Jan Furucz was the winner of the fourth edition of the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering. Against a powerful concurrence, the Slovak proved to have the right skills to get a thrilling three-points win over Erik Stålnacke.
The Norwegian town of Halden hosted the final round of the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering ECTO 2016. On the maps of Mo Gard and Fredriksten Fortress, the Open Nordic Team Event & ECTO Final Weekend called 92 competitors representing eight different nations. The event featured two stages of PreO and one of TempO, with the latter and also the PreO stage of the last day scoring for the European Cup.
After a less successful presence in the recent World Trail Orienteering Championships, the Finn Antti Rusanen started the weekend with the right foot, winning the TempO stage with a score of 182 seconds, and an advantage of 20 seconds over Pinja Mäkinen, Finland, bronze medalist in Strömstad. World Champion of TempO, currently, the Norwegian Lars Jakob Waaler finished in the 12th place with more 123 seconds than the winner. Rusanen performed once again at the highest level on the first day of competition, winning the PreO stage with a total of 24 points and the incredible time of 4 seconds in the timed controls. With more two seconds than the winner, the Finn Sami Hyvönen got the second position.
The Swede Martin Fredholm, current World Champion of PreO, was the winner on the last day of competition with 29 points and 16 seconds, while the European Champion, the Swede Stig Gerdtman, reached the second position with the same number of points but more 16 seconds than Fredholm in the timed controls. In all three stages, Antti Rusanen was the big winner with 259 seconds, against 298 seconds from Stig Gerdtman, placed second and 330 seconds from the Norwegian Sondre Ruud Bråten, third placed. With Martin Fredholm, William Rex, Robert Jakobsson, Erik Stalnacke and Marit Wiksell in the team, Sweden 1 was the winner of the Nordic Team Event, followed by Finland and Norway.
The European Cup's final round was a real “thriller” until the last control, with a total unpredictability regarding the winner overall. Skipping the Norwegian event, the Italian Remo Madella knew that would be a quite improbable task to retain the leadership and be the ECTO 2016's winner. The Slovak Jan Furucz and the Swedish Erik Stålnacke, winner of this competition in 2015, were the closest rivals, and indeed, after the TempO stage on the first day, Stålnacke reached the first place with 165 points, two more points than Jan Furucz and three more points than Remo Madella. In the final stage, however, Stålnacke was far below the expectations and Furucz achieved the needed points to overcome his opponent. An extraordinary end of the season for the Slovak athlete, gold medalist in Strömstad thanks to the amazing victory of Slovakian team in the TrailO Relay. Stålnacke, Madella, Fredholm and the Swede Lennart Wahlgren occupied by this order the immediate positions.
Nordic Team Event
1. Antti Rusanen FIN 259 seconds
2. Stig Gerdtman SWE 298 seconds
3. Sondre Ruud Bråten NOR 330 seconds
4. Martin Fredholm SWE 337 seconds
5. Pinja Mäkinen FIN 407 seconds
1. Sweden 1 2435 seconds
2. Finland 1 2688 seconds
3. Norway 1 2943 seconds
4. Sweden 2 3438 seconds
5. Finland 2 3707 seconds
Final Standings (provisional)
1. Jan Furucz SVK 168 points
2. Erik Stålnacke SWE 165 points
3. Remo Madella ITA 162 points
4. Martin Fredholm SWE 157 points
5. Lennart Wahlgren SWE 154 points
Complete results and further information at http://eventor.orientering.no/Events/Show/6795 and http://eventor.orientering.no/Events/Show/6796.