WMTBOC: Middle Distance Golds for Foliforova and Pökälä

Svetlana Foliforova, neutral athlete from Russia, and home athlete Samuel Pökälä both won their second gold medals of the championships today in the Middle Distance race, by margins of 28 and 47 seconds respectively.

The terrain was largely quite flat open pine forest with good tracks in many sections together with narrower dusty paths, and times were fast; Pökälä completed his 19 km course in 48.22, an average speed of more than 23 km per hour. There were tricky path sections too, and occasional short steep ups and downs together with the opportunity for short cuts through the terrain in places. Partly because of the fast speed of the race, some significant mistakes were made by quite a few competitors.

Samuel Pökälä on his way to victory

Live coverage included mobile camera crew behind the riders, and combined with the highly accurate GPS coverage it was possible to match the pictures with the map on many sections. And GPS synchronization was used to good effect to compare the performance of the leading athletes as the race progressed.

Pökälä, winner of the Mass Start race two days ago, had a long wait in the finish before he was sure of gold; silver medallist for the second day running, Simon Braendli, Switzerland was the last starter and was still only 17 seconds down after 15 km. Pökälä, 30, is a former road race specialist and was national champion four times between 2013 and 2016.

Svetlana Foliforova in open pine forest in the Middle Distance race          Photos: Donatas Lazauskas

Bronze medallist was the Czech rider Krystof Bogar, Sprint gold medallist yesterday; he made an early mistake to be 19th, 1.16 down after 5.2 km, but had a largely error-free ride after that. Anton Foliforov was third at the 5.2 km point, but was slower than Bogar in the later stages and finished fourth.

In the women’s race the neutral athlete Olga ShipolovaVinogradova had a really good start, fastest to the 5 km mark by 1.12, but then fell back to be 6th at the second intermediate timing point, 1.35 down. Foliforova was 4th early on but established a lead of 12 seconds after 12.9 km, with Martina Tichovska, Czech Republic second and Marika Hara, Finland third, the same order as at the finish.

Junior Championships: third gold for Nurminen, second for Jørgensen

Kaarina Nurminen, Finland again stormed round her course to win today by 1.51, her third gold medal in three days. In the men’s race, Danish athletes Morten Jørgensen and Mikkel Brunstedt Nørgaard swopped places compared to the Sprint, making it a second gold medal for Jørgensen after his first-day Mass Start win. This time the margin was 30 seconds. Estonia and Poland won their first medals of the championships: Mari Linnus EST won silver in the women’s race and Bartosz Niebielski POL was bronze medallist in the men’s.

Tuesday is a well-earned rest day, and competition continues on Wednesday with the last of the individual competitions, the Long Distance, between 10.00 and 16.00 local time. There will again be on-line streaming on this website: well worth watching!

Leading results, Middle Distance

Women, 17.37 km

  1. Svetlana Filiforova Neu 52:32
  2. Martina Tichovska CZE 53:00
  3. Marika Hara FIN 53:14
  4. Camilla Søgaard DEN 54:25
  5. Marina Reiner AUT 54:30
  6. Olga ShipolovaVinogradova Neu 54:32

Men, 19.01 km

  1. Samuel Pökälä FIN 48:22
  2. Simon Braendli SUI 49:09
  3. Krystof Bogar CZE 49:49
  4. Anton Foliforov Neu 50:01
  5. Valeriy Glukhov Neu 50:35
  6. Jiri Hradil CZE 50:41

Junior Championships

Women, 12.8 km

  1. Kaarina Nurminen FIN 40:38
  2. Mari Linnus EST 42:29
  3. Alena Aksenova RUS 42:57
  4. Ekaterina Landgraf RUS 43:01
  5. Lilou Pauly FRA 43:04
  6. Gertrud Riis Madsen DEN 43:33

Men, 15.6 km

  1. Morten Jørgensen DEN 43:01
  2. Mikkel Brunstedt Nørgaard DEN 43:31
  3. Bartosz Niebielski POL 43:55
  4. Noah Rieder SUI 45:07
  5. Vladimir Kuznetsov RUS 45:18
  6. Leonid Kolomnin RUS 45:54

Interview with  the winners: