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Italian Athletics Federation

December 11, 2022

A masterpiece by Aris, Del Buono, Buih and Sabbatini: first gold for the blue mixed at the European Cross Country Championships. LIVE TV on RaiSport + HD, live broadcast on RaiPlay

She is the first historical blue gold in the medley relay European Cross Country Championships. With four magic fractions, in front of a large audience at La Mandria Park in Venaria Reale (Turin), Pietro AresFederica of goodnessYassen Boyah and Gaia Sabatini Giving Italy the European title in the 4×1.5 km race. Thanks to four excellent breaks and a sensational finish by Sabbatini, he is able to overtake the last Algerian Spaniard in the sprint and complete the masterpiece of the national team competing in the quadruple for the first time. Azzurri at the finish line in 17:23, beating Spain with the second (17:24), the bronze in front of France (17:31). In the previous four editions of EuroCross where the relay was held, the best Italian finish was sixth place in Samorin 2017.

Four long laps, four hand-to-hand fights, four athletes with one goal: to win. In front of the fans, many, warm, waving flags and filling the Azzurri with applause. For Pietro Ares (Fiam Gialli), the man of the house, from Turin, this is almost a vital question. He’s the one who lunges on the first lap, attacks climbs with courage and determination, and launches himself downhill without fear. Passing the perfect baton, represented by the cross with a ribbon, Italy already has a fair margin of edge over Belgium. It was Federica Del Buono’s time, another great bit of the lead, with a gap widening before finishing second due to Romania’s momentary overtaking. To make things right, Yassin Buih (Viam Giali) takes back the lead when he’s about to attack the climb, forcing his rivals to work overtime on the slopes leading up to the castle. In the exchange area, Gaia Sabbatini (Fiamme Azzurre) is waiting for him with a right look, with flames in her eyes, with the courage of someone who can’t wait to redeem a capricious season. Passing Spain, Gaia decided to keep her best energies for the final straight, flat, after descending from the castle to the finish line. This is where the feat happens: Sabbatini joins and slides Rosalia Tarraga just a few steps from the finish line. What happens next is just a celebration: a wonderful embrace with Pietro, Federica and Yacine who have been waiting for her with boisterous delight. A victory that did not come out of nowhere, but rather the result of planning and studying in every detail, not least last week’s meeting that allowed the Azzurri to discover every secret of “La Mandria Park”.

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Under 20 men (5722 metres) – At nine o’clock in the morning, temperatures are below zero (-2), a frozen surface, the sun shining, and a magical sight with the snow-capped Alps framing La Mandria Park. Three hundred meters of ascent to climb towards the Castello della Mandria and the impressive passage inside the Galleria delle Carrozze. Four of them are already going by the first lap of the men’s under-20 race: champion Christensen, the other Dean Lilisso, and Brit Will. BarnicottIrishman Nicholas Griggs. The second group consisted of British chasers Sam Mills, Luke Birdseye and Irishman Dean Casey. The surprise takes the form of an exit from the third crossing in the castle: Axel Vang Christensen, the favorite of the previous day, loses contact and then stops. Lillesø comes in too, and then the battle for the title narrows down to Barnicoat and Griggs. It is a prelude to the end of “Drama”. Separating on the slopes of the final climb, Griggs Barnicoat flies towards the finish line but when it seems impossible to catch him back he trips and risks falling about thirty meters from the finish. It just doesn’t look real for Will Barnicat (5.40pm): he beat him and took the European title away from him. Two Irish on the podium: Griggs silver (17:41), Casey bronze (17:46). Italy comes in far behind: Konjoneh Maggi 37th (18:40), Elia Mattio 39th (18:44), Nicolò Cornali 42nd (18:45), Federico Sammartino 48th (18:49), Francesco Ropelato 58th (19:01) Matteo Bardia 71 (19:16). Great Britain, with three athletes in the top five, deserves the team victory (10 points), ahead of Ireland (17), Spain (30) and Italy in tenth place (118).

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Women’s under 20 (3812 metres) – A two-way competition between under 20 women. A tandem is being formed with the British Ennis Fitzgerald and the Spanish Maria Forero. Only Iberia (13:04) makes the winning move on the final climb and frees herself from her British rival (from 2006), who is contested by Norway’s Ingeborg Ostgaard (13:07) and Finland’s Ilona Mononen (13:08) for silver and bronze, respectively. At the first stages, the very young Sophia Sydneyos would have shown herself in the leading positions, and then she was held back by a couple of accidents. The first blues is student Lucia Arnoldo (32nd, 14:02), then Adele Roata (45th, 14:17), Beatriz Casagrande (46th, 14:17), Cedinhos (67th, 14:41), Laura Rebeggini (69th, 14:53), Nicole Cuba (71, 14:56), 11th overall (123 points). The team gold, which is double, goes to Spain (21), ahead of Turkey (25) and Germany (33).

Contest program
9:35 am – Men’s U-20s (6km)
10:03 – Women’s U-20 (4 km)
10:30 – Mixed Relay (4 x 1.5 km)
11:30 – Men under 23 (8 km)
12:03 – Women under 23 (6 km)
12:33 – Senior Women (8 km)
13:10 – Senior Men (10 km)

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