Historic Relay wins to Swiss and Czech. Australia 22nd.

Photo from World of O

Photo from World of O

Photo from World of O

Photo from World of O

Huge disappointment for our Australian relay teams today, with both finishing in 22ndposition. The first leg resembled more of a cross-country race, with runners being in a long conga line, especially in the larger men’s field.  Thus staying with the pack was essential.    Rachel Effeney led our women off and seemed below par, quickly falling behind and then being a bit scrappy navigation wise.   Thus Aislinn started off in 25thposition.  Her effort to improve caused several large mistakes and she returned in 23nd.   Vanessa Round had a somewhat lonely run but was clean navigationally, and she was 16th best on that leg to pull the team up to 22nd.   The best “down under” performance of the day came from Lizzie Ingham, with her first leg run that had her only 4 minutes down.

After the first leg Sweden was at the front of the pack, Switzerland was close behind and third at the changeover was USA, due to a fine run by Alison Crocker. At the end of the second leg, Sweden led Switzerland by 42 seconds with Russia and Norway changing over together, 2.57 down on the lead.   Swedish junior Tove Alexandersson  lost 90 seconds on the first control and  Simone Niggli went past and confidently strode around the rest of the course.   Her lead went out to 2 minutes 24 seconds by the end and this allowed her team-mates to have a long celebratory run in. Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg (Norway) was stronger than Tatiana Riabkina (Russia) on the day and brought Norway into a comfortable third place.

This was an historic race for Simone Niggli, bringing her WOC gold medal tally to 20!  She has has 7 minor WOC medals; 4 Jwoc medals and 54 World Cup wins to her credit.  The 34 year old started her WOC career in 1999.  Asked earlier in the week whether this home country WOC would be her last Niggli stated: “maybe ..but perhaps I would like to run again in Finland in 2013 as I have good memories of winning my first gold there (2001).  We will see.”

 

The race used the same arena as for the Long distance final, with a spectator passage about 10 minutes before the changeover/finish. With 4 TV controls and other in-forest shots, interspersed with lots of live tracking, spectators were kept in touch with the action throughout.

 

David Brickhill-Jones was our lead runner and stayed with the pack until just over half way around.  Going into no 12 he was only about 90 seconds down on the lead, and in a heavy throng of runners, but he initially missed the control and struggled to relocate, dropping about 2 and a half minutes.   At this level this was irretrievable and he lost further ground coming in 22nd and over 7 minutes down.  Simon Uppill  appeared to navigate well except for an excursion into some dark green en route to no 7, but still emerged in 24th   Julian Dent anchored the team home with a 16th best time, which enabled the team to place 22nd.

 

At the front of the field  Czech, Norway and Sweden went out on the last led together with the Swiss lurking a minute back.  It wasn’t until the second last control, when Czech Jan Procházka surged to the front, that the trio were split.   Given that the margin was just 6 seconds his team-mates saved their celebration until he safely crossed the finishing line.  This was the first ever relay medal for the Czech men, and a gold one at that!   Norwegian Olav Lundanes was very disappointed after his race, after leading at the second last control and then losing the gold medal.

He said “It is difficult to be happy about this when we get the silver medal for the third time in a row. But at least we are closer. “

 

MEN

Czech Republic                 1.40:00

Tomáš Dlabaja                   33:41                     +0:24

Jan Šedivý                           32:49                      0:00

Jan Procházka                    33:30                     0:00

 

2 Norway                             1:40:06     +0:06

Magne Daehli                    33:44                     +0:27

Carl Waaler Kaas               33:26                     +0:40

Olav Lundanes                  32:56                      +0:06

 

3 Sweden                            1:40:11     +0:11

Jonas Leandersson          33:33                     +0:16

Peter Öberg                       33:08                     +0:11

Anders Holmberg            33:30                     +0:11

 

4 Switzerland                    1:41:21     +1:21

5 France                               1:42:56    +2:56

6 Denmark                          1:43:08     +3:08

 

22           Australia              1:55:45     +15:45

David Brickhill-Jones       40:28                     +7:11

Simon Uppill                       38:17                     +12:15

Julian Dent                          37:00                     +15:45

 

25 New Zealand               2:04:42                 +24:42

Ross Morrison                   40:33                     +7:16

Thomas Reynolds            42:12                     +16:15

Toby Scott                           41:57                     +24:42

 

WOMEN

1 Switzerland                    1:44:54

Ines Brodmann                   35:27                     +0:01

Judith Wyder                     35:49                     +0:42

Simone Niggli-Luder       33:38

 

2 Sweden                            1:47:18    +2:24

Annika Billstam                                 35:26                     0:00

Helena Jansson                                 35:08                      0:00

Tove Alexandersson                         36:44                     +2:24

 

3 Norway                             1:48:11                 +3:17

Silje Ekroll Jahren             36:35                     +1:09

Mari Fasting                       36:56                     +2:57

Anne Margrethe H-Nordberg 34:40         +3:17

 

4 Russia                                1:48:38     +3:44

5 Finland                             1:51:41    +6:47

6 Denmark                          1:52:21     +7:27

 

19 New Zealand               2:14:34                 +29:40

Lizzie Ingham                     39:26                     +4:00

Kate Morrison                   48:57                     +17:49

Amber Morrison              46:11                     +29:40

 

22           Australia              2:17:53     +32:59

Rachel Effeney                  45:56                     +10:30

Aislinn Prendergast         49:43                     +25:05

Vanessa Round                 42:14                     +32:59