The 2019 edition of the European Champion Clubs Cup Cross Country will be staged in Albufeira, Portugal on 3 February.
Albufeira will be a familiar venue to many of the athletes who will represent their respective clubs next February. Albufeira hosted the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in 2010 as well as the 2008, 2014 and 2017 editions of this competition.
Last year’s event was also held in Portugal, on the west coast in Mira - around 50 kilometres south of Porto. Sporting Clube de Portugal performed excellently on home soil, winning three of the four senior titles on offer.
Kenya’s Davis Kiplangat won team and individual titles for Sporting Clube de Portugal in the men’s race and while Poland’s Katarzyna Rutkowska won the individual women’s title, Sporting Clube de Portugal - whose team included Jessica Augusto, Sara Moreira and Ines Monteiro - clinched the team title with five counters in the top-10.
Teams from Portugal largely dominated the men’s and women’s divisions from the 1980s through to the mid-2000s with the likes of Carlos Lopes, Fernando Mamede, Domingos and Dionisio Castro, Albertina Dias, Carla Sacramento and Fernanda Ribeiro all winning individual titles, and invariably leading their teams to major honours as well.
Over the last decade, the balance of power has shifted to teams from Spain and Turkey. Spanish club Bikila has won the senior men’s title four times in the last 10 editions and Turkish club Üsküdar Belediyespor has claimed five senior women’s team titles since 2011, including a hat-trick between 2015 and 2017.
The first three clubs from the 2018 edition of the ECCC Cross Country - and the organiser of the event - will be invited to compete. Clubs also recognised by the Member Federation as reigning national champions will also be eligible.