Norway won the men’s relay today, with silver and bronze going to Russia and Finland. The women’s relay was declared void after a mix-up in the issue of maps at the changeover.
The Norwegian team was confident ahead of the race and went into it with great determination. Jørgen Madslien took first leg and came in with a 32-second lead, which was built upon by in-form Øyvind Watterdal, who extended the lead to 1.25. So it was a race between Lars Moholdt and Andrey Lamov on last leg, with excitement quickly created as Lamov was reported just 18 seconds down after less than half of the distance. Norway’s Moholdt kept his nerve, however, and finished to great jubilation from his team-mates, 17 seconds ahead of Lamov.
The Finnish first team was eighth at the first changeover and up to fifth at the second, and a fine final leg from Tero Linnainmaa secured them the bronze medal. Sweden with Erik Rost on last leg never really got to grips with the race as a whole, Rost finishing 2.09 away from a medal position.
The Russian squad demonstrated strength in depth by having their second team finishing in third place.
The first-four finish order in the women’s race was Russia, Sweden, Norway and Finland, but it became clear after protests that the maps had been issued wrongly and some teams had not completed the correct course-splitting combinations. After some delay, it was decided that there was no alternative but to void the race.
Winners of the Junior World and European Youth Relays were:
JWSOC: Men, Russia; women, Finland
EYSOC: Men and women, both Finland
So ends an eventful European Championships, where the Bulgarian organisers worked very hard and generally successfully in coping with often adverse conditions to create what was overall a high-quality competition.
The third and final round of the SkiO World Cup is in the USA in early March.
- Norway 1 (Jørgen Madslien, Øyvind Watterdal, Lars Moholdt) 1:31:18
- Russia 1 (Vladislav Kiselev, Eduard Khrennikov, Andrey lamov) 1:31:35
- Finland 1 (Tuomas Kotro, Misa Tuomala, Tero Linnainmaa) 1:34:05
- Sweden 1 1:36:14
- Czech Republic 1:41:58
- Switzerland 1:45:04