was soon caught up by the chasing group led by De Nard, Lamdassem, Eduardo Mbengani from Portugal.
At around 20:50 into the race, during the fourth lap, El Kalay forced the pace inside the famous Mulino Meraviglia. Thanks to El Kalay’s initiative the race really hotted-up with only four men remaining to contend for the win. They were El Kalay, Lamdassem, Nyonkuru and Sarwatt.
At 8km Sarwatt was dropped by El Kalay, Lamdassem and Nyonkuru, and during the last lap it developed into a tactical race between Lamdassem who went to the front ahead of El Kalay and Nyonkuru. Sarwatt managed to catch-up with the leading trio who battled it out for the final win during the last lap. With 28:44 on the clock Lamdassem launched his attack breaking away to romp home in the final straight in 28:58 beating El Kalay by two seconds.
“It was a tough race because what mattered today was the tactical battle for the European Cup’s win. I am happy because I improved my second place from last year in this event in Bilbao,” said Lamdassem.
Alemitu Bekele crossed the finish-line in 20:28 beating Ana Dulce Felix by three seconds. The European 5000 metres bronze medallist Sara Moreira completed the podium in the women’s race finishing third in 20:38.
With her individual win Bekele helped her Turkish club Uskudar Belediyesi Spor Kulubu win the women’s senior European Club Championships with 34 points, just two points ahead of Maratona Clube de Portugal. The Italian Army Sports Group Esercito, led by fresh Italian cross country champion Nadia Ejjafini who finished fifth, was third for the second consecutive year.
The leading group after the first lap was formed by Portuguese Ana Dulce Felix and Sara Moreira, Alemitu Bekele and last week’s Italian Cross Country champion Nadia Ejjafini . They clocked 8:17 after two laps.
After the bell Felix, Bekele and Moreira forced the pace and broke away. They fought it out hard for the win during the last lap. Felix took the front closely followed by Bekele, while Moreira lost ground. The race became a battle between Bekele and Felix. With 20:00 on the clock Bekele launched her kick pulling away from Felix to take the win in 20:28 by three seconds over Felix.
“I suffered from a cold last week and I was not in my best shape. This was not an easy race because the course was slippery and a bit tough for me,” said Bekele.
The men’s junior race went to Russian Andres Rusakov (SC Zauralets) ahead of Spain’s Lucas Gabriel Navarro (Playas de Castellon). Esma Ayedemir from Turkey (Tarim Kredi Ulku Sport Club) took the women’s junior race.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1 Ayad Lamdassem (Spain/Bikila Toledo) 28:58
2 Youssef El Kalay (Portugal/Grupo Deportivo Recreativo Conforlimpia) 29:00
3 Abraham Niyonkuru (France/Athleg Provence) 29:01
4 Pascal Mombo Sarwatt (Czech Republic/AK Kromeriz) 29:09
5 Manuel Damiao (Portugal/Grupo Desportivo Recr. Conforlimpia) 29:19
6 Andrea Lalli (Italy/Fiamme Gialle) 29:21
7 Eduardo Mbengani (Portugal/Grupo Desportivo Recreativo Conforlimpia) 29:22
8 Gabriele De Nard (Italy/Fiamme Gialle) 29:27
1 Grupo Desportivo Recreativo Conforlimpia 24 points
2 Athleg Provence 44 points
3 Bikila Toledo 45 points
4 Fiamme Gialle 51 points
5 IK Tjalve 95 points
1 Alemitu Bekele Degfa (Turkey/Uskudar Belediyesi Spor Kulubu) 20:28
2 Ana Dulce Felix (Portugal/Maratona Clube De Portugal) 20:31
3 Sara Moreira (Portugal/Maratona Clube de Portugal) 20:38
4 Bahar Erdogan (Turkey/ Uskudar Belediyesi Spor Kulubu) 20:44
5 Nadia Ejjafini (Italy/Esercito) 20:46
6 Gemma Steel (Great Britain/Charnwood AC) 20:57
7 Alessandra Aguilar Moran (Spain/FC Barcelona) 20:59
8 Natalia Medvedeva (Russia/SC Moscow) 21:01
1 Uskudar Belediyesi Spor Kulubu 34 points
2 Maratona Clube de Portugal 36 points
3 CS Esercito 60 points
4 FC Barcelona 62 points
5 SC Moscow 63 points