The 2nd World MTB Orienteering Championships: Berger and Viner won the long distance qualifiers

Posted on | October 19, 2004 | Category: News

The qualifying races for the long distance final of the 2nd World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia were held in near perfect conditions; warm, mainly sunny weather and dry roads and tracks which had benefited from recent wet weather. This weather is forecast to continue until Saturday (the relays at Maryborough) when rain and a drop in temperature is expected.

The bronze medallist in 2002, Alain Berger, Switzerland, won the men’s heat with a time of 1.17.06. Russian Viktor Korchagin came second, 43 seconds behind Berger, with a further 16 seconds to Czech Lubomir Tomecek in third place. Adrian Jackson was the best Australian man, fifth, in 1.18.43. Thirty four riders finished within 10 minutes of Berger. The second last leg provided a lot of route choice with slightly more competitors taking the northern route. Much depended upon the way competitors approached the second last control and whether they wanted to turn their bike around.
As the race drew to a close the Portuguese were very excited when late starter Daniel Marques appeared through the trees heading to the last control, with enough time to qualify. Much to their enjoyment he reached the finish line with over a minute to spare to displace Germany’s Ronny Klinke in the final. Four men mispunched or did not finish. Nineteen nations will be represented in the men’s final.
The biggest surprise was that the 2002 World Champion Jussi Makila failed to qualify for the final. He got a puncture at the sixth control, where he lost about 6 minutes mending the puncture. At the time of the puncture he was heading for a top ten finish and, in the end, he missed qualifying by less than two minutes. Another favourite, Australia’s Alex Randall also failed to qualify. He lost time through a puncture that he could not fix and in the distraction of running and pushing his bike he failed to punch at the last control. As he has been injured, the extra days rest may set him up for the middle distance final on Friday and the relays on Saturday.
The favourites were at the top in the women’s heat: Emily Viner, Laure Coupat and Caroline Finance. Viner’s winning time was 60.58 with Coupat 1 minute and 14 seconds behind. Finance finished third, 1 minute and 37 seconds adrift of Coupat. Coupat lost around one minute on a short leg going to the last control. Twenty two riders finished within 10 minutes of Viner.
The first leg of around 3 km in the women’s race tested the riders’ navigational skills. With most competitors opting to start slowly, the splits for the first leg varied considerably. Fifth placed Michaela Gigon of Austria was the only rider to break 23 minutes, in completing the first leg in 22 min 57 sec. There were no mispunches, disqualifications or non-finishers among the women.
Fifty two riders representing eighteen nations will compete in the long distance final event tomorrow, Wednesday 20 October.

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