The latest international outing provided a perfect stage for Lachlan Wellington as he powered to third place representing England in the Belgium Cross Cup.
It was another good race for the City of Portsmouth talent.
He had already gained an international podium in Seville earlier this year.
Then he won the under-20 South of England Cross Country title at Parliament Hill.
Now in a burn-up in Belgium he showed his class again.
It was the national championships for the host nation while other top nations were invited to compete.
The 17-year-old City star showed he’s sharpening up well at this stage of a huge winter.
Vince Stamp felt the result in Belgium, where his athlete was first England representative home, signalled everything is in place at this stage ahead of the nationals and then the UK Inter-Counties.
The City coach said: ‘I will take a lot of positives from that. If anything the nature of the course and the distance of the course were all against Lachie.
‘It’s a technical short 6k.
‘There were some muddy stretches and sand because they ran alongside a lake as well and it was miserable weather.
‘It’s the sort of course where due to the short distance Lachie could lose out to somebody he would expect to beat over the longer distance and on a tougher course.
‘So it was really like a sprint race and Lachie’s sprint finish caught the eye.
‘It is something we have been working at.
‘At the end of all our long reps we do 150m on mud and when we do speed on track in the summer we have short reps at the end of long reps.
‘So the athletes are trying to run hard off tired legs which simulates what the end of a race is like.
‘Everything has been built towards Lachie being at his best for the main races which we are now just getting into.
‘Nobody is counting any chickens but the way we have planned out the season seems to be coming good at the right time.’
The racing on Sunday took place in Rotselaar, where the England team competed with Belgium’s best and other strong Europeans.
England’s under-20 men were led by Wellington’s super strong performance with Joshua Lay next just three seconds behind in fourth, Jack Meijer in sixth and Finn Birnie eighth.
Alex Teuten, from Southsea, represented the England senior team again as he continued to step up his winter after a foot injury.
The seniors found the leaders too good on the day but worked hard for John Millar to be first home for England in sixth position.
Jack Gray was 15 seconds behind in ninth with Teuten in 11th and Corey De’Ath completing the England team of four in 14th.
The English Cross Country Association (ECCA) National Championships take place in Leeds on Saturday, February 23.
Then the trials for the World Championships, which is also the UK CAU (Counties Athletic Union) Cross Country Championships and the finish to the Cross Challenge, take place on Saturday, March 16 in Loughborough.