Monday, May 04, 2015

MTB Orienteering World Cup 2015: Benham, Fuchs and Laurilla, the stars of the first round



The hungarian city of Várgesztes, hosted the first round of the MTB Orienteering World Cup 2015. Winning the two individual stages, the British Emily Benham was the biggest name of the competition. The French Team took the victory in the Mixed Relay that ended the competition.


The MTB Orienteering World Cup 2015 met the first of its three great moments for the season. In the Hungarian city of Várgesztes, 75 kilometres west of the capital Budapest and not far from Lake Balaton, one of the “sanctuaries” of the MTB Orienteering worldwide, took place the first round of the competition which attracted 106 Elite athletes, 72 men and 34 women. The presence of all of the IOF World Ranking top 10 men athletes and 8 of the top 10 female athletes - Olga Vinogradova (Russia) and Susanna Laurila (Finland) were noted absences -, gives a real idea of the competitive quality of this round, valued by demanding courses, both physically and technically, in perfect terrains. Only the weather proved averse and the mud, especially in the latter days, was an enemy of higher magnitude.

The Long Distance race that opened the competition brought with it the emotion of a Mass Start, superiorly reflected in Daniel Marosffy's video, which can be seen at https://youtu.be/xB9HAUeiSRg. This was a hard fought race, particularly in the Men class, with the victory discussed in the final sprint between Anton Foliforov and Jussi Laurila. Leader of the IOF World Ranking, the Russian still managed to be the first in the last control, but Laurila was stronger in the arrival corridor registering at the end the time of 1:26:29 to 23,6 km of his course, against Foliforov's 1:26:33. It was a return of Laurila to the victories in the MTB Orienteering World Cup, almost two years after his European title in Long Distance, in Poland, once again in a Mass Start race. In the third place stayed the Austrian Kevin Haselsberger with 1:02 more than the winner and 2 seconds ahead the French Yoann Garde.

The British Emily Benham was the winner of the women's course, opening in the best way her participation in the MTB Orienteering World Cup 2015, similar to what happened in the last season. Emily spent 1:17:47 to cover 18.2 km, leaving behind her the Finnish Ingrid Stengard, with more 42 seconds. The Russian Svetlana Poverina was the third ranked while the leader of the IOF World Ranking, the Finnish Marika Hara, finished in the seventh position.


Baptiste Fuchs' first victory in the World Cup

In the Middle Distance stage that filled the second day's program, it was possible to see Emily Benham on the top of the podium again, thanks to a resounding victory in 56:44 for 10.7 km. The victory of the British was achieved on the day of her 26th anniversary, with the athlete sharing such special day with the birth of the Royal Baby. In the immediate positions classified three Finnish athletes, with Antonia Haga, 21st in the IOF World Ranking, being second and achieving here the best result of her career so far in the World Cup. Ingrid Stengard and Marika Hara were the 3rd and 4th classified, respectively, while the French Gaëlle Barlet repeated the 5th place achieved in the first day.

In Men class, the French Baptiste Fuchs achieved his first victory in scoring stages for the MTB Orienteering World Cup, imposing to his adversaries with a time of 52:09 for 12.0 km. Silver medalist in the Long Distance of the last World MTB Orienteering Championship, Fuchs won over the big name of the opening stage, Jussi Laurila, by the comfortable margin of 1:21, while the Lithuanian Jonas Maiselis called upon him the attentions and was the third placed, losing by a little second his particular duel with Laurila. Anton Foliforov concluded in the 5th place, with more 1:54 than the winner.

The first round of the MTB Orienteering World Cup 2015 ended with the Mixed Relay, in which was possible to assist to a lively duel for the victory between France and Finland. The Finland started better, with Ingrid Stengard imposing herself to Hana Garde by a margin of 19 seconds, shortened  in the second leg to just three seconds by Baptiste Fuchs, against Pekka Niemi. In the “all for all”, Cédric Beill was unstoppable, giving no chances to the Finnish Jussi Laurila. The French team registered in the end a time of 2:50:17 against 2:50:39 from Finland. The Czech Republic also came to cherish the illusion to get the victory, after the two first legs “shoulder to shoulder” with the French and Finnish, but Frantisek Bogar was powerless to hold his opponents and the Czech stayed in the third place, with 3:16 more than the winners. Austria, Russia and Lithuania occupied the immediate positions. More information and complete results at http://www.mtbo.hu/wc2015.php.

[Photo: Árpád Kocsik / plus.google.com/photos/+ÁrpádKocsik]

Joaquim Margarido

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