Solveig Lovseth won the individual women’s title on Tuesday, Vetle Bergsvik Thorn the men’s on Wednesday, and on Saturday the Team Norway train powered on in Krakow when the pair joined forces with Lotte Miller and Casper Stornes to earn a brilliant Mixed Relay title at the 2023 European Games.
Thorn had taken the first leg on and was once again carving through the Krakow streets with Adrien Briffod, but an equipment penalty would see the Swiss out of contention later on. Miller kept the Norwegians in the hunt before an outstanding Stornes leg saw him hand over to Lovseth and, despite being caught in the water, the women’s champion was able to dig in on the bike and again on the run to hold off the attentions of GB’s Sian Rainsley and surge to the line just ahead of her rival.
Great Britain would take the silver, Marta Kropko steering the Hungarian team safely home for bronze.
Thorn on point once again
With the likes of the Swiss Briffod, Italy’s Michelle Sarzilla and Thorn lining up and tackling the first leg, that opening 300m swim was always going to be a good test of pure power as the athletes looked to set their teams off on the right foot.
Gergely Kiss had the advantage out of the water and into T1, however, Sarzilla and Poland’s own Michal Oliwa for close company, the likes of Spain’s David Cantero del Campo and Yanis Seguin for France among four athletes already 18 seconds off the front.
Eleven men were riding together up ahead through the wet streets focussed on both keeping the pace and making no mistakes, and into T2 GB’s Barclay Izzard took a tumble, leaving Briffod, Thorn and Germany’s Jonas Osterholt to pull clear.
Briffod and Thorn were in the box seat, Ireland’s James Edgar handing to Erin McConnell in third 8 seconds back, Germany 9 seconds, while the likes of GB, France and Spain were north of 20 seconds adrift after leg one.
Crash breaks up rhythm
Miller maintained the advantage for Norway, chased hard by Switzerland’s Alissa Konig the flying Jeanne Lehair for Luxembourg and Zsanett Bragmayer for Hungary and now there were seven women riding together – Norway, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and GB’s Sophie Allen after an outstanding swim, just Matilde Gauthier for France chasing hard and alone behind.
That group broke up when Selina Klamt and Konig came off, also drastically slowing Lehair and co behind them while Miller, Bragmayer and Alden were able to take full advantage and pull away, each corner even more carefully navigated than the last.
Onto the run, that trio had six seconds over Italy’s Verena Steinhauser and 8 seconds over Lehair, but Bragmayer was onto the gas and away fastest over the 1km run. Lehair was soon picking off those ahead and pulled alongside the Hungarian by the end of the run, handing over to Lucas Cambresy.
Italy turn up the heat
Gianluca Pozzatti took over for Italy 10 seconds off the front, Norway’s Stornes 11 seconds back, GB, Spain and France +25 seconds. Once again Hungary’s strong swimmers put them back in control, this time Gergo Dobi pulling away out front.
Stornes then powered his way to the front early on the bike, Pozzatti joining him in dropping Dobi, Denmark’s Emil Holm now into fourth and Alberto Gonzalo Garcia hauling the Spanish into contention along with GB’s Connor Bentley, Valentin Morlec of France and the Swiss Sylvain Fridelance.
Stornes storms Norway into lead
The Italian and Norwegian were out onto the run first, Gonzalez in hot pursuit, but it was Stornes pulling away up ahead to give Tuesday’s women’s champion Solveig Lovseth a very useful 8-second advantage over Spain and Italy picking up the final leg.
Denmark, GB and Hungary were just 13 seconds back and there were seven teams still in thunt with only 20 seconds separating them.
An incredible Cecilia Santamaria Surroca swim put Spain into the lead by the final buoy and she stretched the gap up to an impressive 5 seconds, Rainsley going well in second for GB, Kropko and Hungary third heading onto the bike.
Lovseth makes decisive move
The title was still anyone’s to call between seven nations as Lovseth put Norway back into the lead on the bike, GBR, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Spain and Denmark all hanging tough, but it was Lovseth driving the pace and looking to shake off the Italian Prestia.
Only Rainsley was able to stay on her back wheel, the remaining five coming together now six seconds back into the last T2 of the day.
Lovseth was out first, Rainsley losing time in transition and caught by Kropko and Gmur for Switzerland and soon all four were shoulder-to-shoulder. Lovseth and Rainsley pulled away again at the halfway and Gmur had to serve a time penalty for Adrien Briffod’s earlier infraction in transition, and suddenly it was between Norway, GBR and Hungary with 200m to go.
Solveig Lovseth dug in hard over the closing stages and it was all smiles for Team Norway at the line as they took their third title of a brilliant European Games campaign, Rainsley and GBR over the line for silver, Marta Kropko’s Hungary with the bronze.
For the full results, click here.
Related Event: 2023 Krakow-Malopolska European Games
|Results: Elite Men
|Vetle Bergsvik Thorn
|Results: Elite Women
|Results: Mixed Relay
|Team I Norway
|Team I Great Britain
|Team I Hungary
|Team I Switzerland
|Team I Spain
|Team I Italy
|Team I Denmark
|Team I France
|Team I Austria
|Team I Slovakia