The MTBO World Cup 2016 ended with a double Czech victory. In a very technical Sprint race, Krystof Bogar and Martina Tichovska performed amazingly, getting the season’s last gold medals. With these results, both athletes could move up a couple of spots in the World Cup overall standings, finishing in an honourable third place.
A perfect day for the perfect ending of the MTBO season in another wonderful area. For the third day in a row, the best in the world biked on terrain that was as beautiful as it was challenging, searching for the perfect race and the best possible result. Lampėdžiai, a western suburban area of Kaunas, was the venue of the last World Cup stage of the MTBO season for a Sprint keenly contested by 65 Men and 46 Women Elite competitors.
After his two victories in the preceding stages, the Estonian Lauri Malsroos tried hard to get another gold, but he didn’t achieve his goal after an astonishing race from the Czech Krystof Bogar, a real devil in the forest today. After a long break, Bogar returned to competition this season and one could see from the beginning that he was here again to challenge the best. It took a whole season to get the desired result, but he didn’t miss in his last real chance. A terrific win in 25:55 and a 1:05 advantage over Malsroos was the final result. “It was a very technical race. I was able to avoid big mistakes, trying to bike as fast as I could in this difficult and very technical terrain and it went well,” were Bogar’s first words. Talking about the Lithuanian round, Bogar rates it highly: “Nice races, nice terrain, even though my performances were far from perfection on the other days because I always got lost. But not today,” he said. This was the perfect end to the season and is also a motivation for the 2017 season, as we can see from Bogar’s last words: “To repeat today’s good performance when returning to Lithuania and going for the gold will definitely be my goal for the next year.”
In the Women Elite, yesterday’s winner Marika Hara, Finland had a big crash close to the finish, and so lost the fight for the gold at a moment when she was in the lead. Martina Tichovska, Czech Republic, had a quite impressive race and could reach gold with the time of 28:22. Emily Benham and Ingrid Stengard got the next positions, less than one minute after the winner. Tichovska’s victory was unexpected, according to her words: “No, I didn’t expect to win today. During the race I could see that things were going well when I caught the two girls in front of me, and I’m very happy with the final result.” Being the last race of the season, this victory had a special meaning for Tichovska: “I’m very happy for winning the last race, after a not-really-bad season but a season that didn’t satisfy me.” Evaluating the World Cup round in Lithuania, the Czech athlete talks enthusiastically about “the very beautiful terrain” and starts looking forward to the next World MTB Orienteering Championships, if … she gets the necessary motivation: “I’m not sure about being here next year. Life is complicated. But if so, the goal will be a medal. The Scandinavian girls and Emily [Benham] are all very strong, and I don’t think in gold medal terms” were her last words.
Complete results and further information at http://www.mtbo.lt/.