The Sprint gold medals have been won today by the Swiss pair Judith Wyder and Matthias Kyburz in two very close races in the hilly town of Jeseník, Czech Republic.
It was a very successful day overall for the Swiss team, with four men in the first six in the results list. The men’s race was run first and an early leader was the very experienced Swiss Daniel Hubmann, who ended finally in fifth place. He held the lead for some time until his compatriot Floran Howald, faster from the start, bettered the time by 23 seconds. Howald finished in bronze medal position, his first championship medal as a senior. Martin Regborn, Sweden was also in contention for a while, but the race developed into a very tight fight between Howald and the two sprint stars Gustav Bergman, Sweden and the Swiss Matthias Kyburz. The latter was some 10 seconds off the pace for much of the race, but found an extra gear for the last quarter of the race to pull up and overtake both Howald and Bergman in the final sequence of controls.
Kyburz was World Sprint Champion in 2012 on home ground, and additionally has won 8 World Cup Sprint races.
In the women’s race, world champion Maja Alm had a relatively early start after finishing twelfth in her qualification heat in the morning, and she was the leader in the finish by 23 seconds for some considerable time. Galina Vinogradova, Russia was the first to be faster than Maja over the first half of the course, but she slowed and finished in exactly the same time – for the shared bronze medal position as it turned out. Finland’s Merja Rantanen was also up with the fastest for a long period but ended slightly slower.
Judith Wyder and the Ukrainian Nadiya Volynska (last to start) both showed early on that they were going for gold, with Volynska quickest by 11 seconds at the half-way point. But Wyder ran a very quick middle section and pulled out all the stops to take victory by 5 seconds with Volynska getting the silver medal. Judith Wyder is clearly back to her 2014 form where she won gold in sprint at both the World and the European Championships.
Full results can be viewed on www.eoc2016.cz.
Next in the programme, tomorrow, is the Long Distance qualification race, starting at 10.00.
Judith Wyder SUI 14:23
Nadiya Volynska UKR 14:28
Galina Vinogradova RUS 14:32
Matthias Kyburz SUI 13:42
Gustav Bergman SWE 13:44
Florian Howald SUI 13:45