WOC Women’s Relay: Russia win after many lead changes

Posted on | August 27, 2016 | Category: WOC news

Natalia Gemperle brought Russia first to the finish in an exciting women’s race in which many mistakes were made. Maja Alm came up from fifth to second place for Denmark, and Finland finished with the bronze medals. This is Russia’s first-ever women’s relay gold.

Heidi Bagstevold for Norway made the early running, but at the first changeover four teams – Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Russia – were together at the front with Latvia just 19 seconds down and Finland 41 seconds. Denmark at this point was in 7th place.

On the second leg Finland, Norway and Russia kept together on the first half, but Mari Fasting made a mistake at control 7, so that at the arena passage Finland and Russia were together and Norway 1.16 down. This situation continued to the changeover, where the gap between the two leading teams and Norway had grown to 1.38. Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden came in quite close to each other, around 2½ minutes down.

Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg (Norway) lost time at control 1 and it was already clear that Maja Alm was not going to settle for fifth place. Natalia Gemperle for Russia lost time at control 3, leaving Finland (Merja Rantanen) with a clear lead at that stage. Sweden (Tove Alexandersson) and Switzerland (Judith Wyder) also made mistakes here. Russia then caught Finland again and the two came through the arena in close contact, with Maja Alm just over a minute behind. A small error at control 11 by Rantanen gave Gemperle a 15-second lead, and from then on it was always going to be Russian gold.

Rantanen and Alm took quite different routes to the penultimate control, and some hesitation by Rantanen and high speed from Alm on a good path led to Alm getting into silver medal position before the last control.

Leading results

  1. Russia (Anastasia Rudnaya, Svetlana Mironova, Natalia Gemperle) 108:21
  2. Denmark (Signe Klinting, Ida Bobach, Maja Alm) 108:53
  3. Finland (Sari Anttonen, Marika Teini, Merja Rantinen) 109:41
  4. Switzerland 110:56
  5. Sweden 111:13
  6. Norway 113:42
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