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Stijn & Jeroen Rans (Wijgmaal, BE) claim international victory in grueling Barcelona classic of 16,051 pigeons

They had already been victorious in Pau and Perpignan in 2017, and the Rans Brothers have now claimed victory in last weekend's race from Barcelona as well. This is in fact their third national victory in two years' time, as well as the first international win for this combination from Wijgmaal, Flemish Brabant.

Already their third national win

The annual international race from Barcelona, traditionally the number one classic in the long distance, took place last weekend. And it needs to be said that it was a particularly demanding race. The difficult weather conditions along the way caused many pigeons to reach a velocity of well below 1,000 m/min. In fact, Ace 63 (his new name is Jef) BE16-2051063 had a velocity of 944.61 m/min, giving him a lead of almost 75 m/min over the second place winner, or in other words an almost two hours advantage! This is quite a feat.

This is the third prestigious victory for Stijn and Jeroen, after having already won a 1st National Pau and a 1st National Perpignan. Click here to read all about it. They added a 1st (inter)national Barcelona to their palmares just last weekend, although they took several other top prizes in the classic from Spain in previous years as well. Claiming victory in 3 of a total of 7 extreme long distance classics makes for quite a prestigious palmares indeed. The brothers are working their way up the ladder, although it will be hard to improve upon 3 national first prizes and 1 international victory.

Ace 63 (Jef) BE16-2051063 - 1st International Barcelona (16,051 pigeons)

The first prize winner in this demanding Barcelona classic was Ace 63, a beautiful looking cock with an extensive palmares. This champion won the following prizes in 2018:

35th  National Perpignan (3,966 pigeons)
81st  National Sint-Vincent (2,758 pigeons)
391st National Cahors (6,356 pigeons)
3rd   Provincial Ace Pigeon KBDB extreme long distance

And in 2017:

287th National Jarnac (5,117 pigeons)
214th Interprov. Aurillac (1,797 pigeons)

And he was evantually victorious in this year's Barcelona as well:

1st International (16,051 pigeons)
  1st National (7,312 pigeons)

The sire of our winner is Eddy (BE14-2324365), a direct Eddy Fabre who went straight to the breeding loft because of his origins. The sire of Eddy won a 57th National Barcelona (12,612 pigeons) in 2007 and he is a son of Apollo, a terrific racing bird for Gaston Devooght, having won a 41st National Castres, a 96th National Marseille and a 140th National Marseille.

The dam is a granddaughter of Montauban x Barcelonaduivin (Jos Verstappen). This Barcelonaduivin was 1st International Ace Pigeon Barcelona between 2007 and 2012, as well as 2nd and 7th Primus Interpares.

This is a great pedigree, and the full version can be found here.

In the meantime, Ace 63 was transferred to the prestigious breeding loft of Batenburg - Van De Merwe (Klaaswaal, NL), where he will be joining several other top prize winners in Barcelona and other classics. Ace 63 was renamed to Jef.

A bright future

With an international and three national victories to their name, in just about two years' time, this combination has clearly become one of a select number of extreme long distance specialists, who can deliver in every classic, and who are among the race favourites time and time again. We reckon a win in Narbonne, Marseille or Agen would definitely not be out of place on their list of achievements either, and it could well be one of the next big objectives of the two brothers. They have already won 3 out of 7 big classics, and that is more than 99% of all fanciers could ever hope to achieve. Needless to say, the team from Wijgmaal can rely on an incredibly talented group of pigeons. Meanwhile, Jef has a bright future in the breeding loft of Batenburg - Van De Merwe in The Netherlands. Perhaps they will provide the team with another round of Jef's in the near future, ready to take the crown in, say, the 2022 edition of Barcelona.