Fighting hard to keep the lead!

Early this morning, the Europeans and French championships were kicked off with an orienteering prolog in, the still sleepy, village of Tence. The teams are now off for a 172km expedition, non stop, around Haute-Loire. The fight for the lead is real, and will keep on being through the night, in order to cross the finish line as the final Winner.

The start of the 2023 European and French national championships, was given this morning at 6am, by the proud mayor of Tence. 80 teams of 4 racers, will go successively and non-stop through 10 sections, in autonomy : MTB, Trek, Kayak, ropes. The orientateering is made on 1/50 000 maps and GPS are forbidden. As a whole, a loop of 172km, of 20h for the winning team and 30 hours maximum.

After a quick prolog, held in the dark of the city of Tence, our teams, hopped on their mountain bike and discovered, as the sun came out, the beauty of Haute-Loire with it’s volcanic hills, here called “sucs”. This Biking section led to a 16km trek, in Massif du Meygal, with some «Back to Nature» spirit due to some difficult progression into the scree, followed by nice tracks and paths to reach Lac Bleu, whose color has something surreal, with volcanic rocks in its base. Le Testavoyre, the highest peak of the race (1436m ) was their next target, offering an outstanding view to the racers.

At mid-day, the first teams were fighting hard, for the lead. Moving on to the outstanding gorges; In the lead, several French teams : Raidaventure.fr-Hiboux (127), Team FMR CSO (125), Raidsaventure.fr – LT2R (17), XTTR63 O’Complet (7), Team FMR CSO 2 (134), Gars lactiques (16) et AbsoluRaid-CapGanguise (119). The danish from Masanga Racing (108) and Seiklushunt Honeypower, the Estonian (114) following close.

A very changing ranking, that might get clear early this night. “The leading teams are extremely quick, Commented pascal Bahuaud, Race director, but we know from experience that the pace slows down as the sun goes down, and the fatigue settles, forcing the teams to slow down. The second half of the race is also more technical”.

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