The top three from last year's men's under-23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships return to confront each other again in Chia on Sunday but they, and the rest of the field, will have to keep more than a close eye on an athlete looking for his own place in history.
Great Britain's Jonny Davies will be aiming to retain the under-23 title after winning in Hyères in 23:32 from Spain's Carlos Mayo (23:35) and Germany's Amanal Petros (23:39).
That trio will surely be in the mix again, as will Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli, who won 5000m silver behind him at the European Under-23 Championships in Tallinn in 2015.
The hosts have a strong squad which includes Lorenzo Dini, who was sixth last year, and making the step up from the under-20s, Yemaneberhan Crippa, the 2015 champion, and Said Ettaqy, who was fifth.
Crippa, 20, made it double gold last year as he retained his title and he is joined in this under-23 team by, among others, his older brother, 22-year-old Nekagenet.
And proof of how so many athletes rise through the ranks at the Eurocross is in the fact that Mayo was second to Crippa in Samokov in 2014 in the junior race before his individual under-23 silver in Hyères where he also led Spain to team gold.
Returning for France are Felix Bour and Alexandre Saddedine, who were both part of the bronze medal-winning team from their home championships in 2015, and they will be plotting a spot on the podium again.
CHIA RACE DETAILS
Men's Under-23 race starts at 11:50am (local time).
LAST YEAR’S RESULT
1. Jonny Davies (GBR) 23:32
2. Carlos Mayo (ESP) 23:35
3. Amanal Petros (GER) 23:29
1. Spain 39 points
2. Great Britain 41
3. France 59