Two years after Leningrad, the European MTB orienteering Championships are back. Today, the portuguese team leaves to Zamosc, Poland, taking with them the wish of a good presence and great expectations on a beautiful set of results.
From next Monday and throughout the week, 111 athletes from 20 countries will be in Zamosc, struggling for the European MTB Orienteering titles of Sprint, Middle Distance, Long Distance, Relay and, for the first time in the history of the Championships, also Mixed Sprint Relay.
With 42 of the 50 world's best athletes on the IOF's world ranking (23 male athletes from the top 25 and 19 females) present, is on the Portuguese that we are focusing our attentions. And they are really high, the expectations on a good set of results, not only because Davide Machado is currently 10th in the world ranking, but because he has at his side a mix of youth and experience, personified in João Ferreira and Carlos Simões, a trio that showed a high level at Vészprém, in the last World Championships.
Upon the departure, João Ferreira indicates this event, “along with the World Championship and the World Cup's final round, in Grândola” as one of the main goals of the season and confesses that “the first objective for this event is entering the first third of the table but I have the ambition and desire to enter the top15 in one race, at least. Both of the goals are difficult to achieve but I will give my best.” Less ambitious than his team-mate, Carlos Simões believes that “despite being in good shape, in the past the same happened and, in the end, I've made some mistakes coupled with a bit of bad luck. This time I did not put the bar very high and most of all I'll try to navigate safely and without haste.”
As for Davide Machado, he admits that “a place in the top 10 will always be a great benefit, but I believe in a top 5 in the Long Distance.” Already thinking on the collective, the athlete believes that “we have an excellent team for the Relay race, both Carlos [Simões] and João [Ferreira] have shown to be fit and motivated for the competition and we'll do our best.”
[Photo: Daniel Marques]