A last world cup race in 2018 took place in the heart of Mladá Boleslav. Swedes Tove Alexandersson and Jonas Leandersson took control over the technical sprint distance and proved Swedish dominance in the World Cup Final Round in the Czech Republic.
Until the eighth control Anna Narhi from Finland was a leader in the women’s sprint, however then Tove Alexandersson took the lead and after an almost perfectly clear race finished first, 22 seconds ahead of Maia Sianoja (FIN) who performed very stable and controlled race and achieved her first World Cup podium result. Third place took Judith Wyder with a 26 second loss to the first place.
Very strong performance showed Lina Strand (SWE) and Natalia Gemperle (RUS) who would probably fight for the podium, however both missed control number 16 and got disqualified.
In the men’s category Jonas Leandersson showed how strong he is in the sprint distance (holder of one WOC and two EOC sprint gold medals) and was the only, who pushed the time under 15 minutes. On the tenth control Jonas replaced until then leading Tim Robertson (NZL), who took almost half minute slower routechoice over the hill. Control number 10 was crucial for Daniel Hubmann and Matthias Kyburz too, as they lost their chances for the triumph. However, Matthias was able to catch up the loss and finished on the third position, one second behind Yannick Michiels (BEL) and eight seconds behind the winner.
1 Alexandersson Tove SWE 14:51
2 Sianoja Maija FIN 15:13
3 Wyder Judith SUI 15:17
1 Leandersson Jonas SWE 14:53
2 Michiels Yannick BEL 15:00
3 Kyburz Matthias SUI 15:01
And what impressions made the race on six fastest runners of today?
How was your race today?
It was a good race from me, but to one control I did a small mistake, I didn’t look at the control descriptions where exactly it should be, so I was looking to the wrong place. I was very careful with the map reading to take good route choices.
Did something surprise you?
Maybe the part in the park in the open area surprised me a bit, because I thought it will be more in the city, but the rest was as I expected.
Is it a satisfaction to win the last race here?
Yeah, absolutely. It has been a really long season and I have been so tired, especially yesterday I was tired in my brain so it was so hard to focus. Today I told to myself it will be okay, don’t push too hard, you must still be able to concentrate and it was much better. Now it will be nice to let the body and the brain relax a little bit, because the season is almost over.
How did you like it today?
It was nice, nice course! Some tricky controls, but I think it was a pretty good performance. Maybe somewhere I had to stop and check, it was not easy. Tricky in the middle, tricky in the end... Always tricky.
How did you feel physically today?
I was a little bit surprised, that I felt strong, because it has been so much races here, so it was physically better than I expected. But of course I was tired, everyone was. I just tried to think „everybody is tired, so show them and be faster!“
How did you feel during the race?
It was a very tough race, both technically and physically and after 24 hours in the bed it was quite heavy, but I tried to focus on the technique and I did it quite well so I’m really happy.
Did you make any mistake?
I did, it was a bit stress at some controls actually, I wasn’t well prepared for some route choices and I started to run in a wrong way or I stopped at the control too early, because they were quite close to each other, it is always 3, 5 seconds and you get really stressed about it. But in the end everybody does these mistakes and I was lucky I didn’t do a big mistake.
What is your strategy in the sprint races - do you plan route choices in advance?
No, in the sprint I actually plan in the now, I try to focus what I have to do and where I am, but when the sprint is really complicated, I stop at the control if I have to, that’s my way to orienteer. And of course, if you have physical legs you can still think about next controls, but then I go back to the now, because sprint is too hectic, you’ve got too much control misses if you are not in the now and not thinking what is happening in this moment.
How does it feel to be the winner of the last world race in this season?
It feels fantastic, the last race is always something special. I aimed really high today and managed to perform as good as I hoped and in the end I can’t be happier.
How did you feel during the race? Did you feel tired after previous races?
Not at all, actually I felt quite good, but it was a tough race with a lot of climbing, I tried to stay in the race, it was technical, but I think I managed to see good route choices and I think that was the key today, so I’m really satisfied.
When comparing middle and sprint distance, which one do you prefer?
Of course the sprint, I’m much better sprinter at the moment, so of course I’m enjoying the sprint more and especially when it is challenging like this one.
Do you focus more on sprint in your trainings?
Yes, I did this in the last couple of years and now I feel really calm and know what to do when I’m going out. It is more about the routine and experience, that is definitely the key.
How did you feel during the race?
It was pretty tough, a lot of options and many staircases. I felt ok after yesterday, but it was tough all the way and I knew that other guys will feel the same, so I just pushed as hard as I could.
Did you make any mistake?
I probably didn’t take the best route choices everywhere, but I think it was quite clean race.
Did you feel your legs after three races?
Oh yeah, actually already after the knock-out sprint I felt really tired, but then I skipped the sprint relay and had an easy day and of course ran the middle yesterday which was even tougher, but it was fine. I knew it was a last race, so I could push a bit extra.
What are your impressions after today’s race?
Now it’s great, it’s nice to end whole world cup season with the third place, this weekend so far was not really a big success, but the main reason I came here was fighting for the overall world cup, so to get a good result today is really great.
How does the victory in overall World cup feel?
It’s a big relief. It was really close with Daniel and Olav, so I knew if somebody performs really good in the race I won’t be the leader anymore. So now to stand here and to win for the fifth time and third time in a row is amazing.
What are your plans and goals for the next season?
Well, next year we’ll have first just forest WOC. There is this gold medal from long distance missing, it will be really difficult in Norway, but this is a big motivation for me. And also since 2012 I’m always on the podium in the overall World Cup, so I guess I will try to keep on going with that…
Do you plan to focus on just forest disciplines or will you keep on fighting in sprint disciplines as well ?
Yeah. Or I think it’s way easier if there is focus just on the forest, so until the world cup round I will do some sprint training and I still hope that I can compete with the best in sprint, but for me it makes it easier to prepare just for the forest. So from that side I can still continue with both for the world cup and then specifically for the World Champs.
How did it go? Have you done any mistakes?
Yes, I had to run form the 12th control to the 13th control, I punched the 17th and I wanted to go to the control number 17, but then I saw other girls and found out, that something went wrong. And then some bad route choices. But it's not important now, because I have problems with my health and it's very tough for me. Maybe I'm tired after these all races, I don't know.
So are you going to have a rest, after the return?
No, we are going to the next training camp in Russia, so no regeneration, not enough.
What course did you like the most?
It's a really difficult question. I think the best was sprint... and middle... and everything.
Did the race go well?
Oh, it was maybe the hardest race I've ever run.
Firstly, I'm so tired of yesterday, because I died during going uphill. The whole yesterday was about it. But the course was nice. I liked the race, but I didn't like my pace.
What's better for you? To run in the forest or in the city?
I prefer forest races nowadays. When I was younger, I was a sprinter, but now I'm old.
Were you afraid, that you could be disqualified?
I punched only one extra control, because it was on my way to my control. However, I was sure, that it's on the wrong side of the road. But I'm happy, it seems it was really cool race for me.
How did it go?
I ran a really bad race, but it was fun. When there're many stairs, it's difficult to decide, if run this way or not. But my aim was not to do anything too stupid and that's completed, I didn't loose my position in total. I was really exhausted after yesterday, I could't think clear and focus for the race. It was really hard, but it was fun.
What race did you enjoyed more? Yesterday's or today's?
I really enjoyed it yesterday. It's so different from what we had done before. For me, it was a really special experience. I've run many sprints, so yesterday, it was more special for me.
What was the race like?
So, I think I did some bad route choices, look, here I lost about a half minute. I should have run around, but there I realized that it's kind of a bad route choice. But then there was no time to change it.
Are you tired after yesterday?
Yes, I felt it in the end in my legs. Maybe I'm not that fresh. No surprise, it was always uphill and downhill, it was really tough to run.
What race did you enjoyed the most?
Of course the middle distance, racing in the sand was funny.
What are you going to do after your return?
I'll have a rest. We have a team holidays now, so I'll have some regeneration.
Ymsen Kerschbaumer Gernot
Did you run well?
It's difficult to say now. I don't know if I've done good route choices, but if I look at my splits, I lost a lot on two long lengths, so obviously I was slow or I made some bad decidion. I'm so tired, so it was not possible to run faster. But the course was good. I like the short ones, the long ones are like once you've decided, you just have to run. And I'm not good enough in that. And here, there were many interesting route choices.
Were you sure about the controls?
We heard from the ladies, that many of them were disqualified, but we didn't know why, we were just guessing. But we decided, that we have to be more careful to not to be disqulified.
What did effect you during the race?
I was stupid. I met Miloš and I though that he started behind me and I though 'Oh no, he had caught me', but then I realized, No, he had started ahead of me, so then I was satisfied. Maybe he had done some bad route choice.
Hubmann Daniel (SUI)
How did you like the race?
It was nice, tricky, I enjoyed it. But I'm not satisfied, not really.
Do you think you could do something better?
Yes, on the long way... I lost there a lot of time.
What do you like more? City or forest?
I like both, I can't choose.
Which race did you like the most from the last 4 days?
The sand race was really nice, but I performed really bad because of the first control. It was not really well placed control, you should'n set the control there. It was pitty I think, but after that it was nice.
Have you tasted the Czech beer yet?
Not yet, but maybe tonight. I'm really looking forward.