A dramatic women’s Relay in Khanty Mansiysk ended in victory by 2 seconds for Sweden over Russia, at the end of a race where the lead changed hands several times. The men’s Relay resulted in a comfortable victory for the very strong Russian team, with Finland taking the silver medals.
Tatyana Oborina and Linda Lindkvist were the first-leg athletes for Russia and Sweden respectively, and it was Oborina first to the changeover with a lead of 7 seconds. Then on leg 2 the least experienced member of the Swedish team, Isabel Salen, proved stronger than the Russian Kseniia Terekhova, taking the lead after the arena passage and handing over to Magdalena Olsson 17 seconds ahead. Olsson led Marina Vyatkina by 1.39 at the first TV control, but this lead was down to 6 seconds at the arena passage. The two were more or less together after that, and the race wound up to a thrilling sprint finish, just won by Olsson.
Bronze medallists were Finland. Tuuli Suutari, IOF world-ranked number 26, did really well on first leg to come to the changeover in fifth spot, then Majut Turunen and Salla Koskela both skied solid races to secure fourth place in the race (behind 2 Russian teams) and the bronze medals.
First two teams to finish in the men’s Relay were both Russian, but with 4.58 between them at the end. Russia 1 (Vladislav Kiselev, Sergey Gorlanov, Andrey Lamov) led throughout. For Gorlanov in particular this has been an unforgettable championships: 4 gold medals and 1 silver! Finland started well courtesy of a fine race by Ville Petteri Saarela, world-ranked number 18, who came in third, 3.10 down on the lead. Tero Linnainmaa and Tuomas Kotro ensured that Finland remained well ahead of Sweden, but were 6.45 down on Russia 1 at the finish.
Sweden’s Linus Rapp was tenth to the first changeover. The very experienced Erik Rost took over and pulled Sweden up to fifth place in the race, and final-leg athlete Markus Lundholm gained one more place, securing bronze for Sweden.
So ends a well-organised European Championships in the snows of central Russia.
Gold: Sweden (Linda Lindkvist, Isabel Salen, Magdalena Olsson) 1:43:34
Silver: Russia (Tatyana Oborina, Kseniia Terekhova, Marina Vyatkina) 1:43:36
Bronze: Finland (Tuuli Suutari, Marjut Turunen, Salla Koskela) 1:49:12
Gold: Russia (Vladislav Kiselev, Sergey Gorlanov, Andrey Lamov) 1:39:01
Silver: Finland (Ville Petteri Saarela, Tero Linnainmaa, Tuomas Kotro) 1:45:46
Bronze: Sweden (Linus Rapp, Erik Rost, Markus Lundholm) 1:46:56