Friday, July 29, 2016

WMTBOC 2016: Relay preview

The Relay competition ends a week full of emotions. Thus finish, in a festive atmosphere, the World MTB Orienteering Championships that brought to Portugal four hundred athletes from 23 different countries.

With a scenery defined by extensive vineyards, which give a well-deserved place of honour in the Bairrada Wine Demarcated Region, the county of Mealhada county is sought for its varied tourism offer, able to satisfy all audiences. In addition to its gastronomy - which has gained a new momentum with the launch of the project "Water, Bread, Wine, Piglet - 4 Wonders of Mealhada Table", Mealhada has an offer of excellence in areas such as hydrotherapy, health and welfare, the sports, oenology and, of course, Carnival, one of the most acclaimed and crowded of Portugal.

Finishing the WMTBOC-week, there will be a true high-speed relay. The area above the centre of Mealhada allows a very high running speed. However, there will also be tricky legs, which require precise navigation in terms of speed and distance. The final part of the race will challenge the athletes once more, asking for top performances, as it will be highly technical, very physical, and of course, requiring tactical intuition.

Program Overview

Saturday, 30th July (Mealhada)

07:30 – 15:00 - Opening hours of the Event Office at the Relay arena in Mealhada
09:00 - Mass start first leg Relay (EYMTBOC, JWMTBOC)
09:15 - Finish quarantine for EYMTBOC and JWMTBOC activated
10:45 - Mass start for remaining athletes (EYMTBOC, JWMTBOC)
10:45 - Start quarantine activated (WMTBOC)
10:55 - Finish quarantine finished
11:00 - Mass start first leg Relay (WMTBOC)
13:00 - Mass start for remaining athletes (WMTBOC)
13:30 - Mass Start first leg unofficial Open Relay
15:00 - Prize giving ceremony for Relay
19:00 - Closing ceremony and Party MTBO’16 at Cantanhede

Course Details

Length (km)
Climb (m)

Map scale: 1:10.000 (with 1:5.000 blow-up section)
Contours: 5 meters
Map size: 33 x 30 cm

The Relay will take place in a forest area and farmland, with small urban areas; the forest characteristic features are typical Mediterranean forest, consisting mainly of Eucalyptus plantations and vineyards, with multiple paths and roads, dense vegetation. The forest areas sometimes have underbrush that can hamper the shortcuts. Thorny vegetation can be found. Therefore puncture protection is strongly recommended.

All the competition areas are open to public traffic. The courses use and cross several public roads. There will be marshal’s with whistles at the most critical places to help safe crossing and minimize disruption. The competitors should follow the instruction of marshals. Still, it is the riders’ responsibility to observe traffic rules and avoid unsafe practices. Some dogs could be found some chained and some loose, there has been no experience of problems in the past, however the organization cannot control that all will be chained and that they will not, trying to follow the competitors or bark at their passage.  

The favourites

Somewhat surprisingly, the world title achieved by the team of Austria in the Men Relay of the last World Championships has proved, once again, that any predictions about the winner may perhaps be quite far from reality. In any case, the results achieved by the Austrian team in the last three individual leading up to the Relay puts them off of the favourites to the victory. Thus, Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic seem to be the main candidates to the medals, before a wide range of five or six teams who will fight for the immediate positions. In this batch is included the Spain and, of course, the Portuguese team, that has here a real chance to improve the 7th place achieved in 2015, entering the podium places for the first time ever.

What was said in the previous paragraph also applies to the Women competition, but here the team of Finland has much more chances to retain the world title, sharing the favouritism with the Russian team. Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, Switzerland and Austria formed a well balanced range of contenders, legitimately aspiring to a medal at the Championships' closure.
Everything to follow at

Joaquim Margarido

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