Great opening at Maihaugen
The Swedes dominated the prologue at the beautiful Maihaugen in Lillehammer on tuesday. But in the end, Belgium and Switzerland were victorious.
By: Eirik Knutsen
The first day of the World Championship was a great success. It all started with XCE – Eliminator, and with the whole world elite lining up, there were a lot of nervous faces at the starting line.
During the prologue the Swedes showed us why they are here. Jenny Rissveds raced first of the girls and set the bar high. And no one reached up. On the men’s side, Belgian Fabrice Mels took the lead followed by Swedish Matthias Wengelin and Emil Lindgren.
Showing his strength through the day winning the prologue and qualifying through each eliminating final, Mels was ready for the finally.
– I was off to a bad start, but when Daniel Federspiel overturned I had a window. I had to work really hard to catch up to Lindgren, says Mels.
In the last turn, only meters away from the finish line, Lindgren crashes into Kevin Miquel who won all the qualifying rounds and had the lead in the finally.
– I saw them crash into each other and suddenly the track was clear for me to give it all and win the whole thing, says the proud World Champion who does admit he had luck on his side this time.
The Swiss ladies dominated
While Swedish Jenny Rissveds secured first place in the prologue, the Swiss girls got three out of the four first spots in the prologue. Kathrin Strinemann got third, but ended up to be the one with the World Champion-jersey.
– When I was little I told my mother that one day I would be the World Champion, and now I am! It’s a dream come true and this is the best day of my life, says World Champion Kathrin Strinemann.
According to the Swiss team, Strinemann took the 104th medal for the Swiss team, and Linda Indergand the 105th with her silver medal. Indergang was very happy that Strinemann got the gold, and was not at all bitter about finishing second.
– I am extremely happy with this silver medal, it’s perfect for me and Kathrin deserves the gold, says Indergang.
With three Norwegians at the starting line, the chances of a medal were limited. All of them still managed to qualify. Ingvild Bøe Jacobsen delivered and made it all the way to the finally.
– My only goal was to get to the finally on home turf. I had no expactations about a medal, so I am really happy with this bronze medal, says Bøe Jacobsen.
Jenny Rissveds showed extreme confidence during the prologue and qualifying rounds. But the Swedes gold-hope did not finish as expected. Rissveds was in second behind Bøe Jacobsen heading for the first hill. At the top the Norwegian had some trouble in the track and the leading girls were suddenly last as Rissveds was right behind Bøe Jacobsen.
Although the gap to the Swiss girls decreased, the bad luck would not end. In the last turn before the finish line Rissveds was not able to steer away from Bøe Jacobsen and they crash into each other. Bøe Jacobsen is a bit faster and Rissveds has to watch her chances of a medal fade away.
After finishing Rissveds was clearly disappointed and did not wish to talk to media.