Uganda’s Abdallah Mande took a surprise win over Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Tamirat Tola at the 70th edition of the Giro al Sas 10km Road Race in Trento on Saturday (1).
Mande, 21, prevailed in a close sprint finish over this multi-loop course through the old town center of Alpine city, clocking 28:47, just ahead of Tola who was credited with the same time.
Muktar Edris, the 2012 world junior 5000m champion, who was chasing his third consecutive win in this event, had to settle for third in 29:16.
Edris, Tola, and Mande were among the early lead pack of eight that went through the second lap mark in 6:14. That group also included world marathon bronze medallist Solomon Mutai, past New York, Boston and Berlin marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai, five-time Giro al Sas winner Edwin Soi, Kenyan Robert Kaptingei and Italy's two-time European junior cross-country champion Yemaneberhan Crippa.
The leading pack then upped the tempo, passing the fourth lap mark in 2:50. Soi unleashed a sprint at the halfway mark to win the Memorial Fabio Giacomelli bonus prize ahead of Crippa and Mande.
The effort took its toll on local favourite Crippa, who was dropped during the sixth lap when Mande, Tola and Edris pushed the pace to break away from Kenyans Soi, Kaptingei and Solomon Mutai.
Down to the wire
During the seventh lap Tola produced a surge but Mande responded to the Ethiopian’s attack. Edris, however, lost ground and was left behind to secure third. Tola and Mande forged on in a race that wasn’t decided until the final sprint. Tola took to the front and led for most of the last lap until the final straight where Mande launched ahead to edge the Ethiopian.
"I knew that I was in good shape but I didn’t really expect to win the race at all," Mande said. "I enjoyed running on this fascinating course and I hope to return next year to defend my title. I am a 5000m track runner but this is a really special race and it’s a great pleasure to win it in the final sprint. I realised that I was running well from the beginning but the race was very close until the end."
Kaptingei followed Edris to finish fourth in 29:26. Solomon Mutai was fifth in 29:27 ahead of Soi (29:32) and Geoffrey Mutai (29:44).
Marouan Razine was the first Italian runner, finishing in eighth place in 29:45 and won the Cosimo Caliandro Memorial trophy dedicated to the 2007 European indoor 3000m champion, who died in a tragic road accident in 2011.
The popular Giro al Sas, which was founded in 1907, attracted a substantial crowd along its picturesque course on a warm evening. The northern Italian race is the highlight of the Trentino Running Festival, a series of running events which features the Trento Half Marathon.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1 Abdallah Mande (UGA) 28:47
2 Tamirat Tola (ETH) 28:47
3 Muktar Edris (ETH) 29:16
4 Robert Kaptingei (KEN) 29:26
5 Solomon Mutai (UGA) 29:27
6 Edwin Soi (KEN) 29:32
7 Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 29:44
8 Marouan Razine (ITA) 29:45