Riders from 19 nations are heading for Poland this week to compete in the European MTB Orienteering Championships, which consist of two individual competitions and a Mixed Relay. The three competitions also contribute to the three-round 2019 MTBO World Cup. The competitions are being held in and around the town of Strzelin in southern Poland, famous for its huge granite quarries.
Nations can enter up to 6 women and 6 men for each individual competitions. The biggest teams entered are from Austria (10), Czech Republic (12), Finland (10), France (8), Poland (12), Russia (13) and Sweden (8).
The programme starts on Saturday 8 June with the Relay, for teams of three with at least one woman. Nations can enter up to four teams. The terrain for this competition and the Mass Start (Day 3) is moderately hilly, with riding conditions on the paths and tracks described as “from terrible to very good”!
The Sprint comes the following day – partly in forest and partly in urban areas. Here the women cover 8.6 km and the men 10.2 km (by optimal routes) with a planned winning time of 20-25 minutes in both races. Sprint MTBO is fast and furious!
The final day, 10 June, is a Long Distance with Mass Start where expected winning times are 75-85 minutes. The women’s course is 20.2 km in length with 360 m climb, and the men’s 25.4 km + 485 m (optimal routes). A serious physical challenge here as well as, no doubt, plenty of route choices to be made and correctly executed in the forest.
All the races start at 10.00 local time. Full details of all the races can be found in the bulletins on the event website www.emtboc2019.pl. Riders will carry GPS units, and the tracking will be put on the event website after each race.
Three-round World Cup
Will the Czech star Krystof Bogar succeed in defending his World Cup title from last season? The always-strong Russian team that includes Ruslan Gritsan and Anton Foliforov will be strong challengers, along with the up-and-coming Swiss rider Simon Braendli and the Czech Vojtech Ludvik. With no Martina Tichovska in the Czech team this time, Veronika Kubinova may take the leading Czech placings in the women’s races – challenged hard no doubt by the Dane Camilla Søgaard.
The 2019 MTBO World Cup comprises eight individual competitions, and in addition there are four relay competitions making up the Team World Cup. The World MTBO Championships to be held in Denmark at the end of July/beginning of August is also Round 2 of the World Cup, and Round 3 is in Germany from 4th to 6th October.
Photo by Rainer Burmann