The two main races from the European marathon calendar were not an easy task for our pigeons. Both races were held in hard circumstances with tropical temperatures and a head wind on almost all the flying line. People mostly talked about Barcelona as no pigeon has been clocked before 14h from the traditionnal second flying day and only 186 pigeons from the 6.178 belgian birds came home on that day. So, when people heard that the Depasse-Lardenoye combination clocked no less than 5 pigeons on that second day, we quickly understood that something special was happening. The final result is astonishing in such circumstances with no less than 20 prizes from 29 entered !
31/07 Barcelona nat (1.060 km) - 6.178 p.:
31-82-96-148-157-297-360-444-446-489-597-... (20/29 per 4 with 11x per 10)
A rarely seen performance in such a difficult edition with an important prize percentage. However, people often tend to forget that the combination Depasse-Lardenoye is probably the N°1 reference on this so particular race. Indeed, Stéphane & Jo only missed the national top 100 three times since 2005. Nobody has done better in that race!
When you take a look at these pedigrees, you can notice that they are all bred from proven pigeons on Barcelona. No pigeon who won a head prize on Barcelona has left the accommodations of the combination. That's maybe one of the reasons of this successful story.
You may have understood that the Depasse-Lardenoye pigeons are made for the tough jobs. We received another proof with the results booked on the week who followed Barcelona with the races of Perpignan and Aurillac. While the entire Europe was stuck under a wave of high temperatures, the national calendar had to go on and both races were held once again in extreme flying circumstances. Aurillac will only end on the second day while the first pigeons clocked on Perpignan came back to their loft just before 09h in the morning of the second flying day. For our friends, it was once again a weekend that will left a mark on the memory:
08/08 Aurillac nat (642 km) - 2.849 vx:
2-29-74-137-148-153-246-... (10/16 per 4 with 7x per 10)
08/08 Aurillac nat (642 km) - 3.004 yls:
15-18-... (3/5 per 4 with 2x per 100)
08/08 Perpignan nat (818 km) - 2.643 p.:
9-13-16-21-24-114-232-... (12/20 per 4 with 7x per 10)
It was mainly the 2 years old pigeons who were entered on Perpignan while the team who flew Aurillac allowed Stéphane and Jo to shine on a race while nobody was expecting them with no less than 5 prizes in the national top 100 and a fantastic second national place, a performance who became possible for the Depasse-Lardenoye pigeons because of the difficulty of the race. Both performances booked by this generation showed everybody that the best was yet to come...
To win and let the others win
The pigeons from the Depasse-Lardenoye combination are appreciated by several lofts and the list of references is becoming longer years after years, mostly when the flying conditions are hard. It was already the case last year during the tropical weekend of the 28th & 29th of June 2019 and it was confirmed once again in august 2020. Indeed, the national winner 2019 of Montélimar against 4.552 pigeons booked by the Regnier family was a 25% Depasse (only six pigeons reached an average sprint above 1.000 m/min) while Hugo Casaert won the 5th national Agen against 4.644 yearlings with a direct Depasse-Lardenoye pigeon. During the 2020 season, this list lengthened a little bit more, once again in tough flying conditions:
1st Aurillac national 2.849 p. - the great-grand-father is an original Depasse (Joel Alexandre)
1st Agen ZLU 5.578 p. - bred by Depasse-Lardenoye (Marc Gielen)
2nd Barcelona national 6.178 p. - 100% Depasse-Lardenoye (Patrick L'hoest)
9th Agen ZLU 5.578 p. - bred by Depasse-Lardenoye (Marc Gielen)
13th Barcelona national 6.178 p. - 50% Depasse-Lardenoye (Bastogne-Henry)
32th Perpignan national 2.643 p. - direct Depasse-Lardenoye (Hugo Casaert)
54th Narbonne national P-B - 50% Depasse-Lardenoye (Marc Gielen)
61th Perpignan national P-B - 50% Depasse-Lardenoye (Marc Gielen)
78th Barcelona national 6.178 p. - 50% Depasse-Lardenoye (Bastogne-Henry)
With such references and those astonishing results, the Depasse-Lardenoye combination showed once again that they were among the best from the European marathon lofts. Being so consistent on a so demanding race such as Barcelona, while everybody is expecting you to be there, is not a small feat. We are talking here about one of the strongest strain of pigeons for this kind of races. Maybe that one day, a pigeon from the loft will allow them to reach their ultimate goal, the same than all afficionados of Barcelona are dreaming about: winning the international victory. We hope for them that this pigeon is already born and alive and kicking in their loft... Congratulations.