Thierry Gueorgiou and Annika Billstam are the POM 2016's big winners. In another really demanding Long Distance, both managed to keep the difference for their main competitors, getting the highest places of the podium.
Even with the rain showing, for a while, its uncomfortable presence, the POM 2016 ended in the best way. For the last stage, the competitors faced their second Long Distance in a row and the less good physical condition, after the tough third stage, was stamped in virtually all of them. Technical challenge and physical toughness were, once more, the main ingredients of a race that had in the Chasing Start format an extra attractive.
In the Men Elite class, Thierrry Gueorgiou took his fifth victory in the last ten editions of the Portugal O' Meeting. The French started with a comfortable margin of 8:03 over the second placed, Albin Ridefelt and in the end it was enlarged to 15:25 With Gueorgiou being the best in the field once more, after winning the three precedent stages. Albin Ridefelt had an advantage of 1:23 over Baptiste Rollier, but the Swiss caught him during the race and both ran together until the end. Ridelfet was stronger in the final controls, keeping the second place. In Women Elite class, Annika Billstam lost some time during the race but an advantage of almost eleven minutes is a big advantage. So, she could taste her first POM victory, even getting the 17th place today. Eva Jurenikova also managed to keep the second position, while Marika Teini didn't start today and Anastasia Rudnaya was the third placed. Amélie Chataing was the best runner on today's stage, finishing fourth overall. The winner in Men Class was Roman Ryapalov, with Jonas Merz being second placed and Erik Classon third.
“POM is now a really institution”
Gueorgiou left some words in the end of the Portugal O' Meeting: “I really enjoyed it. The most important today is that I felt enough strong physically and that means that the training last months was positive. This year one of my goals is the O-Ringen, in Sweden, so it's very important to compete consecutively a few days. Now I must continue to training well for four months and then we'll see what happens. Today we had also a really interesting course, demanding a good navigation but also some parts when you could follow the tracks, and there I tried to relax. The approach to the controls was very clean and I liked it a lot, even if I did a big mistake on the fifth control and I can't say things were perfect today. But I'll continue working, we'll have already next weekend the NAOM and it will be again a nice opportunity to work on the little details and and keep on going progressing. [About POM, in general] Again another great organization and the Portugal O' Meeting is getting better every year. The amazing things are, of course, the terrains, the maps and the courses, all the technical part is exceptional and I would say that POM is now a really institution. The tent, the restaurant, the warm races, the BBQ... we really that the organizers are on it 100% and for us, athletes, is really the perfect place.”
And also Annika Billstam's opinions: “It was my first victory at Portugal O' Meeting and it was really nice, of course. If I look back to all stages, I must say that second stage was amazing and I had a good flow. I'm very proud of that race. I haven't had that many trainings with map this year and I felt my technique just a little bit shaky. Also yesterday, in the World Ranking Event, I suffered with my physics and I was really tired for the last stage. When your mind is tired you do much more mistakes, stress a bit and lose the flow. Today I felt really tired during the warm-up, so I tried to push harder from the beginning and it went quite okay until the eight control, when I did a parallel mistake and lost several minutes. Than I felt that I had to do a good job until the end. After that I wasn't perfect, actually, but I never looked back. The Portugal O' Meeting is always a great competition and that's why we come back here. It's challenging, the long distance races are really long distance races, and most of us are looking for it. The terrains are great, everybody is friendly and also everything around is great, specially the expresso machine and the nice cakes.”
Men Super Elite
1. Thierry Gueorgiou (Kalevan Rasti) 4:06:37 (+ 00:00)
2. Albin Ridefelt (OK Linné) 4:22:02 (+ 15:25)
3. Baptiste Rollier (Kalevan Rasti) 4:22:15 (+ 15:38)
4. Jonas Leandersson (SNO) 4:28:57 (+ 22:20)
5. Jan Prochazka (Kalevan Rasti) 4:31:17 (+ 24:40)
1. Annika Billstam (OK Linné) 4:06:47 (+ 00:00)
2. Eva Jurenikova (Halden SK) 4:10:47 (+ 04:00)
3. Anastasia Rudnaya (MSP) 4:17:35 (+ 10:48)
4. Amélie Chataing (Kalevan Rasti) 4:17:46 (+ 10:59)
5. Kristin Löfgren (Varegg) 4:32:41 (+ 25:54)
1. Roman Ryapalov (IFK Mora) 5:13:04 (+ 00:00)
2. Jonas Merz (OKT) 5:19:16 (+ 06:12)
3. Erik Classon (Orinto) 5:27:47 (+ 14:43)
4. Santeri Silvennoinen (Kalevan Rasti) 5:28:13 (+ 15:09)
5. Mikko Knuuttila (Nouski) 5:29:59 (+ 16:55)
Complete results and further information on the event's webpage, at www.pom.pt/en.