ESOC Day 3: Mass Start golds to Estonia and Norway

A thrilling sprint finish in the men’s Mass Start race ended with Jørgen Baklid, Norway finishing a hairsbreadth in front of Finland’s Aapo Viippola. Daisy Kudre Schnyder, Estonia, won her third gold medal of the week with a convincing victory by 1.32.

Still conditions with light cloud greeted the athletes in Latvia today, and as usual the mass starts were an exciting spectacle – but on this occasion virtually bereft of Swedish colours; the Swedish camp has been hard hit by a virulent stomach bug that forced all the seniors bar one – Gustav Johnsson – to withdraw from today’s race. And Sweden’s big star Linda Lindqvist is still not recovered from the influenza that has affected her since the championships started.

Daisy Kudre Schnyder led throughout in the women’s race of three laps, 13.9 km and 410 m of climb in total, with a map exchange after each lap. Her lead was 0.38 after lap one and 1.23 after lap 2, with Anna Ulvensøen, Norway the leading chaser throughout. Schnyder completed the course strongly and without significant error, finishing with a comfortable lead just as in the Sprint and Middle races. Bronze medallist was Maria Hoskari, Finland, 3.54 down on Schnyder. It was a good day for the Hoskari family, with Sanni Hoskari winning W17 by 8 seconds.

Photos: Agris Veckalniņš /ESOC 2023

After experiencing – for him – a disappointing first two days, it seemed that Jørgen Baklid was on the way to an easy victory at the end of the second leg where he led by 3.29 with Nicola Mueller, Switzerland not far behind. But there were big changes on the final leg, with Aapo Viippola right on Baklid’s heels from 3 km out and Mueller down to third. Baklid led the charge as they came through the last control and despite frantic skiing down the run-in and a dive for the finish line, Viippola was just unable to get ahead. Mueller won his first ESOC medal, 1.44 down. The men’s course, again 3 laps, covered 18.0 km with 510 m climb.

In M17 there was again a sprint finish, just won by home athlete Ritvars Lepeskins, his third gold of the week. In the Junior classes, Lotte Line Ekström, Finland (by 1.19) and Teodor Mo Hjelseth, Norway (by 0.12, his second gold) were the winners.

Today’s was the longest race in the championships and the last individual race. Tomorrow it is Relay day, with Open class action starting at 11.15 (women) and 12.10 (men), local time.

Photos: Agris Veckalniņš

Mass Start – leading results


  1. Daisy Kudre Schnyder EST 1:07:30
  2. Anna UIvensøen NOR +1.32
  3. Maria Hoskari FIN +3.54
  4. Eliane Deininger SUI +4.05
  5. Nina Kama FIN +5.59
  6. Idunn Strand NOR +6.23


  1. Jørgen Baklid NOR 1:14:04
  2. Aapo Viippola FIN +0.01
  3.  Nicola Mueller SUI +1.44
  4. Niklas Ekström FIN +2.18
  5. Eevert Toivonen FIN +2.24
  6. Henrik Fredriksen Aas NOR +2.32W20: 1. Lotte Line Ekström FIN by 1.19M20: 1. Teodor Mo Hjelseth NOR by 0.12

    W17: Sanni Hoskari FIN by 0.08

    M17: Ritvars Lepeskins LAT by 0.01