press release, 11 october 2019
What do have a triple cyclocross world champion, a Michelin starred chef and a popular Flemish actor have in common next week?
Between 13 and 19 October, the third edition of the RocDuMaroc, the largest Belgian mountain bike marathon on foreign soil, will take place partly in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains and partly in the desert. The 180 participants, of which 165 from Flanders, take on an extreme challenge to complete the 666km and 8500 positive altimeters within 6 days, whether or not against the chrono. A debilitating substrate of stones and sand, a permanent daytime temperature of 35 ° C and the burning sun, provide an extra challenge. Among them a lot of famous names, including Erwin Vervecken, Luc Bellings and Andy Peelman.
The competition has 6 stages and a prologue and starts in Ouarzazate, the Hollywood of Africa, with the sets of Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, the Mummy, and many other film classics. For four days, racing takes place in the Atlas Mountains, with an average of more 100 km on the agenda. No nicely winding asphalt roads, but non-stop climbing and descending over rocks, gravel, and slopes of red earth, fortunately through breathtaking landscapes. The last two days, for those who still have energy, are “killers” with on day 5 a stage of 151 km over sizzling desert plains, without any form of shadow or landmarks, apart from a rare acacia tree. The final stage takes the remainder to the golden dunes of Erg Chebbi in Merzouga, where the champagne will be cold and eternal fame will be earned.
The RocDuMaroc is a 100% Belgian event, organized by the Kempen couple Elisabeth Haldermans (former organizer of the Togo Jungle Challenge) and Gert Duson (organizer of the Morocco Desert Challenge, Touareg Trail and author of the book “A Strange Duck in Africa , Lannoo). A team of 50 Belgian employees (chefs, bicycle mechanics, doctors and logistics staff) provides daily bivouacs and ensures that nothing is left to chance. The sporting organization (daily rankings, regulations, etc.) is the responsibility of Erwin Vervecken, triple cyclocross world champion.
Everyone out of 180 participants takes up the challenge, but the stage chances are of course greater for some. Among the impressive group of starters are, among others, chef and cyclist Luc Bellings (54), manager of the Hasselt Star restaurant “De Vork”. He rides in a duo with seven-time Belgian champion mountain bike marathon, Alice Pirard (31). Previously she also won victories in the Cape Pioneer, the Crocodile Trophy, Roc Ardennes, Roc Laissagais, etc..etc ..
Less known to the general public, but top in his segment is Bart Seynave. A few weeks ago he won 6 of the 7 stages and also won the prestigious MTB competition “Cape Pioneer Trek” in South Africa. He rode the Cape Epic and the Brazil Ride several times. During RocDuMaroc he will form a team with Michiel van Aelbroeck (33), Belgian champion XCO Master, and XCM fun class and multiple stage victories in Swiss Epic flow, Crocodile Trophy, Costa Blanca Bike Race, etc..etc ..
Out of service, but perhaps the most famous participant, is the Flemish actor and police officer Andy Peelman (35), known as the main character of “De Buurtpolitie” on VTM. Andy is not a seasoned cyclist, but loves challenges. That is why he will try to ride the RocDuMaroc on an electric “Ednine” bicycle.
The RocDuMaroc can be followed daily on www.rocdumaroc.com and via Facebook & Instagram.
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