Saturday, May 14, 2016

MTBO World Cup 2016 Round 1: Braendli and Benham, the long Long Distance winners

Simon Braendli and Emily Benham started the MTB Orienteering World Cup 2016 with the right foot. In a really tough Long Distance under terrible weather conditions, they've shown at the highest level, achieving victories both muddy as tasty.

The MTBO Orienteering World Cup 2016 started today at Guebwiller, in Alsace (France). Searching for the best possible result, 62 men and 38 women headed the Throo Stadium earlier in the morning, for a tough and challenging Long Distance through the High-Rhine's superb terrains. In the Men Elite class, the Swiss Simon Braendli was a surprising winner, finishing with the time of 2:22:34 and achieving his first World Cup victory ever. 25th placed in the IOF MTB Orienteering World Ranking, the 25 y.o. athlete was faster than any one else, leaving the second place to the IOF World Ranking leader, the Russian Anton Foliforov, with more 2:44.

Although a bit upset when crossing the finish line because some small mistakes in the vineyards that almost ruined his result, Simon Braendli was very happy with his race and mostly with his tyre choice in muddy terrains. The Czech Vojtech Ludvik was another wonderful surprise, finishing third with more 3:21 than the winner. Fourth placed Clément Souvray, France, and sixth placed Riccardo Rossetto, Italy, also reached unexpected results. The Portuguese Davide Machado did a good race, finishing 9th with more 8:08 than Braendli.

As for the Women Elite class, the British Emily Benham started the best way as defending World Cup winner overall in the two last years. She reached the finish line after 2:03:45 riding hills and valleys, winning by 1:57 over the French Gäelle Barlet, second, and 4:38 over the Czech Renata Paulickova, third. The fight for the bronze was really intense, with the Finnish Ingrid Stengard and the Swiss Maja Rothweiler spending more 8 seconds and 18 seconds, respectively, than Paulickova. The Czech Martina Tichovska, IOF MTB Orienteering World Ranking leader currently, finished 8th with more 8:14 than the winner.

A pair of comments

To the second placed in the Men Elite class, “it was the muddiest MTBO event of my life”, says Foliforov with a big smile. But he liked the course and “its several long legs with really interesting and complicated route choices”. Although his good pace from the start, Anton admits that “who started earlier had a good advantage, because the bad weather conditions affected mostly the red group. Some troubles with “seeing the map normally, because of map holder fogged up from inside”, small mistakes in some route choices and some mechanical problems didn't troubled Anton's mood and he's clear when he concludes: "I am satisfied with the result.” Vojtěch Ludvík also left his opinion, showing himself really happy with the result, mainly because “it means a presence in Portugal and Lithuania”. After a first half of the race quite clear and at a comfortable pace, “on the second half was mistake after mistake”, Ludvík says. But it's definitely his best result on the international ground and he couldn't be more happy. The Portuguese Davide Machado underscored the “mountainous, harsh but spectacular” region, however regretting the weather conditions, with “heavy rain, hail and thunder, possibly the worst conditions I've ever met on a MTBO race”, he says. Physically, the Portuguese felt really well and, without mistakes, it would be a dream-race, but... “a mistake to the fourth control made me lose more than 7 minutes and I've been the rest of the race trying to recover, reaching the 9th position at the end”, he concludes.

Using 2016 to focus on other aspects of her cycling - skills, mud riding, speed and endurance – Emily Benham only have been back racing MTBO for just 2 weeks but her Orienteering skills have been good so far. Today she had no expectation, only knowing that actively racing over the winter in really muddy XCO events would be good for her, given the recent heavy rain in France. She found the first few controls well, taking strong route choices. But... “The storm started while I was on the big climb to control 2, and I couldn't see anything! Fog on my Sunglasses, mud on my Orifix board, mud on the map and so much rain!! I often stopped to be sure I going the correct way in junctions; it was just impossible to see anything of the map on the bike”, she remembers. But still she had some problems to find the 4th control and, with a 5 minutes time loss, she seriously considered going home. “My desire to get a result regardless won and so I fought on through the endless mud. Luckily my Cannondale and Rocket Ron tyres were great, so I had full confidence. I understood that I couldn't make any more mistakes so I was stopping regularly to check my route choice and my location. It's great to win today in such tough conditions - maybe I should start liking mud races (?!)”, she concludes.


Men Elite
1. Simon Braendli (Switzerland) 2:22:34 (+ 00:00)
2. Anton Foliforov (Russia) 2:25:18 (+ 02:44)
3. Vojtech Ludvik (Czech Republic) 2:25:55 (+ 03:21)
4. Clément Souvray (France) 2:26:18 (+ 03:44)
5. Luca Dallavalle (Italy) 2:26:23 (+ 03:49)
6. Riccardo Rossetto (Italy) 2:28:31 (+ 05:57)
9. Davide Machado (Portugal) 2:30:42 (+ 08:08)
41. João Ferreira (Portugal) 2:49:45 (+ 27:11)
43. Daniel Marques (Portugal) 2:54:36 (+ 32:02)

Women Elite
1. Emily Benham (Great Britain) 2:03:45 (+ 00:00)
2. Gäelle Barlet (France) 2:05:42 (+ 01:57)
3. Renata Paulickova (Czech Republic) 2:08:23 (+ 04:38)
4. Ingrid Stengard (Finland) 2:08:31 (+ 04:46)
5. Maja Rothweiler (Switzerland) 2:08:41 (+ 04:56)
6. Ursina Jaeggi (Switzerland) 2:09:41 (+ 05:56)
35. Ana Filipa Silva (Portugal) 3:09:26 (+ 1:05:41)

For further information, please visit the event's webpage at

Joaquim Margarido

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