Lalli homes in on a big test

Lalli homes in on a big test
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Italy's Andrea Lalli is a European cross country specialist having won gold in all three age categories throughout his career.

Whatever your plans for the winter season, a good early test of your credentials can work wonders as Italy’s Andrea Lalli will hope to find out on Saturday.

Lalli, 27, a triple gold medallist at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships, takes to the roads in his home country when he runs in the Giro Internazionale Citta di Trento.

And it will be a tough 10km, because he is facing a group of leading Africans which include Kenyans Edwin Soi, Moses Mosop and Thomas Longosiwa and Ethiopian Muktar Edris.

All the Kenyans have bronze medals from the global events, with Mosop third in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Helsinki in 2005, Soi achieving the same position in the Olympic 5000m in Beijing in 2008 and four years later, Longosiwa repeating the act at the Olympics in London.

Lalli remains one of Europe’s most consistent distance runners and he will arrive in Trento on the back of a fine run last Sunday in Milan in the DJ Ten, a 10km road race which he won in 28:56.

While he might have to go quicker to challenge on Saturday, the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samokov in December would give him another chance to increase his standing in that event.

It was in 2006 in San Giorgio su Legnano that he delighted home fans when he won the 6km junior race in 16:53 as Italy also took the team title before he had more success in Brussels two years later.

This time in 24:56, Lalli won the Under-23 title as Italy took team silver before in 2012 he was the men’s senior champion in the snow of Hungary in 30:01.

Three gold medals is some record for any athlete, and Lalli showed the measure of his improvement by winning them at all different age levels in a career which could be building towards more cross country glory before the end of the year.