The Australian men’s team have been promoted to division 2 for 2017 after finishing 19th in yesterday’s relay, which concluded the World Championships. The first half of the relay was excellent for Australia, with Julian Dent finishing the first leg in 10th place and Simon Uppill climbing to 9th early in the course, but he was then caught by the chasing pack. The final leg ended up as a trans-Tasman battle between Leon Keely and Chris Forne, with the New Zealander narrowly winning the sprint finish.
After a good start, Krystal Neumann dropped off a closely bunched pack on the first leg. Vanessa Round regained some ground on a solid second leg, and by the arena passage on the last leg, Jo Allison was in a six-way battle for 13th place. The faster runners in the pack got away in the final sector and the team’s eventual result was 17th.
The Norwegian men led almost from the gun to the finish line; Carl Godagar Kaas had broken away from the pack by the third control and they never let the lead go thereafter. Switzerland occasionally threatened to challenge, getting within 40 seconds early on the final leg, but were never able to bridge the gap. Sweden won a close three-way battle for the bronze, with Ralph Street leading Great Britain to fourth for the third successive year.
Russia won their first women’s relay gold. They were in contention all day, although for much of the way, Finland were (slightly surprising) leaders. Natalia Gemperle, already a dual medallist this week, caught Merja Rantanen by the arena passage and then broke away on the last part of the course. Maja Alm’s last-leg charge through the field for Denmark looked likely to finish in a bronze, but it ended up being silver after Rantanen lost time at the second-last control.
Full results are available at the WOC website*.
*website no longer available