Another hot day greeted the riders for the 3rd day’s racing in a row. There were a number of teams in contention for medals, but the results were not predicted by many.
The terrain was flat and fast, with a good density of tracks allowing for high-speed racing but concentration required to ensure that tracks were not missed when approaching at speed. A long first leg split the field up as the optimum routes for different gaffles split straight away at the start kite. After a regrouping of the gaffles out of the first woodland area, there was a large group of 11 teams at the front of the men’s race which had all the main contenders except the Russian 1st team who were in a 2nd group with France and the Czech 2nd team 20 seconds back. A few more changes on the 1st leg saw Yoann Garde of France come back 1st closely followed by the Czech Republic 1, Austria, Sweden and Russia close behind. During the 2nd leg the Swedish team pulled clear after riding cleanly and had a 1:30 lead through the spectator control, but a slightly longer gaffle in the last part allowed Russia and the Czech Republic 2 to gain time to finish just 30 seconds behind, with a 1:30 gap back to a chasing bunch including Italy, both Finnish teams, Austria and the Czech Republic 1. Grigory Medvedev (Russia) and Vojtech Stransky (Czech Republic 2) were quickly catching Viktor Larsson (Sweden) and there was soon a trio at the front, although Stransky missed at number 3 leaving the Russian’s and Sweden’s to fight out the victory. Coming through the spectator control the Russian’s held a slender lead over Sweden, but a fast riding Krystof Bogar (Czech Republic 1) was quickly making up ground and was only 30 seconds back having overhauled his compatriot. However, all 3 leading times rode cleanly through the last section and the Russian’s took a first victory at the World Champs, with a surprise silver medal for Sweden just 9 seconds behind. Bogar rode the fastest time of the day by a minute and a half to pull the Czech Republic 1 up from 7th to 3rd.
In the women’s race, a strong lead group of 5 formed early consisting of Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Sweden and Lithuania who were soon joined by Spain and Finland, who stormed through to take the lead after the 1st leg with Mervi Pesu sprinting clear with a 10-second advantage over Russia. These 2 teams raced round together until a mistake by Middle Distance champion Olga Shipilova Vinogrodova allowed Antonia Haga to break free. The Finn’s kept the lead through the spectator control with the Russian’s not far behind but a mistake from Haga allowed Shipilova to catch up and send Svetlana Poverina out for Russia in the lead on the last leg. A fast ride from Czech Republic’s Veronika Kubinova pulled them up into 2nd place having overtaken Finland who lost a lot of time on the penultimate control. The leading 2 teams soon joined up and rode round much of the course together with Martina Tichovska of Czech Republic taking the lead early on but unable to shake the Russian team until the spectator control where she was able to power away to take a convincing victory over the Russian team who kept hold of 2nd place, with the Finnish team keeping their gap over Lithuania and Sweden.
Men – 33km, 480m
Women – 29.1km, 390m