It’s a number that makes one dizzy, but Seppe Odeyn has his tenth win in a row at De Hel van Kasterlee. That number is especially impressive given that there have “only” been twenty editions of the race and so Odeyn has won half of them. The Belgian athlete won the race, considered one of the toughest Cross Duathlons in the world, after 15 kilometers of running, 117 kilometers of mountain biking and another 30 kilometers of running. The conditions were tough, especially due to the freezing temperatures in Belgium.
During the first run, a leading group immediately formed and in the end it was Stef Verachten who was the first to exchange his running shoes for his bike shoes after 50:57 minutes. His 15-kilometer trail run was completed at a very high pace, yet at that point he was followed by Bart Borghs, Simon Stevens, Geert Lauryssen, Seppe Odeyn, Tim van Hemel and Sébastien Carabin, among others, who all ran within 47 seconds to T1.
The bike was initially made hard by Lauryssen, but after the first bike lap several differences emerged and it was Lauryssen who, together with Stevens, came through at the lead of the race. Stef Verachten followed very closely, at only fourteen seconds. The wait was mainly for Odeyn, who followed in seventh, at 52 seconds and in a group with three others.
In the second bike lap Odeyn, who was riding with Yves Coolen, Carabin and Van Hemel, managed to reduce the gap considerably and in the third bike lap they closed in at the front of the race, thus creating a leading group of six. In the final phase of the bike, only Carabin couldn’t keep up with this leading group anymore, leaving five men entering T2 at the same time. These five men – Odeyn, Lauryssen, Stevens, Coolen and Van Hemel – were well ahead of the chasers when they began their 30-kilometer run.
During the run, it was actually pretty clear pretty quickly that Odeyn was going all out for his tenth win and that he is the expert on this course. He ran away from everyone and saw his lead slowly but steadily increase. With magnificent displays of power, he therefore secured himself his tenth victory at De Hel van Kasterlee, which he claimed after 7:15:05. Laureyssen did come closer in the closing stages and finished second at 1:13 minute behind. Stevens finished third at 6:09 minutes.