Stage 3 - El Kelaa - Alnif

El Kelaa M'Gouna, Morocco – Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Roc du Maroc 2022 dished up a shorter, but not less demanding stage for the participants today. The third stage once again guaranteed a surprisingly varied landscape with breathtaking views. For 77 km, the riders faces a particularly varied course full of technical challenges.

Encouraged by a whole group of local kids, racers and challengers started at 8:30 this morning. The second stage dug deep in the energy reserves of many riders, so sleeping a little longer and starting half an hour later was a welcome extra treat for many of them.

A runaway donkey forced the entire pack to set foot on the ground for a moment, but after a brief delay, everyone was able to continue their journey towards the breathtaking three-kilometer-long canyon with steep cliffs on both sides.

In Boulmane Dades, the participants said goodbye to the Atlas Mountains. The last 25 km brought them into the mecca of single tracks: winding paths over dykes, bridges and irrigation canals between fields and fig trees, right through ‘la vallée des roses’. A stage that really appealed to everyone!

Flemish news anchor Goedele Wachters crossed the finish line with a broad smile on her face: “I have no words for it, it is so beautiful and nice here. My knee is playing up a bit, so I may have to tweak with my position on the bike a bit, but I'm so glad I'm here! It is just great!"

How the race was won:

The winning duo Ossieur-Stevens scored a hat-trick and won their third stage in a row. Stevens was relieved at the finish: “I was most afraid of today's stage. That canyon and then the single tracks at the end are two parts that are not necessarily my specialty. But Michael (Ossieur) led me through it so all I had to do was follow.”

“Navigating well gave us a real competitive advantage today,” agreed the Hustinx-Leplae duo who crossed the line 3 minutes later than the second team, further strengthening their lead in the Master class. “It is important to match your rhythm to the reaction speed of your GPS, if you can synchronize it perfectly, it is a match made in heaven and such a great ride.”

9 minutes and 1 second after the stage winners, Chris Maes and Alex Moonen were the first team in the Grand Master class to cross the finish line, repeating their exploits of the second stage. “It's unfortunate that our first stage was completely ruined by technical problems. We are no longer competing in the GC, but we are now focusing on stage wins. It's great that we already have two stages to our name. Hopefully we can add at least one more,” they said.

Results Stage 3

1. Michael Ossieur and Simon Stevens (all-round and MEN leaders) in 3:23:23

2. Benoît Hustinx and Pascal Leplae (winners and leaders in the MASTER category) in 3:26:40

3. Bart Hoornaert and Dieter Vehaeghe in 3:26:41

4. Sven Driesen and Vincent Meyvis in 3:31:40

5. Chris Maes and Alex Moonen (winners in the category GRAND MASTER) in 3:32:24

6. Vaast Bogaert and Diederik Libbrecht (leaders in the GRAND MASTER category) in

7. Davy Blancquaert and Kris Hendrickx in 3:45:05

8. Jonas Roels and Yann Vandemeulebroecke in 3:50:01

9. Stefan Vaes and Sven Esbroeck in 3:50:16

10. Korneel Monbailliu and Peter Van Praet in 3:54:26

Tomorrow the fourth stage will go from El Kelaa M'Gouna to Alnif, over a distance of 124 km and 1700 altimeters.

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