Posted on | May 5, 2012 | Category: News
Samuel Pökälä, Finland, had the race of his life today. In his third season in elite MTB orienteering, IOF World Ranked number 33 before today, he was the fastest throughout the first World Cup race of this year and won by 2 minutes 22.5 seconds over World Champion Samuli Saarela. Finland had a double triumph with Marika Hara winning the women’s race.
Pökälä’s best result before today was 6th place in World Cup race 5 in Sweden last June. In last year’s World Championships he was placed 16th at Long distance, 15 minutes down on Saarela. So some hard winter training, which has included some ski orienteering, has clearly paid dividends.
The men’s race, held in the Prague region of the Czech Republic, was over 38.3 km with the winner taking just over 100 minutes to complete the course. Jiří Hradil was the leading home competitor in third place, 2.26 down on Pökälä, and his compatriot František Bogar was 3.2 seconds slower in 4th place.
Marika Hara, 4th in the IOF World Rankings, won the 25 km women’s race today by 1 minute 59.7 seconds over Russia’s Ksenia Chernykh. Third was Cecilia Thomasson, Sweden, and the Swiss riders Maja Rothweiler and Christine Schaffner took the next two places. Current World Rankings leader Ingrid Stengård, Finland, finished 7th after holding a clear lead at the 9 km and 18.5 km marks.
The second race in this Round is tomorrow morning over Middle distance at the same venue.
1. Marika Hara FIN 1:17:37,3
2. Ksenia Chernykh RUS 1:19:37,1
3. Cecilia Thomasson SWE 1:20:09,4
4. Maja Rothweiler SUI 1:20:13,6
5. Christine Schaffner SUI 1:20:37,9
6. Laura Scaravonati ITA 1:20:47,9
1. Samuel Pökälä FIN 1:40:02,1
2. Samuli Saarela FIN 1:42:24,6
3. Jiří Hradil CZE 1:42:28,1
4. František Bogar CZE 1:42:31,3
5. Luca Dallaville ITA 1:43:12,1
6. Ruslan Gritsan RUS 1:43:51,3