WOC2018 Middle course in Laurenči, Sigulda came up with surprises. The thrill was present to the very last moment and –as a result mai favourites didn’t get thegold they were craving for.
There were 71 ladies on the start lane for 4.8 kilometres long course with 17controls. Hardly anyone believed that Tove Alexandersson, current World Cup leader could miss her “hat trick” getting the gold for the third year in a row. However, the beginning of the course turned into a disaster. Starting from the last position, Tove didn’ t manage to complete the course. She withdraw turning her arrived to the finish without the result but with a smile on her face – Velnala (Devil’s Cave) had used its evil charms against Tove and one of the cotrols took her about 15 minutes.
As a result, Russian Natalia Gemperle got her first ever Middle distance gold – she was the bronze medallist back in 2016. It took a minute and a half longer to reach the finish for Finland’s Marika Teini, the current champion of Europe. It was Marika’s first World championships medal in her career. Frenchwoman Isia Basset won bronze, finishing 5 seconds ahead of Sabine Hauswirth from Switzerland.
Unfortunately, some competitors had to seek for medical aid because of wasp attacks on the very start of the course.
Since the absolute Middle Distance King Thierry Gueorgiou announced his retirement after winning his eighth Middle gold in 2017 in Estonia (altogether Thierry has won 14 World golds), the top of the podium is not sealed anymore.
So 78 contenders were ready to fight the 5.9 kilometres of the Gauja ravines and steep slopes. The speed went up and up until Norwegian Eskil Kinnebergfinished just a second below course setter’s predicted 33 minutes. It is his first individual medal. The main favourite – the King of Old Riga labyrinths Daniel Hubmann finished just 6 seconds later. Hubmann’s silver was secured by an incredible speed in the very last part of the course when he pushed down his teammate Florian Howald, still letting Florian win his first individual medal with 14 second margin from the champion. European Champion Swiss Matthias Kyburz ranked fourth (+00:23), Ukrainian Oleksandr Kratov – fifth (+00:39) while four times Long Distance Champion Olav Lundanes from Norway managed to recover from several mistakes and stay only 43 seconds after the leader - in the sixth position.
WOC continues with Relay on Thursday.