Dematteis ends the mountain reign of Arslan on glory day for Italy

Borovets Senior Womens winners
European Athletics

Andrea Mayr of Austria (centre), the winner of the senior women's race at the European Mountain Running Championships with second place finisher Italy's Valentina Belotti and third Mateja Kosovelj of Slovenia in Borovets, Bulgaria, on Saturday. 

Bernard Dematteis, who has tried and failed in the past, finally ended the dominance of Turkey's Ahmet Arslan to win the senior men's race at the 12th European Mountain Running Championships (Uphill) in Borovets, Bulgaria, on a memorable Saturday morning for Italy.

Dematteis triumphed in the men's race which Italy dominated to retain the team title and as Austria's Andrea Mayr won the senior women's event, the Italians lifted the team crown.

Senior men (11.8km)
Ahmet Arslan has been the unstoppable force of these European Mountain Running Championships since 2007 when he won the first of his six successive victories.

In Zell am Harmersbach in 2008, Bernard Dematteis finished second to the Turkish legend, 28 seconds adrift, and then in 2011 in Bursa, he was fourth, later promoted to third, in Bursa.

But this time it is gold for the 27-year-old whose twin brother Martin was 23rd in 1:01:05 and it came with a 65-second triumph for Bernard as he won in 56:30, beating his Italian teammate Alex Baldaccini who was second in 57:35 with Arslan third in 57:47.

And with Xavier Chevrier, their third scorer in fourth in 58:01, Italy secured the team title, scoring a mere seven points from Great Britain who were second - 24 points back with their leading athlete being Steve Vernon in fifth in 58:33. Arslan ended with a second bronze as Turkey finished third in the team event with 51.

At the low point of the course, Dematteis was in charge with a time of 26:07 as Baldaccini followed in 26:59 and Arslan in 27:06.

By the time of the high point, Dematteis made it through in 43:21 with Baldaccini and Arslan locked together at 44:35.

And Dematteis held the advantage to achieve a superb victory.

Senior women (8.8km)
Andrea Mayr is one of Austria's top endurance athletes and she enhanced that reputation by winning gold with a superb performance in the senior women's event as Italy's women, second last year, combined for a brilliant team title.

Four years ago, when this event was staged in Tefles im Stubai, Mayr won bronze on home ground and now she moved two places up the podium with a time of 51:49.

It was fine, powerful performance, winning by more than a minute with Italy's Valentina Belotti second in 52:54 and Mateja Kosovelj, of Slovenia, third in 53:08.

Mayr, 33, had the lead at the low point in 30:10 from Kosovelj before Belotti moved into second, with the Austria recording 50:05 at the high point as victory beckoned.

But like their men, Italy's women finished in three of the first five places to give them the team crown, also by a big margin. They had an accumulated points score of 11 from Switzerland in second with 36 and Great Britain in third with 52.

Behind runner-up Belotti, teammate Elisa Desco was fourth in 53:42 with Renate Runnger in fifth in 54:05.
But Mayr will savour this day in a career where she mixes mountain running with marathons and cycling. Along with her bronze in Tefles im Stubai, she also won the Vienna Marathon in 2009 and the following year won the World Mountain Running Championship.

Junior men (8.8km)
If Ahmet Arslan needed to see the legacy he has created back home, it was shown in this junior men's race as Ramazan Karagoz, who was 16 in April and the youngest in the field, took the individual title for Turkey as the nation won team gold.

Arslan is such a hero and his success is breeding even more success as Karagoz beat countryman Sehmus Sarihan by 63 seconds as he won in 48:51 with Italy's Michele Vaia third in 50:29.

It was a glorious one-two for Turkey and with Omer Tuncer in 18th in 53:34, they had 21 points which was just enough - as they beat Italy by just one.

The Italians impressed, too, as behind Vaia, Giampaolo Crotti was eighth in 51:45 and Nadir Cavagna was 11th in 52:35 with Romania third overall with 36.

Karagoz, the only competitor in a field of 41 to be born in 1997, reached the low point in 28:12 and the high point in 47:02 on his way to victory.

Junior Women (3.5km)
The morning began with 37 athletes in the Junior Women's race and it was 17-year-old German Melanie Albrecht who had the most stamina as she won in 25:49 as Russia took the team title.

A year ago Britain's Annabel Mason was crowned champion in the under-20 event but this time Albrecht had too much for the rest.

She had a high-point time of 24:10 which she converted into a winning time of 25:49, creating a 40-second gap ahead Turkey's Cesminaz Yilmaz in second in 26:29 and Slovenia's Lea Einfalt in third in 27:06.

The first Russian home was Olga Sharpova in fourth in 27:27, but with her teammates Ksenia Fedorchuk in ninth in 28:23 and Ekaterina Ivonina 11th in 28:59, they had the leading three finishers from one nation to take the team title.

It gave Russia 24 points from Britain - where Mason was eighth in 28:14, two places behind teammate Catriona Graves who was sixth in 27:58 - with 26 points and Turkey with 34.