World MTBO Championships Relay: double gold for Finland

Posted on | August 24, 2012 | Category: News

Jussi Laurila bringing team Finland to the Relay finish. Photo: Ludomir Parfianowicz

It was gold all round for Finland’s MTBO teams today. The women’s team finished more than 2 minutes ahead of Switzerland, whilst the men had a narrower victory – 43 seconds faster than Russia. Silver medals went to Switzerland and Russia, and bronze to Slovakia and Austria.

In the women’s race, where riders had courses 12 km in length with130 m climbing, Switzerland held a lead of less than 10 seconds over Finland at the end of both the first and second legs. On the third leg, Finland’s Susanna Laurila got ahead by 1½ minutes at the first radio control, but Christine Schaffner for Switzerland pulled back to just 6 seconds down at the second radio. She couldn’t maintain that recovery, however, and finished well beaten. The bronze medals went to Slovakia, the best of a group of teams 10-13 minutes down on the winning time.

Susanna Laurila (FIN) was unbeatable on the last leg of the Relay. Photo: Ludomir Parfianowicz.

In the men’s race (legs of 15.4 km with 150 m climb) France 2 (Baptiste Fusch) held a shock lead of 1.18 at the end of the first leg ahead of Czech Republic and Austria. The fourth-placed rider, 3.09 down on the leading time, came in at the head of a large group. Things settled down on the second leg with Samuli Saarela, Finland, Middle distance gold medallist two days ago who took over in 6th place, pulling out a 1-minute lead by the first radio and extending it steadily thereafter. At the end of this leg Russia was second, Czech Republic third and Austria fourth. Although Russia pulled back some time on the third leg, it wasn’t enough to mount a serious challenge to the Finns. Austria, with Sprint gold medallist Tobias Breitschädel on last leg, got ahead of the Czechs on this leg to take the bronze medals.

Tomorrow the Long distance final will be held, the last race of the Championships. The women ride courses of length 21.9 km with 250 m climb, the men have 29.5 km and 310 m climb. Actual riding distances will be some 25-30% longer. Competitors will be hoping for cooler weather than they have experienced in the first part of the Championships, when day temperatures have topped 30 degrees.

Leading results – Relay


  1. Finland (Marika Hara, Ingrid Stengård, Susanna Laurila) 2:15:12
  2. Switzerland (Maja Rothweiler, Ursina Jäggi, Christine Schaffner) 2:17:31
  3. Slovakia (Daniela Trnovcová, Stanislava Fajtová, Hana Garde) 2:26:02
  4. Austria 2:27:48
  5. France 2:28:36
  6. Czech Republic 2:28:45


  1. Finland (Pekka Niemi, Samuli Saarela, Jussi Laurila) 2:16:04
  2. Russia (Valeriy Gluhov, Ruslan Gritsan, Anton Foliforov) 2:16:47
  3. Austria (Bernhard Schaching, Kevin Haselsberger, Tobias Breitschädel) 2:17:06
  4. Czech Republic 2:20:00
  5. France 2:24:13
  6. Switzerland 2:24:58

Junior women medallists

Gold – Russia; silver – Finland; bronze – Czech Republic

Junior men medallists

Gold – Czech Republic; silver – Finland; bronze – Russia

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