Tuesday, June 18, 2013

EMTBOC 2013: Portuguese "Soft" Sprint

It wasn't exactly a start on the right foot, of Portugal in the European MTB orienteering Championships 2013. In a Sprint closing a pair of incidents, Davide Machado was our best representative in the 23rd position.

Zamosc, in southeastern Poland, receive the sixth edition of the European MTB orienteering Championships 2013. As usual in major international events' competitive program, the Sprint race opened the hostilities, and then with a hitch that creates a severe headache to the organizers. Unable to guarantee by the local authorities the security conditions in the inner city of Zamosc, the race was transferred to Krasnobród to meet the map previously reserved for the Mixed Sprint Relay, which will end the Championships.

Turning to the Sprint race analysis, the national technical director, Daniel Marques, aware a race “rather quickly, sometimes in forest sometimes in urban areas, where the athletes had to maintain high levels of concentration.” To those responsible, “the results of Portugal were not positive and we entered in the competition below my expectations.” Davide Machado was our best athlete, ending his race in the 23th place with a time of 26:14. Machado made some navigation errors and end up showing to be disappointed and noting that “from the outset I knew that Sprint was not my main speciality, but I still had slightly better result, since at the end of the race, for the 18th control, I've lost more than one minute.”

João Ferreira made a regular race, reaching the 32nd place with the time of 26:46, less than one minute of one of his main goals, “to enter into the first third of the table.” Already Carlos Simões lost much time in the early part of the race - about two and a half minutes in controls 5 and 6 - which eventually proved to be fatal in a competition of this nature, “throwing” him to the 43th position among 61 athletes, with a time of 28:15. “Tomorrow is Middle Distance's day and the athletes are hopeful in improving outcomes”, says Daniel Marques, at the end.

Women's race canceled

The winner was Jussi Laurila (Finland). Having been ranked third in the Sprint of the previous European Campionships, in Leningrad, the Finn reached his first title in a major international event. Confirming his appetite for this type of terrains - he was the leading figure of the World Cup's intermediate round last year, which also took place in Poland, in Duszniki Zdrój-Zieleniec - Laurila did a race on the highest level, fulfilling 6.6 km of the course at 23:57 and relegating to the second position, with more 20 seconds, the current leader of the world ranking, Ruslan Gritsan (Russia). The third place fell to another Finn, Juuso Jutila, with 25 seconds over his team mate. The Italian Luca Dallavalle did also a great race, finishing in the 4th position with 35 seconds more than the winner, while the World Champion of Sprint, the Austrian Tobias Breitschadel, stayed in the 26th position. Maciej Gromadka was the best Polish athlete, ending his race in the 8th place, 1:03 behind the winner.

As for the women's race, it would eventually meet a unexpected outcome. The European Champion of Sprint 2011, the Finnish Marika Hara, had yet to be given as the winner, but a protest lodged by some athletes lead to the cancellation of the race. The cause, as reported by Emily Benham (Great Britain) on her Facebook page, was “due to locked gate on route choice”. To the athletes who took this route choice, nothing remained than to reverse and ... protest. A fact spotting right now the European Campionshipss and that leads the organization to have to use the rest day, next Thursday, to repeat the female race.

[Photo: Daniel Marques]

Joaquim Margarido

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