In the last twenty years nobody had been able to win in consecutive years the Giro al Sas in Trento, so called from the name of a typical walk in the centre of the city.
Kenya's Moses Mosop achieved back-to-back wins on Saturday night (Oct 11), doubling his 2007 win on the 10km loop road race, organized by the renown Athletes’ Representative Gianni Demadonna.
Mosop closed a solo run with a time of 28:29. He dropped Olympic silver medallist Jaouad Gharib of Morocco with little known Kenyan David Toniok in third.
Mosop - another comeback in Trento
Last year Mosop had come back running in Trento after being out for three months because of an injury in his left Achilles. This year he missed almost the whole season with a strong pain in his heel and Giro al Sas was his first race since March.
However, he showed no fear, took the lead from the beginning and during the fourth lap he was already alone in the lead. Nobody was able to follow him, neither home favourite and former Olympic champion Stefano Baldini, nor Gharib, still fatigued by his wonderful race in Beijing where he was beaten only by Samuel Wanjiru and grabbed the silver medal with a stunning 2:07:16.
At halfway Mosop crossed the line in 13:58, and many thought he could run 27 something for the first time in Trento. However, in the second part of the race Mosop just controlled Gharib and only sprinted in the last lap. Gharib slowed down in the final and closed 28 seconds behind Mosop. Toniok, who last week won his first half marathon in Egna with a good 63:29, clocked 29:17.
"The gold in Berlin is the goal," said the winner. "I'm really happy because tonight I showed I'm ok now. The race was like I wanted it, I wanted to keep a fast pace and dropped anyone else as soon as possible. I can train very well now and this race was an important test."
Mosop's future is very ambitious on the track. In 2005 he won the World bronze medal in Helsinki at 10,000m, but for Berlin 2009 he’s aiming much higher. "I think I can win, I can beat the Ethiopians at 10,000m," he said. "Before next summer I would like also to win a medal in the cross country."
Baldini - happy to be beaten by a youngster
Behind the Africans' affair there was a stunning surprise. Former cross country European junior champion Andrea Lalli of Italy not only ran shoulder-to-shoulder with Baldini and another Italian Gabriele De Nard, but during the 8th lap he dropped his famous rivals and closed in 4th place.
"To beat guys like Baldini was very emotional for me," 21 year old Lalli said. "I'm working hard for the European Championships in December, and I did not expect such a race. I would like to make a very good race in Brussels."
A couple of seconds behind him, De Nard out-sprinted Baldini, who closed in 6th place. Baldini has won the Giro al Sas three times in 2002, 2004 and 2006. However he had no regrets about his performance.
"I couldn’t do any better as I'm still tired after the Olympic marathon," Baldini said. He closed 12th in Beijing, the last marathon of his career and his last participation with the national team. "It's not disappointing to be beaten by the young Lalli," he continued. "I would like to see other Italian guys run in my footsteps, even if I know that it's not that easy."
About the race Baldini said that "I didn’t expected such a fast pace, so I preferred to run slower in the first part."
Alberto Zorzi for the IAAF
Selected results (10km)
1. Moses Mosop, KEN, 28:29
2. Jaouad Gharib, MAR, 28:57
3. David Toniok, KEN, 29:17
4. Andrea Lalli, ITA, 29:32
5. Gabriele De Nard, ITA, 29:34
6. Stefano Baldini, ITA, 29:35
7. Richard Sigei, KEN, 29:39
8. Moses Aliwa, UGA, 29:43
9. Jamal Chatbi, MAR, 29:46
10. Stefano La Rosa, ITA, 30:01