Norway wins dramatic sprint finish in JWOC relay
Friday, 13 July 2007
Norway won the women's gold medal in the JWOC relay on Friday after a dramatic sprint finish. Sweden's Jenny Lonnkvist, after setting out with the lead, opened a gap on the field of over a minute, and looked set to take the gold when she still had a minute in hand at the start of the final loop. Siri Ulvestad, though, was closing the gap, and when Lonnkvist lost time on the final loop they hit the pre-warning almost together. Lonnkvist still had a narrow lead at the final control, but Ulvestad overtook her in the chute and held on to win by a metre.
The bronze was also decided in the final loop, as Switzerland's Sabine Hauswirth overtook the Finnish and Czech runners to take third. Russia completed the podium in sixth.
After a close first loop, Jan Benes, who had previously had a disappointing week, ran a fabulous second leg for the Czech Republic to open up a clear lead on the field. At one stage he was nearly two minutes up, and he handed over a minute ahead. It didn't look enough, with double gold medallist Olav Lundanes running last leg for Norway, but Adam Chromy ran a superbly controlled race, maintaining the gap between 30 seconds and a minute throughout to give the Czechs an upset win.
Latvia's bronze was equally unexpected; the Czech second team were ahead of them but do not count officially. Sweden were fourth, Switzerland fifth and Finland sixth.
The Australian women recovered from a slow start to finish 11th, whilst the men were 19th, the highlight being Simon Uppill's second leg where he ran a similar time to Benes.
A link to official results will be added once all teams are in.