Tove Alexandersson, Sweden and Andrey Lamov, Russia are the new European Champions in Sprint after today’s first race of the Championships, held in perfect conditions in Imatra, Finland.
An impressive 58 seconds was the gap between first and second in the women’s race, where Tove Alexandersson stormed round the course in fine style and showed yet again that she is the strongest skier in the current women’s field. 24th World Ranked Mirka Suutari, clearly buoyed up by a race on home ground, brought the home nation a welcome silver medal, and the bronze went to another Swede, Magdalena Olsson.
In the men’s race it was second-last starter Lamov who took all the right route choices and was strongest, with Finland taking its second silver medal of the day through the efforts of Jyri Uusitalo, who was leading for some time. He was in very close competition with the Russian Sergey Gorlanov throughout the race, with Gorlanov 2 seconds slower at the end and so taking the bronze.
Men’s podium at flower ceremony: Jyri Uusitalo, Andrey Lamov, Sergey Gorlanov
Photos: Malin Fuhr
Top six places in both women’s and men’s races went entirely to Finnish, Russian and Swedish athletes, with the exception of fifth place in the men’s which was taken by the unfancied Estonian Mattis Jaama, 35th in the IOF World Rankings, having the best-ever race of his SkiO career so far.
A number of well-known names, including World Rankings leader Erik Rost, Sweden, came adrift on the technical sections of the course in forest where visibility in places was quite low, and ended well down the results lists.
After a lot of earlier concern about lack of snow, conditions were ideal for today’s race. The sun shone from a cloudless sky on the very well situated biathlon stadium that provided excellent facilities for athletes and spectators alike.
Full results can be seen on www.liveorienteering.com, and more information is on the event website www.skiofinland.fi. Tomorrow the Sprint Relay will be held at the same venue, starting at 12.30 local time; nations can enter up to 3 teams of 2 persons including at least 1 woman, but only the best team per nation appears in the results. The whole race can be watched free of charge on IOF LiveCenter.
Leading results, Sprint
Women, 4.0 km
- Tove Alexandersson SWE 14:37
- Mirka Suutari FIN 15:35
- Magdalena Olsson SWE 15:38
4= Mariya Kechkina RUS & Polina Frolova RUS 15:45
- Marjut Turunen FIN 15:47
Men, 4.2 km
- Andrey Lamov RUS 13:56
- Jyri Uusitalo FIN 14:13
- Sergey Gorlanov RUS 14:15
- Andrey Grigoriev RUS 14:21
- Mattis Jaama EST 14:30
- Janne Hakkinen FIN 14:34