Tim Robertson has produced the best result in over 20 years by a New Zealand man in a World Cup race with a stunning 5th place in the sprint final run early Monday morning in Wroclaw, Poland. In a complex old town with multiple route choice problems, Tim was 21s behind winner Matthias Kyburz of Switzerland and only 16 seconds from the bronze medal. Daniel Hubmann of Switzerland was second, with reigning World champion Jonas Leandersson of Sweden in 3rd. Earlier in the day, Tim had finished 2nd in his qualifying group. The other Kiwis in the men’s field, Toby Scott and Ross Morrison, did not qualify for the final and ran in the B final finishing 42nd and 29th respectively. New Zealand’s sole woman at World Cup 1, Lizzie Ingham, after being ill the previous weekend, did not start the sprint.
Mens Sprint Final (4.2 km): 1. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 14:33, 2. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 14:34, 3. Jonas Leandersson (SWE) 14:38, 4. Oystein Kvall Osterbo (NOR) 14:48, 5. Tim Robertson (NZL) 14:54, 6.Andreas Rueedlinger (SUI) 14:55, 7. Soren Bobach (DEN) 14:57, 8. Emil Svensk (SWE) 14:59, 9. Martin Regborn (SWE) 15:01, 10. Albin Ridefelt (SWE) 15:06.
The previous day all 4 Kiwis had run in what turned out to be a rugged middle distance where many top runners had problems on the steep slopes, particularly in the green and stony areas. In the women’s 5.4 km race Lizzie finished 44th in a field in which only the first 3 women got under 40 minutes. In the men’s race Ross, Toby and Tim were all very close together some 10 minutes off the winning pace in a race completely dominated by the Norwegians and Swedes..
Mens Middle (6.5 km): 1. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 35:19, 2. Carl Godager Kaas (NOR) 36:26, 3. Albin Ridefelt (SWE) 36:33, 4. Johan Runesson (SWE) 36:40, 5. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 36:48, 6. Magne Dahli (NOR) 37:21, 80. Ross Morrison (NZL) 45:09, 87. Toby Scott (NZL) 47:02, 89. Tim Tobertson (NZL) 47:17.
Women’s Middle (5.4km): 1. Helena Jansson (SWE) 38:31, 2. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 38:33, 3. Svetlana Mironova (RUS) 39:59, 4. Merja Rantanen (FIN) 40:09, 5. Venla Harju (FIN) 40:14, 6. Maja Alm (DEN) 40:22, 44. Lizzie Ingham (NZL) 46:43.
The first round of the World Cup finishes tonight with a sprint relay in which NZL is not fielding a team.