World MTBO Championships: Mass Start leads to mass finish

Posted on | August 22, 2017 | Category: Arena, News

The first official Mass Start race ended in a mass sprint for the line in the men’s race, with the first six finishers within 4 seconds and thirteen within the first minute. World Champions are Emily Benham, Great Britain and Luca Dallavalle, Italy.

Baptiste Fuchs FRA, Kevin Haselsberger AUT & Jussi Laurila FIN heading for 13th, 11th and 12th positions

This was the first official Mass Start race in WMTBOC history, and the men’s finish was as exciting as one could ever wish for. The lead changed several times during the race, but the overall position was difficult to assess, because of the splitting, until it became clear that a mass spurt from the last control, with 7 riders involved, was on the cards. And so it proved; silver and bronze medallists Ruslan Gritsan RUS and Simon Braendli SUI, together with fourth-placed Jiri Hradil CZE, finished just a whisker’s breadth behind the winner Luca Dallavalle, who was Sprint silver medallist in last year’s World Championships.

In the women’s race Olga Shipilova.Vinogradova RUS held the lead for a considerable period, but Emily Benham came through to take the lead shortly before the end and finished with a comfortable lead of 1.02. Gaelle Barlet FRA was bronze medallist, 1.34 down on Benham’s time. Home rider Algirda Zaliauskaite finished just under a minute outside bronze medal position.

Women’s podium: Olga Shipilova-Vinogradova, Emily Benham, Gaelle Barlet   Photos: Hans Jørgen Kvåle

Each group had to race with 5 different maps in total and the routes were varied, so the separation between athletes after the start went rapidly. The course went through a very dynamic area. At first athletes had to ride two legs in the Grioviai forest which has really steep slopes – the route choices were important. Afterwards, riders crossed a bridge to another area – Fairytale Park. It has lots of paths and hills, so the orienteering was still challenging.

There was a popular home win in the Junior Women’s race, and gold for Thomas Steinthal, Denmark who won two gold medals at the European Junior Championships. Medallists in the Junior races are:

Women: Gold, Viktorija Michnovič LTU; Silver, Mathilde Sipos FRA (+0.04); Bronze, Veronika Kubinova CZE (+1.47)

Men: Gold, Thomas Steinthal DEN; Silver, Jan Hasek CZE (+0.04); Bronze, Martin Kanta CZE (+0.05)

Rising star: Dane Thomas Steinthal flanked by Czech Riders Jan Hasek and Martin Kanta

So two strenuous days are past and there is no respite tomorrow: the Relays take place in similar terrain to today’s plus some forest parkland, starting at 0930 local time.

Leading results


  1. Emily Benham GBR 1:14:42
  2. Olga Shipilova-Vinogradova RUS 1:15:44
  3. Gaelle Barlet FRA 1:16:16
  4. Algirda Zaliauskaite LTU 1:17:10
  5. Ingrid Stengard FIN 1:19:14
  6. Hana Garde FRA 1:19:45


  1. Luca Dallavalle ITA 1:20:05
  2. Ruslan Gritsan RUS 1:20:06
  3. Simon Braendli SUI 1:20:06
  4. Jiri Hradil CZE 1:20:06
  5. Grigory Medvedev RUS 1:20:07
  6. Rasmus Søgaard DEN 1:20:09
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