More than a goal, Anton Foliforov saw today fulfilled his greatest wish, to add to the invaluable curriculum a first gold medal won in the European Championships. In the women's race, Gäelle Barlet was the big winner, after a long period of absence from the highest place on the podium in events of this level.
At the entrance for the second half of the European MTB Orienteering Championships 2015, Vale das Eiras, in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, held in the early afternoon the Middle Distance course. Lined up to start 60 athletes in the Men class and 40 in Women class, for a race discussed shoulder to shoulder from the first to the last meter.
In the Men class, the Russian Valeriy Gluhov and Ruslan Gritsan showed at the start weight credentials - the first, European Champion title; the second, World Champion - but it was another Russian, Anton Foliforov, to make history. Very cautious throughout the race, concentration at the highest level, only after the 13th of the 20 controls the current leader of the World Rankings took the command of operations, to finish in style with the time of 48:09. Andreas Waldmann (Austria) first and then Cédric Beill (France) were briefly in the upper hand, but it was the French Yoann Garde the one that most headaches has given to the Russian, finishing second with 17 seconds more. Valeriy Gluhov occupied the lowest place in the podium, finishing with the time of 48:55. Baptiste Fuchs (France) repeated the fourth position achieved yesterday while Jussi Laurila (Finland) and Cédric Beill changed positions with each other in relation to the Sprint race, with the Finn being fifth and Beill to finish sixth. A word on the Portuguese Davide Machado, closing the top 20 with a time of 52:33 and showing that “the bad weather is gone”.
A hard victory
The women's race saw the French Gaelle Bärlet achieving the victory, something that didn't happen in stages scoring for the World Cup since the 27th August 2011, when she was crowned Champion of the World in Sprint(Vicenza, Italy). Barlet came rolling in the early part of the race with a higher handicap of more than one minute to the Russian Svetlana Poverina, but it was with the Swedish Cecilia Thomasson and the Finnish Marika Hara that the French fought the great battle when, already close to the end, with three controls to the finish, the difference between the three boiled down to 32 seconds and Thomasson, World Champion of Middle Distance, followed in the lead. In the end, victory for Gäelle Barlet with a time of 45:52 against 45:59 of Cecilia Thomasson and 46:19 of Marika Hara, respectively second and third classified. The Danish Camilla Søgaard was fourth, a few ten seconds of the podium, while the Russian Svetlana Poverina was fifth and the British Emily Benham, current leader of the IOF World Rankings and here defending her Middle Distance European title won in Zamosc (Poland, 2013), concluded in the sixth position.
In the Junior European Championships, the Finnish Sauli Pietikäinen and the Czech Veronika Kubinova were the great figures of today's journey, leading to overcome the respective board of results. Pietikäinen beat the French Florian Pinsard (bronze medal in yesterday's race) by the narrow margin of 19 seconds. In turn, Kubinova improved the silver medal won in the Sprint, imposing to the Russian Olga Mikhailova by the comfortable margin of 2:16. Winner in yesterday´s race, the French Lou Denaix closed the podium to faraway 5:41 of the winner. As for the Young European Champioships, knowing in Portugal the first edition, the Russian Kiril Lepeshenko was the big winner in the men's class, after a fierce fighting with the Finnish Eerik Nurminem, the big name of the Sprint final held yesterday, who won for scarce six seconds. With five athletes in the top seven, Russia returned to overwhelm the female ranking, checking for an exchange on the positions of the top two in relation to yesterday. Alena Fedoseeva won this Middle Distance, imposing to her compatriot Daria Mykriukova. In the third position, stayed Natalia Shatalova.
1. Anton Foliforov (Russia) 48:09
2. Yoann Garde (France) 48:26
3. Valeriy Gluhov (Russia) 48:55
4. Baptiste Fuchs (France) 48:59
5. Jussi Laurila (Finland) 49:25
6. Cedric Beill (France) 49:45
1. Gaelle Barlet (France) 45:52
2. Cecilia Thomasson (Sweden) 45:59
3. Marika Hara (Finland) 46:19
4. Camilla Søgaard (Denmark) 46:29
5. Svetlana Poverina (Russia) 46:30
6. Emily Benham (Great Britain) 47:16
1. Sauli Pietikäinen (Finland) 44:18
2. Florian Pinsard (France) 44:37
3. Edwin Oliver-Evans (Great Britain) 45:41
1. Veronika Kubinova (Czech Republic) 44:24
2. Olga Mikhailova (Russia) 46:40
3. Lou Denaix (France) 50:05
1. Kiril Lepeshenko (Russia) 28:10
2. Eerik Nurminen (Finland) 28:16
3. Jakub Jaroszek (Poland) 28:20
1. Alena Fedoseeva (Russia) 00:43
2. Daria Mykriukova (Russia) 25:32
3. Natalia Shatalova (Russia) 27:51
Full results and other information in http://mtbo15.fpo.pt/.
[Photos courtesy of Susana Reis]