Russia take first European Championship golds

Posted on | May 21, 2016 | Category: Arena, News

Photo: Donatas Lazauskas/Sportfoto.lt

In an exciting Sprint Relay in which the lead changed several times, it was a triumph for the Russian team, which put in the steadiest performance overall and won by 14 seconds. World champion nation Denmark took silver, and Switzerland bronze. Both Norway and Sweden were disqualified.

Judith Wyder started strongly for Switzerland on the first leg of the race, staged in good weather conditions in the small town of Bruntál in the north-eastern part of the Czech Republic. Natalia Vinogradova, Russia was close behind, however, and took a small lead in the later part of the leg, handing over 3 seconds in front. Finland and Denmark were together in fourth place and the home team in sixth. Norway was disqualified on this leg.

Gustav Bergman ran an impressive second leg for Sweden, picking up many places, but it was Topi Raitanen for Finland who appeared first at the second changeover, just 4 seconds ahead of Sweden. Finland was 7 seconds ahead of Switzerland and 9 seconds ahead of Russia. Denmark was also going well until Tue Lassen made a 30-second mistake leaving control 16.

The third leg was dominated by Jonas Leandersson, Sweden who came to the changeover 20 seconds ahead of Russia and 29 seconds ahead of Switzerland, with Czech Republic, Denmark and Finland in the subsequent positions. Søren Bobach handed over to Maja Alm for Denmark 1.17 down, but it was immediately clear that Maja did not see this as an unsurmountable obstacle, and after very few controls she had caught up with the leaders.

Maja Alm then began to pull away from the others but took a slower route choice on one leg, so that at the arena passage she led Galina Vinogradova, running last leg for Russia, by just 4 seconds. Helena Jansson had missed a control earlier on the leg and was disqualified, so third place at this point was held by Switzerland, 24 seconds down. But then Maja Alm made a mistake at exactly the same place that Tue Lassen had earlier, leaving control 16 in the direction of 18 instead of 17, and this allowed the Russian girl to get ahead by an uncatchable margin.

All results can be viewed on the European Championships website, www.eoc2016.cz.

Tomorrow the individual Sprint Qualification heats are in the morning, and the Finals start at 1600.

Leading positions 

  1. Russia (Natalia Vinogradova, Gleb Tikhonov, Andrey Khramov, Galina Vinogradova)  63:01
  2. Denmark (Cecilie Klysner, Tue Lassen, Søren Bobach, Maja Alm)  63:15
  3. Switzerland (Judith Wyder, Andreas Kyburz, Martin Hubmann, Rahel Friederich)  63:28
  4. Finland  64:15
  5. Czech Republic  64:45
  6. France  65:28
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