Germany's Christopher Linke produced another notable win on the road to the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships at the 44th International Race Walking Festival, a European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting, in Altyus, Lithuania on Friday (8).
Linke began his season by taking victory at the European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting in Podebrady in April and the 29-year-old was an impressive winner in Alytus, winning in gun-to-tape fashion in 1:21:10 - his second fastest time of his season - ahead of Authorised Neutral Athlete Visiliy Mizinov (1:21:45) and Ukraine's Ivan Losev (1:23:12).
Based on recent form, one might have thought that Mizinov would have the upper hand. After all, the 20-year-old has already clocked 1:18:54 in 2018 and finished ahead of Linke at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang, China last month but Mizinov could not catch the fast-starting German.
Linke was already 14 seconds ahead of Mizinov after two kilometre (8:10 to 8:24) and by the 10km checkpoint in 40:36, Linke had extended his ascendency to 62 seconds. The gap began to close in the latter stages as Linke began to tire but he was still a comfortable winner ahead of Mizinov.
There was home success in the women's race as veteran Brigita Virbalyte-Dimsiene won in 1:31:24, comfortably ahead of Greece's Antigoni Ntrismpioti (1:32:34) and Zivile Vaiciukeviciute (1:33:16).