A brilliant first leg by Jo Allison (6th place, just 80 seconds down) set up the team for a great result, and put them in the hunt for medals with the leading nations. Grace Elson then kept up the pace and put the team into 7th after 2 legs. The podium was looking a little out of reach, with the six powerful women’s nations SUI, SWE, RUS, CZE, FIN and NOR ahead.Minna Kauppi (FIN) ran brilliantly on the last leg to take the lead and defend Finland gold from 2007. This was also Kauppi’s 2nd gold, and third medal of the week. After yesterday’s brilliant 14th in the long distance final, Kathryn Ewels finished off a great week to come in 8th place.
In a dramatic last loop on the men’s relay, GBR took out gold in a sprint ahead of RUS. Thierry Gueorgiou appeared to injure himself while in the lead with only one kilometer to go. The TracTrac view saw him make a basic mistake on the way to control 23, but after he recovered he seemed to stop for around a minute in the control circle. First RUS, then GBR went by while 5 time World Middle Distance Champion Gueorgiou limped home. Although Jamie Stevenson (GBR) had run yesterday, he was still able to outsprint Valentin Novikov in the run home. This was GBR’s first WOC gold in the men’s relay.
I can report that Thierry Gueorgiou FRA suffered an allergic reaction after being bitten by an insect, that is why he had to stop. He should be OK again in a relatively short time.
Australia finished 15th after a great last leg from Julian Dent (11th fastest on the leg). Dent ran most of the last leg on his own, and was able to pull in a number of nations on the last loop. Earlier, David Shepherd finished 18th on the first leg, and Simon Uppill 20th on the second leg.