Czech Republic and Finland won the Relay
It was in a festive atmosphere that the World MTB Orienteering Championships WMTBOC 2016 came to the end. In Mealhada, with its Urban Park as the epicenter of all emotions, Finland and the Czech Republic got the Relay titles in the Elite classes.
The city of Mealhada hosted the last final of the World MTB Orienteering Championships WMTBOC 2016. For an always exciting Relay, lined up a total of 90 teams, fighting for the Elite and Junior world titles and also for the European Youth titles.
In the Men Elite class, the first note of emotion was given by the Portuguese team, thanks to another excellent performance of Davide Machado, in the lead at the end of the first leg. The Finnish Jussi Laurila was fastest in the second leg, now with the Czech Republic at close three seconds. Less than a minute to the lead, France followed in the third position. With an amazing performance in the final leg, Krystof Bogar was able to increase the advantage of the Czech Republic over its most direct rivals, setting it at the end in 1:51 on Russia, second placed. The victory of the Czech team, with a time of 2:05:44, means the recover of the world title that escaped them since 2013. The third place went to France, with 2:07:39, while Austria, World Champion in 2015, concluded in the 6th position, just one second behind Lithuania, after an exciting sprint in which Jonas Maiselis and Andreas Waldmann were the protagonists.
Avenging the relative failures of the first days – in which two falls kept her away from the gold -, the Finnish Marika Hara had finally the opportunity to celebrate a world title in these Championships. Austria started better than the other teams, with Michaela Gigon to make the fastest time in the first leg, but soon Finland and Russia took the race's control, starting for the decisive leg with a difference of two seconds from each other, with the slight advantage belonging to Finland. During her course, Marika Hara was able to keep the advantage over her most direct opponent, Svetlana Poverina, concluding the race in 1:59:39 against 2:00:01 from the Russian athlete and thus revalidating the world title, which happens for the fourth time in the last five editions of the World Championships. With Martina Tichovska in the final leg, the Czech Republic finished third, 1:39 after the Finnish team.
Kubinova collects fourth gold medal
In the Junior World MTB Orienteering Championships, the Czech Veronika Kubinova has been highlighted again, after winning everything there was to win. Today, in the Relay race, she received the testimony for the final leg with a 33-second disadvantage on Svetlana Poveriba, Russia, finishing with a lead of 59 seconds after another extraordinary race. With this result, Kubinova equals the French Cédric Beill's achievement that, in 2013, won all the world titles in the Men Junior class. As for the M20 class, it was possible to watch an intense struggle between Finland and the Czech Republic, with the final advantage belonging to the Finns by a margin of 28 seconds. France, who defended here its world title, couldn't do better than the 5th place, although Florian Pinsard have recorded the best time in the last leg, winning three places in the final standings. With this result, Finland reaches a title that was escaping since 2009. The Finns were also highlighted in the European Youth Championships, with Eerik Nurminen beating the Russian Pavel Radyvanyuk in the M17 class by the narrow margin of two seconds. In the W17 class, the victory went to France, with a lead of 3:43 over Russia.
1. Czech Republic (Vojtech Stransky, Vojtech Ludvik, Krystof Bogar) 2:05:44 (+ 00:00)
2. Russia (Valeriy Gluhov, Ruslan Gritsan, Anton Foliforov) 2:07:35 (+ 01:51)
3. France (Yoann Garde, Baptiste Fuchs, Cedric Beill) 2:07:39 (+ 01:55)
4. Finland (Andre Haga, Jussi Laurila, Pekka Niemi) 2:08:26 (+ 02:42)
5. Lithuania (Regimantas Kavaliuskas, Sarunas Dmukauskas, Jonas Maiselis) 2:10:40 (+ 04:56)
6. Austria (Kevin Haselsberger, Bernard Schachinger, Andreas Waldmann) 2:10:41 (+ 04:57)
1. Finland (Ingrid Stengard, Antonia Haga, Marika Hara) 1:59:39 (+ 00:00)
2. Russia (Ekaterina Kolomina, Olga Vinogradova Shipilova, Svetlana Poverina) 2:00:01 (+ 00:22)
3. Czech Republic (Renata Paulickova, Marie Brezinova, Martina Tichovska) 2:01:18 (+ 01:39)
4. Denmark (Cæcilie Christoffersen, Nina Hoffmann, Camila Soegaard) 2:02:02 (+ 02:23)
5. Switzerland (Ursina Jaeggi, Christine Schaffner, Maja Rothweiler) 2:04:41 (+ 05:02)
6. Lithuania (Ramune Arlauskiene, Gabriele Andrasiuniene, Algirda Zaliauskaite) 2:07:48 (+ 08:09)
1. Finland (Sakari Puolakanaho, Petrus Hanhijarvi, Sauli Pietikaïnen) 1:29:29 (+ 00:00)
2. Czech Republic (Jan Hasek, Matyas Ludvik, Martin Kanta) 1:29:57 (+ 00:28)
3. Russia (Yuri Balev, Alexander Kulgaviy, Leonid Tsvetkov) 1:31:41 (+ 02:12)
1. Czech Republic (Vilma Kralova, Andrea Kamenikova, Veronika Kubinova) 1:39:02 (+ 00:00)
2. Russia (Alena Fedoseeva, Alexandra Dimova, Olga Mikhaylova) 1:40:01 (+ 00:59)
3. Lithuania (Viktorija Michnovic, Patricija Babrauskaite, Egle Rubazeviciute) 1:48:11 (+ 09:09)
1. Finland (Juha Lilja, Teemu Kaksonen, Eerik Nurminen) 1:28:32 (+ 00:00)
2. Russia (Valery Rodin, Danil Buzovkin, Pavel Radyvanyuk) 1:28:34 (+ 00:02)
3. Sweden (Joel Ernsysson, Axel Eriksson, Gustav Jonsson) 1:35:42 (+ 07:10)
1. France (Marine Denoual, Lisa Tilly, Lucie Rudkiewicz) 1:29:31 (+ 00:00)
2. Russia (Lidiya Yakushina, Anastasia Cherednikova, Marina Oparina) 1:33:14 (+ 03:43)
3. Sweden (Erica Olsson, Elin Haall, Emmy Albinsson) 1:37:55 (+ 08:24)
Text and photo by Joaquim Margarido