The MTB competition on the track in Krynica attracted a lot of attention. Around 3 000 fans turned up around the track. The Poles finished off the podium, but there was no shortage of emotions.
Thanks to its location, Krynica-Zdrój is the capital of Polish MTB. No wonder that the European Games in this discipline were organised on the picturesque Parkowa Mountain.
-There are quite a lot of off-road obstacles in the plans for this track (tables, pumptrack, lumberjack, rockgarden, K, rollers and droppers) and all in a fairly condensed space, so perfect for spectating – announced the contractor.
The best in the world competed on the track in Krynica
The competition was under threat. They were scheduled for Sunday, because that was when, as rightly assumed, the largest number of fans could turn up. A few days before the downhill races, it rained heavily in Krynica. Fortunately, the staff maintained the track on a daily basis and the fans and athletes were able to enjoy the competition between the best mountain bikers in the world. There were 19.5 kilometres to ride. The women had five laps on the schedule, the men six. One round was 3.9 km long.
The women started. Among the Poles, the best was Aleksandra Podgórska, who finished the race in 21st place.
“I am very happy with my result. I took 21st place. The fans did not disappoint, I could feel their support. I really like the track where we compete. It’s a very fun event. There was plenty of excitement,” she said at the finish.
The competition was won by Puck Pieterse. The 21-year-old from the Netherlands took one hour and eighteen minutes to complete the course. Austrian silver medallist Mona Mitterwallner was 26 seconds slower. Swiss Sina Frei, who stood on the last step of the podium, lost one minute and five seconds to Pieterse.
Among the observers was former Polish mountain biker great Maja Włoszczkowska.
“Puck was among the favourites. She won the MTB world cup. I lost my last competition, the MTB marathon world championships in 2021, to Mitterwallner. Frei is a silver medallist at the Olympic Games. Jolanda Neff, who finished fourth, won gold in Tokyo,” concluded Włoszczowska, a World Championships gold medallist who ended her career in 2021.
Difficult start for the Poles
The men’s competition was won by Vlad Dalscau from Romania. Switzerland’s Lars Forster took silver and Italy’s Luca Braidot, world and European champion, took bronze. The Poles finished outside the top ten. Krzysztof Łukasik was the highest placed Polish rider, attacking the top ten for a while before finishing seventeenth.
“The route was very nice, the organisers had a difficult task after the heavy downpour over Krynica, but they did a great job. As a competitor I was satisfied. The biggest challenge for me was the starting position. I got stuck at the start and couldn’t move forward afterwards. I ran out of strength and lost my position, but I am satisfied because the level of the competition was very high,” he assessed.