World MTBO Championships: no clear favourites

Posted on | August 17, 2017 | Category: Arena, News

 

The race for medals is very open at this year’s Championships, with no rider having any extended supremacy in this season so far. Vilnius, capital city of Lithuania, hosts the combined Senior and Junior Championships, with 5 races scheduled for the period 21-26 August.

So who can we look for amongst the medal winners? The Czech team is looking very strong this year, their leading riders being Martina Tichovska and Krystof Bogar. Tichovska leads the World Cup standings and Bogar is second, eight points down on the Frenchman Baptiste Fuchs. The Czech Republic teams won both women’s and men’s Relays, and the Sprint Relay, at the recent European Championships in France and can be expected to score highly again.

Emily Benham, Great Britain, Gaelle Barlet from France and Olga Shipilova-Vinogradova, Russia are likely to be Tichovska’s closest challengers for top positions, whilst Estonian Lauri Malsroos, the Finn Jussi Laurila, Frenchman Cedric Beill and the Dane Rasmus Søgaard all showed medal-winning form in France, with Fuchs winning no higher than a bronze. And will the Russian rider Anton Foliforov be able to recapture the blistering form he showed last year, when he was clearly the outstanding athlete?

 

Olga Shipilova-Vinogradova, Russia – European Champion in Long Distance

 

There’s no doubt that being in homeland forests will help the Lithuanian team in their attempts to achieve a good performance, and not only this aspect: the team has demonstrated quite good form, as was shown in the European Championships several weeks ago. Algirda Zaliauskaite and Gabriele Andrasiuniene were in the top 6 in individual races, and the women’s team got silver medals in the Relay.

The outstanding Junior rider at the European Championships was Thomas Steinthal, Denmark who won two gold medals, in Sprint and Long Distance. Can he repeat the feat in Lithuania?

Forest and urban terrain

“Hilly with many steep slopes” is a description that is common for the Middle, Mass Start and Relay races. The Mass Start race is between Middle and Long Distance standards in length, with a planned winning time of 75-85 minutes.

The MTBO World Championships are in Lithuania for the first time ever, with the Middle Distance in especially difficult and technical terrain. Sapiegine forest will definitely give a real technical challenge even for the elite riders. Is a clean race possible in such area? The Mass Start and Relay will both take place near Salote Lake in really hilly forests. Real Lithuanian forests and a real battlefield for the elite riders!

The Long Distance race will be in gently sloping pine forest plus some steeper slopes down to rivers and lakes in the Green Lake region. All the races will include some urban terrain, and the Sprint will take place in Vilnius city centre, near the Mountain Park. The course will go through the Uzupis district, which is in the UNESCO World Heritage list and has breathtaking views.

The Middle, Long and Sprint races will count as the final three races of this year’s World Cup, where the best 8 results from the maximum of 10 count for the final standings.

All the races will be covered on IOF LiveCenter; the schedule can be seen on www.liveorienteering.com. Reports and leading results will appear on the IOF websites after each race. Full details of the Championships and the venues being used can be found on the event website www.mtbo.lt/wmtboc-2017/. The Sprint will be live on ‘Olympic Channel’ on social sites and also this distance will be covered on  the TV channel ‘Viasat Sport Baltic’.

WMTBOC Race Programme

Monday 21 August, Middle Distance

Tuesday 22 August, Mass Start race

Wednesday 23 August, Relay

Friday 25 August, Long Distance

Saturday 26 August, Sprint

All races start at 0930 local time

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