Amazing women’s relay ends in sprint victory for Finland

Posted on | August 20, 2011 | Category: News

Finland won the women’s relay in a sprint finish by 1 second over the Czech Republic, with Sweden close behind in bronze medal position, in a quite amazing race in the hot sunshine at Le Grand Revard, France today.

Almost all the women runners in today’s relay found the terrain very hard technically, and thus the lead changed many times as the race progressed. On the first leg it was the Czech Republic (Martina Zverinova) and Finland (Anni-Maija Fincke) in the lead at the end, with a 27 second gap down to Norway. Lithuania, Switzerland and New Zealand were within a minute of the lead, and Sweden passed through 1.08 down.

On the 2nd leg both Czech Republic and Finland made a big mistake just before the mid-leg arena passage, and a group of 5 nations came through to take the lead. At the changeover Ukraine (Nadiya Volynska) just led from Denmark (Signe Søes) and Norway (Heidi Østlid Bagstevold), with Sweden 20 seconds and Finland 30 seconds down. Following Finland were Switzerland, Czech Republic, Estonia and Lithuania.

Minna Kauppi, Finland and Maja Alm, Denmark made a big mistake early on in the longer last leg which cost them about 4 minutes. Marianne Andersen, Norway was running well at this stage. After the arena passage, Czech Republic (Dana Brozkova) and Sweden (Annika Billstam) were together and looked set to be the top 2 in the finish. But the intense pressure told on everyone, in the end leading to the three medal-position teams being announced together at the pre-warning. Minna Kauppi was able to keep just ahead on the long run-in to take victory for Finland.

Leading results

1) Finland (Anni-Maija Fincke, Merja Rantanen, Minna Kauppi) 1:42:43
2) Czech Republic (Martina Zverinova, Eva Jurenikova, Dana Brozkova) 1:42:43
3) Sweden (Helena Jansson, Tove Alexandersson, Annika Billstam) 1:42:44
4) Norway (Mari Fasting, Heidi Østlid Bagstevold, Marianne Andersen) 1:43:38
5) Denmark (Ida Bobach, Signe Søes, Maja Alm) 1:43:45
6) Estonia (Grete Gutmann, Liis Johanson, Annika Rihma) 1:43:59

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