European Championships: Middle Distance Finals in Skattungbyn
The first European Champions of 2012 were crowned today. Simone Niggli (Switzerland) retained her women’s title in emphatic fashion taking victory by 1:25 from Finland’s Minna Kauppi. Olav Lundanes (Norway) swept away the opposition in the men’s race to take his first international senior middle distance title, 1:19 ahead of defending champion Valentin Novikov (Russia).
Three Irish competitors were running in the B-finals. The terrain was more technical and physical than the qualifications. Niamh finished in 16th with a technically solid run in 48:20, with Roz 22nd in 56:24. Roz comments that the courses were well planned and brought you through a variety of types of terrain (see map to right). In the men’s, Hugh ran a good race to finish 43rd in a high quality field and was pleased. All of the Irish loved the steep uphill finish and were smiling* crossing the line (*may be a lie). The B-finals were won by Lea Vercellotti (France) and Martin Hubmann (Switzerland).
The long distance final returns to Skattungbyn tomorrow. Starts are at 11:15 in the men’s and 11:45 in the women’s. Can Simone make it two-in-a-row and retain her long distance title? In the absence of Hubmann and Gueorgiou, can anyone stop Lundanes from taking his second gold? Can the Swedes get amongst the medals? And most importantly, how will Hugh get on in the B-final? Tune in tomorrow onwww.eoc2012.se for GPS tracking and live results.