The 2nd World MTB Orienteering Championships: Gold Medals to Austria and Australia

Posted on | October 22, 2004 | Category: News

The spell of perfect weather for the 2nd World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia continued with almost cloudless skies and temperatures in the mid 20s Celsius. This made for very fast, exciting racing in the middle distance final staged on the outskirts of Castlemaine with victory going to two redheads, Michaela Gigon of Austria and Adrian Jackson of Australia.

Although one of the fancies for a medal, Gigon’s win was a surprise to everyone as she had managed to escape notice at both radio controls. Her win was not obvious until her time flashed up on the commentator’s screen after she crossed the line. Until she crossed the line, all the attention was on the dead-heaters, Belinda Allison, Australia and Laure Coupat, France.

Allison was a relatively earlier starter who was fastest through the first radio control and her time of 53 min 22 sec withstood lots of challenges. Coupat started 26 minutes later and was 19 seconds slower through the first radio control, but she managed to pick up seconds through the later stages to fly through the light beam at precisely 53 min 22 sec.

Then the interest was on Emily Viner and the long distance gold medallist Anke Dannowski. Viner came through nearly two minutes behind Allison and Coupat. Meanwhile the stealthy Gigon was fastest on the long 10th leg and caught and passed Dannowski. While all eyes were on Dannowski, Gigon crossed the line 18 seconds ahead of Dannowski to record the best time of 53 min 8 sec for the 14.9 km course. The 27 year old Viennese rider who was forced by injury to give up foot orienteering had joined Lucie Boehm as Austria’s only orienteering gold medallists. She was nursing a badly grazed knee from a fall on the course, but she dismissed it as nothing.

The men’s race was similar in that there were still 45 riders to finish the 20.1 km course when Adrian Jackson crossed the finishing line in a time of 51 min 47 sec. Like Allison, Jackson was fastest through the first radio control. The difference was that he never lost the lead, recording the fastest time on a number of legs. He had a long wait to see if he would retain the gold medal position, as his main threats Alain Berger and Mika Tervala did not start until around 80 minutes after him. Both went through the first radio control slower than Jackson and never picked up time on him, with Berger finishing in 52 min 33 sec to claim the silver medal, a minute ahead of Russia’s Viktor Korchagin, another late starter. Berger was another to fall during the race, when a branch caught his handlebars and brought him down, smashing his map board in the process. He had to ride much of the race with his map in his left hand.

21 year-old Jackson’s win is the first by an Australian in over 30 years participation in orienteering World Championships. – I will probably concentrate on mountain bike orienteering for the next couple of years, but I would still like to go to the World Championships in foot orienteering, he said when asked what his priorities in the future will be.

The Championships will finish with the relays in Maryborough on Saturday.

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