European MTBO Championships: big win for Dane Nikoline Splittorff

Silver in Middle, now gold in Mass Start with a win by a whole 6 minutes! The Danish rider Nikoline Splittorff showed great strength and technical expertise in very warm conditions today. The men’s race ended with an exciting sprint for the line, just won by Samuel Pokala, Finland from home rider Davide Machado.

This race in the mountains in southern Portugal had many loops, and included an arena passage with a map change. The terrain was hilly with big spurs and reentrants and a random array of paths and tracks, and great care was needed to choose optimum route choices.

Women’s Mass Start – Photo: Lea Hnilica

Yesterday’s winner Camilla Søgaard (Denmark) led early on, but crucially lost some 13 minutes on one loop, an amount of time she couldn’t recover and she ended ninth. Silver medallist today was the Lithuanian rider Gabriele Andrasiuniene, and bronze went to Cecilia Thomasson, Sweden who finished 9.15 down. For 23 years old Splittorff this is her fourth European or World Championship gold, all the others being at Middle distance.

Men’s Mass Start – Photo: Lea Hnilica

Davide Machado led for a large proportion of the race and came to the map change in the lead by 19 seconds. It was only in the very final stages that he was caught by IOF World Rankings leader Pokala, and at the end he had to settle for silver, 1 second behind Pokala. There was then a gap of just over a minute until the bronze medallist finished – Vojtech Ludvik, Czechia. He was also involved in a sprint finish, with André Haga, Finland just missing out on a medal. Yesterday’s winner Vojtech Stransky CZE finished fifth.

Tomorrow will be a complete contrast in conditions and necessary technique – the Sprint, with courses of 7.6 km for the women and 8.9 km for the men, on a 1:5000 map compared to today’s 1:15000. The action starts at 9.30 local time (GMT + 1) and can be followed (including GPS tracking) on IOF LIVE.

Leading results, Mass Start (Long distance)

Women: 23.4 km, 650 m climb

  1. Nikoline Splittorff DEN 79:58
  2. Gabriele Andrasiuniene LTU 85:58
  3. Cecilia Thomasson SWE 89:13
  4. Laurane Meyers FRA 89:18
  5. Marie Kamarytova CZE 90:00
  6. Gabriella Gustafsson SWE 91:01

Men: 30.4 km, 825 m climb

  1. Samuel Pokala FIN 84:42
  2. Davide Machado POR 84:43
  3. Vojtech Ludvik CZE 85:50
  4. André Haga FIN 85:52
  5. Vojtech Stransky CZE 87:28
  6. Ignas Ambrazas LTU 87:30

W20 gold: Gertrud Riis Madsen DEN by 0.50

M20 gold: Augustin Leclère FRA by 3.57

W17 gold: Anne Caroline Sipos FRA by 2.12

M17 gold: Eemil Koskinen FIN by 1.21

For both Augustin Leclère and Anne Caroline Sipos, this was their second gold medal in two days.