WOC2011 Relays – France triumphs in the men and Finland wins first gold of the week in the women!

The Australian women’s team have finished 14th in a hard fought race out of 27 competing countries. Many mistakes were made by the leading teams and Finland (1:42:43) finished triumphant with Minna Kauppi sprinting into the finish closely followed by Dana Brozkova from the Czech Republic (1.42.43) and  Sweden (1:42:44), fractions of a second apart. Then Norway (1.43.38) and Denmark (1.43.45). Estonia rounded out the top 6 in a time of 1.43.45. A very exciting finish as the Czech team were leading after the first leg and the lead changed numerous times as each runner made different mistakes.

Jasmine Neve came in about four and a half minutes down after the first leg (21st on leg) and Vanessa Round (20th on leg) made up time in the first half of the second leg only to lose time in the final bit of the course. Grace Crane (7th  on leg) went out in her usual calm manner and had a clean, fast run to finish in front of New Zealand who lost time in the 2nd and 3rd legs after Lizzie Ingham (6th on leg) had a great first leg.

14th place is one place down on last years relay in Norway for the Aussie girls.

In the men’s race as expected France has triumphed, it has been a great week for Thierry Gueorgiou. Norway came in 2nd position and Sweden finished with a bronze medal. Switzerland, Russia and Lithuania rounded out the top 6 places.

Australia was in 12th position after Simon Uppill (12th on leg) and Julian Dent (16th on leg). They both maintained steady runs with an error on control 15 which was a pit in a vague green area. Rob Preston (22nd on leg) maintained a steady run but made some errors. The team finished 25.27 minutes down from the winning time in 16th position. This is one place better than last year.

Congratulations to the Australian team, including their team leaders and physio for completing a tough world championships and continuing to build on previous results and improve performances.