Tassie’s Tom Goddard displayed great consistency in his debut Jwoc to again place highly, this time 10th in the middle championships held in Pozzolo di Villaga. He lost several minutes on one control but otherwise was extremely happy with his ride. The winner Krystof Bogar, at 17 years is probably the youngest ever MTBO winner. However he is a real talent, having already won in the elite class at the Czech 5 days.
For the remainder of the Australian team it was largely a day to forget. Chris Firman and Oscar Phillips had messy rides, with trouble in some of the more detailed areas. Marc Gluskie deserves a pat on the back for getting into the top 20 (and his best jwoc individual result) after a traumatic crash in warm-up made his bike temporarily unrideable. Despite landing heavily on a shoulder, getting his bike back 2 minutes before his start and making mistakes early on he regathered to finish the course well.
Melanie Simpson, in women’s elite, made a major mistake early on and then navigated very well, but with the depth now in the women, this cost her some 20 places. The win went again to popular Austrian Michi Gigon, giving her the 7th gold medal of her career, 5 of which have been in the middle.
The men’s elite had double disappointment for our two starters. Steve Cusworth busted a seatpost and rode the last 20 minutes or so standing up, so his 34rd was commendable in the circumstances. After an uphill climb towards no 1 Alex Randall had some trouble and inadvertently punched a nearby wrong control. Samuli Saarela, a 22-year-old student of mechanical engineering in Tampere, grabbed his second gold in Italy. Before him only Ruslan Gritsan won long and middle distance in the same edition of WMTBOC, in 2005. The strong Russian was second today, almost three minutes behind Saarela.
The men’s elite relay starts at 10.30am on Friday and the junior mens at 10.50am. This takes place in the village of Alonte and some of the terrain will involve quite complex vineyards. Teams and order are:
Elite – Steve Cusworth, Alex Randall, Oscar Phillips
Junior – Chris Firman, Tom Goddard, Marc Gluskie.
Kay Haarsma (coach)
1 54.56 Bogar Krystofcz (Czech)
2 58.58 Ludrik Vojtech (Czech)
3 59.00 Kaskinen Kare (Finland)
10 63.18 Tom Goddard
19 66.53 Marc Gluskie
27 68.48 Chris Firman
33 71.10 Oscar Phillips
69 77.03 Greg Bradshaw (NZ)
1 58.07 Michaela Gigon (Austria)
2 58.17 Anna Kaminska (Poland)
3 59.04 Rikke Kornvig (Denmark)
40 76.11 Melanie Simpson
1 55.56 Saarela Samuli (Finland)
2 58.42 Gritsan Ruslan (Russia)
3 59.37 Brietschadel Tobias (Austria)
34 67.54 Steve Cusworth
MP Alex Randall