WSOC: Kechkina and Rost take Middle Distance crowns

Two intense competitions ended in narrow victories for Mariya Kechkina, Russia (by 10 seconds) and Erik Rost, Sweden (5 seconds). Sixteen men finished within a minute of the winner.

It was fast and furious skiing with several changes in the lead as the field fanned out after the mass starts. Tove Alexandersson, Sweden was the strongest woman skier as always, but Kechkina was that shade more accurate, especially in the very final stages. Alexandersson was in the lead for much of the middle part of the course. Behind the fight for gold and silver there was quite a gap – 1.52 – before the bronze medallist Alena Trapeznikova, Russia finished. Sweden had three in the top six finishers.

In the men’s race, Rost appeared the strongest and was always up in the leading group. But it came to a huge sprint finish in the end, with Audun Heimdal, Norway just 5 seconds behind and Gion Schnyder, Switzerland a further 6 seconds down. This was the first race in the championships where Russia has failed to get a medal, but they packed three into the next three places, just 14 seconds down on the winner.

Tomorrow is Relay day, the final day of the Championships; the women’s race starts at 12.30 and the men’s at 13.20.

Leading results, Middle distance

Women

  1. Mariya Kechkina RUS 44:52
  2. Tove Alexandersson SWE 45:02
  3. Alena Trapeznikova RUS 46:44
  4. Anna Ulvensoen NOR 47:21
  5. Linda Lindkvist SWE 47:26
  6. Evelina Wickbom SWE 47:39

Men

  1. Erik Rost SWE 52:36
  2. Audun Heimdal NOR 52:41
  3. Gion Schnyder SUI 52:47
  4. Sergey Gorlanov RUS 52:50
  5. Vladislav Kiselev RUS 52:51
  6. Andrey Lamov RUS 52:52

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