Nancy Chepleting wins in Calzadilla (© Antonio Sánchez)
France's Yann Schrub and Kenya's Nancy Chepleting were victorious at the Gran Premio Cáceres Campo a Traves – the last Spanish leg in this season's World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold series – on a sunny day in Calzadilla on Sunday (5).
The men’s 10km race opened at a moderate rhythm with Kenya’s Peter Kiriuki doing most of the early pacing duties, closely followed by Belgium’s European cross-country bronze medallist Isaac Kimeli and Spain’s Abdessamad Oukhelfen, while Schrub positioned himself in the middle of the 12-man lead group.
Before the fourth kilometre, the leading pack had been whittled down to seven men: Kiriuki, Kimeli, Oukhelfen, Schrub, his compatriot Valentin Gondouin, Uruguay’s Santiago Catrofe and Spain’s Fernando Carro. After successive laps covered in the 4:12/4:15 range, first Kimeli and then Catrofe took command of the race, but their leads were short-lived as Schrub moved to the front with determination with 18 minutes on the clock, leaving behind Gondouin, Carro and Kiriuki in a matter of few hundred metres.
Schrub’s antepenultimate loop was covered in a quicker 4:09 to force his pursuers – Kimeli, Oukhelfen and Catrofe – to run in single file behind him. After a brisk 4:06 lap, the European 10,000m bronze medallist reached the bell before Kimeli made a surge and joined Schrub, the pair opening a sizeable margin on Oukhelfen and Catrofe. The showdown between Kimeli and Schrub only lasted about 300 metres as Schrub found another gear to break away with incredible ease from the Belgian who later began to falter and was caught by Catrofe.
Schrub crossed the finish line in 27:43 to Catrofe’s 27:49, the Uruguayan another six seconds faster than Kimeli who had to hold off the pressure of Oukhelfen.
Chepleting prevails over Bakker
Right from the start of the women's 10km contest, Chepleting was joined by Dutch duo Veerle Bakker and Silke Jonkman. Spain’s Laura Luengo hesitated to join the heading trio but finally opted to run alone a few metres behind. The leading trio covered the first 1.5km lap in 4:50 and shortly afterwards the 21-year-old Kenyan stepped up her cadence to leave behind Bakker and Jonkman.
After a 4:48 lap, Chepleting led by three seconds while Jonkman pushed hard and managed to break away from Bakker, who began to be threatened by Luengo at halfway.
Chepleting maintained her pace over the following few laps and built a five-second advantage on Jonkman, herself three seconds clear of Bakker and seven ahead of Luengo who was passionately cheered for the home crowd.
The respective gaps between the first four increased with Chepleting building up a comfortable 10-second margin on Bakker who had bounced back and overtaken her Dutch compatriot while Luengo remained in fourth.
Chepleting kept Bakker at bay on the closing laps, while Luengo began to close on Jonkman. Chepleting held on to win in 32:41, six seconds ahead of Bakker. Luengo overtook Jonkman to claim the third spot on the podium.
“I’m quite satisfied with my Spanish tour over the last four weeks,” said Chepleting. “I have set two PBs (in the 10km and half marathon) and managed two victories.”
Emeterio Valiente for World Athletics
1 Nancy Chepleting (KEN) 32:41
2 Veerle Bakker (NED) 32:47
3 Laura Luengo (ESP) 32:53
4 Silke Jonkman (NED) 33:11
5 Edymar Brea (VEN) 33:24
6 Katherine Tisalema (ECU) 34:24
7 Blanca Fernandez (ESP) 34:47
8 Almi Nerurkar (GBR) 34:57
9 Clara Vinaras (ESP) 35:13
10 Diana Martín (ESP) 35:23
1 Yann Schrub (FRA) 27:43
2 Santiago Catrofe (URU) 27:49
3 Isaac Kimeli (BEL) 27:55
4 Abdessamad Oukhelfen (ESP) 27:57
5 Peter Kiriuki (KEN) 28:08
6 Fernando Carro (ESP) 28:18
7 Valentin Gondouin (FRA) 28:32
8 Houssame Benabbou (ESP) 28:55
9 David Bascuñana (ESP) 28:57
10 Lahcen Ait Alibou (ESP) 29:07