MTBO European Championships & World Cup: four middle distance medals for Finland

Posted on | September 20, 2011 | Category: News

Finland’s women took all three medals in the middle distance race in the Leningrad region of Russia today, Ingrid Stengård taking the gold with a 12 second lead. Erik Skovgaard Knudsen, Denmark, appears unbeatable at present as he took his second gold medal of the week with victory by almost half a minute.

It was an even greater success story for Finland’s women today after yesterday’s gold medal in Sprint. Marika Hara could not quite repeat her Sprint performance but took a clear silver medal, 24 seconds faster than her team-mate Susanna Laurila. Michaela Gigon, Austria, challenging Marika Hara for top place in the World Cup standings, was sixth. Defending European Champion Rikke Kornvig, Denmark finished in fifteenth place, just over 5½ minutes down on the lead time.

Denmark could, however, celebrate Erik Skovgaard Knudsen’s successful defence of his European Championship crown – he won at middle distance in Denmark in 2009. Closest challenger was the consistent Finn Samuli Saarela, and the bronze medal went to Beat Schaffner, Switzerland. The best Russian, Anton Foliforov, was fourth today, just 2 seconds from a medal position. Knudsen also cemented his position as unassailable leader of the World Cup standings, which he also won last year.

Tomorrow there are 3-leg relay races for men and women. The current standings show Finland and Switzerland in equal first position with 46 points, a clear lead over next-placed Czech Republic with 38. The winner scores 20 points, second place 17 and third 15 in each of tomorrow’s races, so barring a miracle it will be one (or both!) of the current twin leaders heading the relay standings at the end of the day.

Leading results – middle distance (provisional)

1. Ingrid Stengård FIN 45.28
2. Marika Hara FIN 45.40
3. Susanna Laurila FIN 46.04
4. Olga Vinogradova RUS 46.23
5. Christine Schaffner SUI 46.42
6. Michaela Gigon AUT 47.25

1. Erik Skovgaard Knudsen DEN 45.38
2. Samuli Saarela FIN 46.07
3. Beat Schaffner SUI 48.56
4. Anton Foliforov RUS 48.58
5. Tobias Breitschaedel AUT 49.35
6. Radek Laciga CZE 49.40

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