After the Sprint that pointed the start of the European Ski Orienteering Championships ESOC 2015, today's competitive program was dedicated to the Long Distance race. The best competitors in the World and demanding courses set the tone to exciting moments, with the doubt about the winners remaining until the very last second.
Showing his appetite for the beautiful Graubünden region, the Swedish Erik Rost won the European Long Distance title for the second time in his career, seven years after the gold in the second edition of the European Championships, not far from Lenzerheide, at S-chanf. Two European Championships in Swiss soil and two Long Distance titles, separated by seven years of difference, such is Rost's achievement, currently the third placed in the IOF World Ranking. But the things weren't easy for the Swedish, in a race where he had a good entry and completely dominates during the first half. However, a mistake on the way to the 21st control made him lose more than 30 seconds, from what took advantage the Russian Andrey Lamov, silver medallist in the Long Distance of the European Championships 2014. The truth is that also Lamov would make a mistake of the same size, seven controls before the end, returning Erik Rost to the lead, where he would stay until the Finish. In the end, victory with a time of 1:02:42 to 17.3 km of his course, against 1:03:00 of the Swiss Christian Spoerry, second placed, getting a historical medal, the first ever for Switzerland at an international event of this caliber in Ski Orienteering. Andrey Lamov was third, 14 seconds behind Rost, while the European Champion 2014 in Long Distance and winner of yesterday's Sprint, the Bulgarian Stanimir Belomazhev, finished sixth, with more 1:30 than the winner.
In the Women class, the Russian flag flitted for the second day in a row on the highest mast of the podium, thanks to the victory of Tatyana Oborina. With only 22 years, the young Russian had to deal with the fierce opposition of a large and combative set of athletes, as demonstrated by the fact that the first six classified have been separated by 25 seconds only. Gold medal in the Sprint race yesterday, the Russian Iuliia Tarasenko still led the race in the early moments, but it was another Russian, Polina Frolova, to take the first position, running in the lead until the entrance to the final third of the course. Between gains and losses, it was only at the 25th of the 29 countrols of the course that Tatyana Oborina took the lead permanently, thus achieving the first gold medal of her career in major international Elite competitions. Oborina spent 1:03:00 to complete her course of 14.9 km, leaving the second place to the Czech Hana Hancikova with 1:03:13, while the Swedish Josefine Engstrom was third with a time of 1:03:14. The three following positions were occupied by Russian athletes.
Men (17.3 km, 35 controls)
1. Erik Rost (Sweden) 1:02:42
2. Christian Spoerry (Switzerland) 1:03:00 (+ 00:18)
3. Andrey Lamov (Russia) 1:03:01 (+ 00:19)
4. Staffan Tunis (Finland) 1:03:04 (+ 00:22)
5. Eduard Khrennikov (Russia) 1:03:09 (+ 00:27)
6. Stanimir Belomazhev (Bulgaria) 1:04:12 (+ 01:30)
Women (14.9 km, 29 controls)
1. Tatyana Oborina (Russia) 1:03:00
2. Hana Hancikova (Czech Republic) 1:03:13 (+ 00:13)
3. Josefine Engstrom (Sweden) 1:03:14 (+ 00:14)
4. Polina Frolova (Russia) 1:03:20 (+ 00:20)
5. Iuliia Tarasenko (Russia) 1:03:24 (+ 00:24)
6. Kseniya Tretyakova (Russia) 1:03:25 (+ 00:25)
All to check at http://www.skiolem15.ch/.
[Photo: Øystein Kvaal Østerbø / plus.google.com]