The good performances of the Aussie MTBO team continued today in the Middle Distance Championships held in the forest adjacent to Montalegre, the host town. Adrian Jackson (67.14) again rode brilliantly to snare the silver medal, just being outpointed by the Flying Finn, Samuli Saarela by 40 seconds. The large Italian contingent went berserk with joy when it was confirmed that Luca Dallavalle had held on to third, to be Italy’s first ever MTBO medallist. Adrian, not having a top 10 world ranking due to not racing overseas since last year, wasn‘t eligible for a red group start at the end of the field. He thus was midway in the 94 starters and had to endure over an hour wait to see where he would finish.
Grant Lebbink unfortunately drew the very first start and was reasonably happy with his navigation, and finished in 48th position in 83 minutes. Alex Randall was very happy with his ride and was in the top 10 for a long time until slipping to 21st, in a time of 75 mins. A great result given the ever increasing depth of the competition. Steve Cusworth was unhappy when he finished due to many small time losses and some dubious route choices. However his 76 minute time and 25th place showed again what potential he has.
The elite girls saw Melanie Simpson place 25th in 69 minutes, with Mel rueing a 4 minute mistake when she inadvertently rode towards a later control. Mary Fien was relieved to get a solid result (27th in 70mins) in the middle distance after bad performances at previous championships and is looking forward with more confidence to the long. Austria’s Michaela Gigon again reasserted her status at the top of the women’s field with a speedy 60 minutes, ahead of Denmark’s Rikke Kornvig and Finn Marika Hara.
Unfortunately both junior championship races were declared void after a control was misplaced by 70 metres or so, being on a completely separate track junction. Our three riders found the control with losses of only about 30 seconds, as did most. Luke Poland had the presence of mind to take part of the tape that was in the correct place. Luke was stoked with his ride, having navigated really well after a scrappy ride in the sprint. He took 76 minutes. Chris Firman wasn’t so pleased with his 71 minute ride, so was surprised that he was placed approximately 18th. Marc Gluskie had some nav problems today taking 81.57mins but his fitness should see him bounce back in the long. The current plan is that the middle distance race is re-run tomorrow instead of the long prologue as planned, but we are awaiting details of how this will be organised and how the riders will be seeded for the actual long distance final.
The terrain was very hilly and winning times were 7-9 minutes longer than anticipated. Both Mary and Alex got caught up amidst different herds of cows whilst riding through a village. The finish saw riders coming through the streets of Montalegre for the final controls before finishing adjacent to the Cavado River on the edge of town. One item of interest is that all Scandinavian countries were represented for the first time, so the competition will only get stronger. The long distance qualification is tomorrow in the mountains behind Chaves, about an hour away.
Kay Haarsma (Team Coach)
For more details, and to view maps of the courses go to: World Championship Middle Distance event
The racing continues tonight with the Long Distance qualification event. You can follow that live from the following link: 2010 World MTBO Championships website
Start times for tonight’s Long Qualification (2 heats for each class):
Adrian Jackson 11:00 (20:00 AEST)
Grant Lebbink 11:00 (20:00 AEST)
Mary Fien 11:04 (20:04 AEST)
Alex Randall 11:15 (20:15 AEST)
Steven Cusworth 11:24 (20:24 AEST)
Mel Simpson 11:37 (20:37 AEST)
JWOC Middle Distance Final (new course):
Luke Poland 10:54 (19:54 AEST)
Marc Gluskie 11:10 (20:10 AEST)
Chris Firman 11:38 (20:38 AEST)