Denmark and Finland took the women’s and men’s titles respectively in the final races of the World MTBO Championships, the Relays. The outcome of both races was in doubt until shortly before the finish, with the lead changing several times.
In the women’s race, Finland led by 29 seconds after the first leg, with Denmark in fifth place. On the second leg, the Dane Nikoline Splittorff raced 54 seconds faster than any other rider to bring her team up into second place, just 11 seconds down on Finland. So it was a final-leg race between Finland’s Marika Hara and Denmark’s Camilla Søgaard, both individual gold medallists; Hara held on to the lead for the first 9 km of the 11.5 km course, then Søgaard rode more smoothly through a series of forkings in tricky terrain and was able to get away, winning finally by 1.38.
Neutral team 2 from Russia took the bronze medals. Sweden and Finland 2 were disqualified for mis-punching on the first leg.
In the men’s race, Anton Foliforov (neutral athlete) was clearly determined to overcome the disappointment of having to retire in yesterday’s Long race, and led the field at the first change-over, where Finland were fourth. But on leg 2, Pekka Niemi for Finland got the better of Valeriy Glukhov (neutral) and established a 31-second lead. Grigory Medvedev on last leg did his best to try to catch Samuel Pökälä and had him in sight, but then lost time finding the correct 18th control and ended 3.37 down. Switzerland rode a very steady race and took the bronze medals. Sweden and the Czech Republic were both disqualified for mispunching on the second leg.
The Relay terrain was technically tricky and with controls close to each other at the forkings. There was a real maze of small paths in places, uneven because of protruding tree roots, as well as wider trails. The arena was well laid out on a sports field, giving long views of the riders for the livestream pictures, which were backed up by terrain and mobile cameras.
The MTBO elite meet again from 7th to 10th October in Portugal for the European Championships and final round of the CX80 World Cup.
Leading results, WMTBOC Relay
- Denmark (Cæcilie Christoffersen, Nikoline Splittorff, Camilla Søgaard) 1:48:54
- Finland (Mervi Pesu, Ingrid Stengard, Marika Hara) + 1.38
- Neu 2 (Anastasiya Bolshova, Anastasia Trifilenkova, Uliana Sulcholovskaia) + 7.02
- Lithuania, 5. Czech Republic, 6. Estonia
- Finland (Andre Haga, Pekka Niemi, Samuel Pökälä) 1:57:08
- Neutral (Anton Foliforov, Valeriy Glukhov, Grigory Medvedev) + 3.37
- Switzerland (Adrian Jaeggi, Silas Hotz, Simon Braendli) + 9.15
- France, 5. Lithuania, 6. Denmark
Junior wins for Denmark and Russia
The junior races featured a huge win for Denmark’s men, by almost 8 minutes over Russia, with Finland third. Russia led after the first leg, but Mikkel Brustedt Nørgaard and Morten Jørgensen for Denmark continued the fine form they have shown all week and dominated the rest of the race.
The women’s race was essentially a tussle between Finland and Russia, with the lead changing several times. It was Russia that came out on top at the end, with Finland taking silver and the Czech Republic bronze.
- Russia (Ekaterina Landgraf, Daria Toporova, Alena Aksenova) 1:38:21
- Finland (Silja YliHietanen, Vilma Pesu, Kaarina Nurminen) + 1.59
- Czech Republic (Zuzana Streglova, Sofie Stranska, Lucie Nedomlelova) + 13.22
- Denmark (Noah Tristan Hoffmann, Mikkel Brunstedt Nørgaard, Morten Jørgensen) 1:35:22
- Russia (Vladimir Kuznetsov, Leonid Kolomnin, Yaroslav Shvedov) + 7.45
- Finland (Tatu Aaltonen, Simo Klemettinen, Antti Rissanen) + 14.21
Interview with the winners: