Alexandersson and Bonek fastest in the sandstone labyrinth in Kokořínsko
Korce u Dubé, 5 August 2023
Austria’s Jannis Bonek handled the challenging orienteering course through the rocky labyrinth in the surroundings of the Vysoký vrch in Korce u Dubé the best and ran for his first gold at a world event. Tove Alexandersson, on the contrary, confirmed her position as the World Cup leader and celebrated her second victory in a row. Tereza Janošíková was the fastest of the Czech competitors to cross the finish line in 6th place.
The women’s track seems to have been designed especially for Swedish athletes. Seven of them made it to the top 12. The difficult course and the hilly terrain around the sandstone towers suited them extremely well. The world leader, Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson, completed the 4.2-kilometre course in 34 minutes and 19 seconds. The second Swiss Simona Aebersold lost 1 minute and Sanna Fast, also from Sweden, was another 30 seconds slower in third place.
“I enjoy running in sandstone terrains, so I really enjoyed the race. I tried to concentrate completely on the course. I only made small mistakes in the end, but I managed to stick to the plan and not take any unnecessary risks”, said Tove Alexandersson, who has already won all 5 gold medals at the 2021 World Championships and continues to extend her winning streak at races in the Czech Republic.
Tereza Janošíková was only partially happy with her 6th place at the finish: “At the beginning, it was pretty good, I worked as hard as I could. But then I twisted my ankle a little bit in the difficult terrain and I probably didn’t choose the best route, because about halfway through the race Sanna Fast from Sweden started to catch me. Before the second TV control I unfortunately hit a twig into my eye and had to stop briefly. There the Swede caught me completely and we were running in tandem to the finish”.
The other Czech competitors – Denisa Kosová in 13th and Vendula Horčičková in 18th place – also performed very well. However, it is also worth mentioning the 34th place of Anna Karlová, for her today’s race was a debut at the World Cup and she immediately secured her first points in it.
In the men’s race, a battle of World Championship medallists was expected, yet the final ranking at the finish surprised many. Despite a day of persistent rain, the arena in Korce was filled with more than a thousand spectators from the KWAK Czech O-Tour support races and their cheers erupted into thunderous applause when Austrian racer Jannis Bonek appeared at the finish line. He won the first World Cup victory for Austria ever. He may have won bronze at the World Championships in Switzerland three weeks ago, but it was considered impossible for anyone to beat all the strong Swedes or Swiss. Jannis Bonek won the 5.1-kilometre course in a time of 37 minutes and 4 seconds, 37 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Albin Ridefeld. The current world champion Matthias Kyburz of Switzerland was another 6 seconds behind.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable”, cheered the 24-year-old Bonek at the finish line. “I felt very good on the track. I didn’t have any special strategy, I followed my instinct and experience in choosing my routes between the controls. It was very hard, lots of rocks, and fast downhills, but I enjoyed it. I arrived in the Czech Republic on Monday, I skipped the sprint races and prepared myself for this short course. And it paid off.”
World Cup leader Kasper Harlem Fosser from Norway finished in 4th place after a one-minute mistake at the 8th control: “I ran 95% of the race great, unfortunately, I made 1 big mistake and just like in the sprint in Česká Lípa it didn’t work out. But I love the sandstone terrain the most in the world. I feel physically and mentally ready for tomorrow’s classic course full of hills”.
Miloš Nykodým, who unsuccessfully tried to repeat his victory at the World Cup at Valdštejn Castle in 2018, was the highest-ranked Czech: “I didn’t feel the strongest, but it wasn’t bad. In this area of steep slopes, it’s hard to predict the best approach. I was hoping for a better result”.
Czech number one Tomáš Křivda got off to a very good start, but unfortunately, he made a huge mistake when making his way up to the 7th control and quit the race in order to tactically save his strength for Sunday’s long distance.
1. Tove Alexandersson 34:19 (Sweden)
2. Simona Aebersold 35:26 (Switzerland)
3. Sanna Fast 35:50 (Sweden)
1. Jannis Bonek 37:04 (Austria)
2. Albin Ridefelt 37:41 (Sweden)
3. Matthias Kyburz 37:47 (Switzerland)
Programme of the 2nd round of the 2023 Orienteering World Cup:
Wednesday 2 August 2023 sprint Česká Lípa
Thursday 3 August 2023 sprint relay Česká Lípa
Saturday 5 August 2023 middle Korce u Dubé
Sunday 6 August 2023 long Korce u Dubé