Women’s title: definitely Emily!

Posted on | October 1, 2016 | Category: News

Lauri Malroos and Emily Benham won the Long Distance stage that opened the final round of the 2016 MTB Orienteering World Cup. With this result Emily Benham removes any doubts about the overall winner, reaching the title for the third year in a row.

“Physically, one of the toughest races ever in the World Cup.” “Highly technical, demanding full focus from start to finish.” “Absolutely fun.” The reactions of the athletes couldn’t be more laudatory as their races were ending. The final round of the MTB Orienteering World Cup’s first stage was what they had already expected: demanding, demanding, demanding… and fun. The best Orienteering on wheels was in the late morning and afternoon in Kleboniškis, with 63 Men and 44 Women Elite bikers taking the challenge of great courses. For great achievements!

In the Men’s Elite class, everything was resolved in a few minutes. Even knowing that the best runners were still in the forest, the Dane Rasmus Folino Nielsen was a surprising leader for almost one hour. The Czech Vojtech Stransky was the first to get close to the 135-minute barrier, but his leadership lasted for just 5 seconds (!) when Ruslan Gritsan, Russia, scored a new best time with 2:12:19. The final best time would be established a few minutes later by the Estonian Lauri Malsroos, who used 2:09:09 to complete the 32.025 km course. And this was an unexpected victory, at least to Malsroos: “No, I didn’t expect to win. I was expecting a really technically demanding course, which I could confirm when I first saw the map.” Then, time for action under a particular strategy: “The main thing was to keep orienteering smoothly and not make any big mistakes. This was the key to winning today.” Rating the course, Malsroos is quite objective: “It was an interesting race. The middle part was a little bit boring, in general quite easy, but the first couple of controls and especially the last ten controls were really fun, with a lot of small tracks and demanding intense map reading. I was able to avoid mistakes here and could therefore get the win.” The Estonian is now, more than ever, in the fight for the World Cup’s top places: “I feel good and really motivated for the next stages.”

In the Women’s Elite, the British rider Emily Benham had an amazing race from start to finish, catching her closest opponent, the French rider Gaelle Barlet, already in the first half of the race. This was one of the most important moments of today’s Long Distance, opening to Benham the winning doors, both in the stage and in the World Cup overall. “I’m incredibly satisfied with my race today. I could catch Gaelle Barlet already at the ninth control and I knew that, as long as we stayed together, the overall World Cup title this year would be mine. I took some time smiling and celebrating the moment, and then time to refocus on the map and carry on with the race trying to win,” said the British athlete at the end. And so it was. Emily finished first with the time of 2:00:50, against 2:04:04 and 2:04:31 from Svetlana Poverina, Russia and Barlet, second and third respectively. Is getting two more victories in the “basket” Emily’s goal for the next races? She answers: “Yes, it would be very nice to win the next two races, but the results are a reflection of the performances and the skills you need to get there. So, I have to go home now, and refocus on tomorrow’s race and trying to win again.”

Results

Men Elite

  1. Lauri Malsroos (Estonia) 2:09:09 (+ 00:00)
  2. Ruslan Gritsan (Russia) 2:12:19 (+ 03:10)
  3. Krystof Bogar (Czech Republic) 2:14:13 (+ 05:04)
  4. Vojtech Stransky (Czech Republic) 2:15:14 (+ 06:05)
  5. Baptiste Fuchs (France) 2:15:17 (+ 06:08)
  6. Grigory Medvedev (Russia) 2:15:17 (+ 06:08)

Women Elite

  1. Emily Benham (Great Britain) 2:00:50 (+ 00:00)
  2. Svetlana Poverina (Russia) 2:04:06 (+ 03:16)
  3. Gaelle Barlet (France) 2:04:31 (+ 03:41)
  4. Antonia Haga (Finland) 2:06:36 (+ 05:46)
  5. Ursina Jaeggi (Switzerland) 2:07:41 (+ 06:51)
  6. Ruska Saarela (Finland) 2:08:36 (+ 07:46)

Now for the Middle Distance race at Panemuné, on the south bank of Nemunas River. The start will be at 10:00. Everything can be followed at http://www.mtbo.lt/.

 

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