Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WMTBOC 2016: Middle Distance preview

The second final of the 2016 World MTB orienteering Championships will take the athletes to a hilly area in Valongo do Vouga. Time to overlook the competition area and the program, to watch the favourites and to get some tips.

Valongo do Vouga owes its name to the natural characteristics of the terrains that surround the small village of Águeda county. The word “Valongo” proceeds from the Latin "Vallum longum" which means “long valley”. The valley, is furrowed by the Vouga River, and then the second half of the village's name. A valley, then, with mountains all around, and huge challenge for the athletes who will compete in the Middle Distance final of the World MTB Orienteering Championships WMTBOC 2016, tomorrow morning.

The climb and, again, the heat - the temperatures still remain above the 30º Celsius - will be major adversaries to those who want to succeed. Utilize and optimize his/her own energies accordingly and remain full focused throughout the race will be the key for the best possible place.

Program Overview

Wednesday, 27th July (Valongo do Vouga, Águeda)
Middle Distance

08:30-15.00 - Opening hours of the Event Office at the Middle Distance Arena (Valongo do Vouga)
09:00 - Start for middle distance course of World Masters Series + Open
09:30 - Finish quarantine activated
10:00 - Start for Middle Distance course (EYMTBOC + JWMTBOC)
11:45 - Start quarantine activated
11:50 - Finish quarantine finished
12:00 - Start for WMTBOC Middle Distance course
16:00 - Prize giving ceremony for Middle Distance at arena
16:00-21:00 - Opening hours of the EO at the EC  

Course Details

Length (km)
Climb (m)

Map scale: 1:10.000
Contours: 5 meters
Map size: 37x30 cm

The Middle Distance race will take place in a mainly mature forest with some areas of recent clear felling and young trees; the forest characteristic features are typical Mediterranean forest, consisting mainly of Eucalyptus plantations, with multiple paths and roads, dense vegetation. The forest areas sometimes have underbrush that can hamper the shortcuts. Small urban areas will be crossed.
Thorny vegetation can be found. Therefore puncture protection is strongly recommended.

It's unlikely that the competitors will come across any vehicles or forest machinery but they have to be careful as normal to watch for other forest users. Due to significant spring growth following a wet winter, some paths have become overgrown. The organizers have done their upmost to clear and flatten vegetation and avoid the worst affected areas, however some track junctions can be difficult to see on the ground. The unclear track junction mapping convention has NOT been used due to the fast changing nature of this problem and for consistency.

The favourites

Anton Foliforov, Russia, and Gaëlle Barlet, France are going to defend their world titles on the Middle Distance race. Anton leads the MTB Orienteering World Cup, won yesterday's Sprint race, want to recover the IOF World Ranking leadership and is the big favourites to the victory in the Men Elite class. Luca Dallavalle, Italy, Vojtech Stransky and Krysztof Bógar, both from the Czech Republic, Jussi Laurila, Finland and Cédric Beill, France, are Foliforov's biggest challengers. 

As for the Women class Gaëlle Barlet, France, shares the favouritisme with Emily Benham, Great Britain, Marika Hara, Finland, Olga Shipilova Vinogradova, Russia and Martina Tichovska, Czech Republic, in the Women Elite class. A very strong start field, indeed, for an open race regarding the winner. Would you risk a prognosis?

Everything to follow at http://mtbo16.fpo.pt/.

Joaquim Margarido

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