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Mathys retains her title in gun-to-tape fashion in Skopje

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  • Mathys retains her title in gun-to-tape fashion in Skopje

A year on from her victory in Kamnik, Switzerland’s Maude Mathys did more than just retain her title at the European Mountain Running Championships in Skopje today (1). This time she simply obliterated the rest of the field, winning by more than four minutes over the 11km course.

Mathys, 31, is a brilliant all-round athlete and after victory 12 months ago when she won by 81 seconds, her triumph on the Vodno Mountains came courtesy of a brilliant gun-to-tape display on a day where France celebrated gold in the senior women’s team event.

The finishing line was not even in sight when Mathys had her hands in the air to celebrate, after taking the 62-strong women’s field apart from the very start and never looking back.

What a year it has been for Mathys having also won the Zurich Marathon in April in 2:31:17. She will not be competing at the European Championships in Berlin this summer but she does harbour long-term aspirations of contesting the marathon at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Also a European ski mountaineering team bronze medallist in 2012, Mathys has become the individual female star of these championships as she won in 52:32 over France’s Anais Sabrie in 56:41 and Great Britain’s Emma Gould in 57:48.

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On this up-and-down course, with trees so close to the course and spectators almost able to touch the runners, Mathys made a great start as the rest of the field discovered what a tough morning it would be.

At the first checkpoint after 2.4km, she passed through in 15:54 with a lead of 59 seconds from France’s Christel Dewalle with Germany’s Domenika Mayer in third in 17:02, four seconds ahead of Sabrie with Gould three seconds further back.

Three kilometres later, Mathys’ dominance was further on show as she led by nearly two minutes after 5.4km in 26:04 from Mayer in 28:07 with Sabrie now into third in 28:07.

As the temperatures started to climb, Austrian Julia Praxmarer made her bid for glory as she moved into second at 7.5km in 42:30 as Mathys led on 40:58 with Swiss teammate Petra Eggenschwiler third on 43:41. Sabrie was fourth in 44:24 with Gould fifth in 45:01 before it all changed as the race moved downhill for the final stages.

Mathys went further away to triumph from Sabrie and Gould with both Eggenschwiler and Praxmarer not even finishing.

But Sabrie spearheaded the French to team glory with 18 points ahead of Czech Republic (34) and Great Britain (39). Led by Alice Gaggi in ninth, Italy finished fourth with 42 points.

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But in the U20 race, Italy’s Angela Mattevi delivered the biggest result of her career to win the individual crown – and lead her country to team gold. Mattevi covered the one-lap course over 6km in 29:30, triumphing over Brits Anna MacFayden in 30:24 and Scarlet Dale in 30:30.

Mattevi was ably supported as Alessia Scaini finished fourth in 30:48 and Gaia Colli was seventh in 31:04 as Italy won team gold by just one point with 12 from Great Britain in silver and France with 27 points, led by Constance Parrot who was fifth in 30:54.

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