For the first time, Roc d’Ardenne’s program featured a long night ride. On Friday evening, 60 mountain bikers departed in the competitive Roc Night at 21.00 hrs in cold but dry conditions from the atmospheric Place de L’Eglise. 5 minutes later, another 90 MTB’ers departed for the recreative Rando Roc Night.
Kevin Van Hoovels was the fastest on the 24 km-long course through the dream-like forests of the Ardennes. The ex-Olympian won the Roc Night after 1 hour and 4 minutes of riding. Van Hoovels beat Julien Delaet by 2 minutes, while Diego Knöden came third after 4 minutes. Fun fact: Diego Knöden is a local talent and the son of the alderman of sports in Houffalize.
The last riders arrived around midnight, and though it was late, it did not stop most participants from enjoying their evening with a post-race La Chouffe at the finish.
The Roc Night was the first race of the Roc Trophy, which includes the Roc d’Ardenne (57 km on Saturday) and the Roc Marathon (on Sunday, 83 km). Approximately 50 mountain bikers took up the challenge of the heavy ‘triple’, in which the finishing times of the three races are added up to decide the winner.