The shortest race of the week was awaiting the riders for the final race, with the fast and furious setting of a military base interspersed with some scrubland areas. The terrain allowed for some very fast riding, with a decent part of the course being ridden on asphalt.
The first part of the course was technically easy with very few mistakes being made and time gaps simply being down to riding speed. As the riders approached the 2nd map there were a few longer route choice legs for the men whilst the women had a lot of short legs where concentration needed to be kept high, especially around an area with a number of staircases on possible route choice. Moving onto the 2nd map a few riders were caught out by an enforced uncrossable fence before the men picked their way through the short control pick section and the women made their quickly back to the last section of the course. This final part was around the buildings of the military base which was relatively simple, but one leg caught a number of riders out where the overprint obscured some map detail although any mistakes made were minimal. The nature of the area meant any mistakes were going to be costly as the riding speed was so high, with each mistake costing riders a number of places.
The women’s race was led by Marika Hara of Finland through the early part, hitting the control pick section with a 10 second advantage over Martina Tichovska and Veronika Kubinova of Czech Republic and compatriot Haga of Finland who held a slender advantage over a number of other riders closely packed together, including Great Britain’s Clare Dallimore in 10th place. By the map exchange Hara had maintained her gap over Tichovska who had pulled away from the chasing pack by a further 10 seconds whilst Clare had moved up a few places to 7th, although a mistake straight after the map exchange lost valuable time for her. Coming through the spectator ride through Hara had been overtaken by Tichovska and Finnish rider Saarinen, with Soegaard of Denmark having moved through into 4th place with just 8 seconds separating the top 4 riders, Clare having slipped a couple of places to 9th. With riders racing flat out there was always a risk of a lapse in concentration, and Tichovska succumbed with a mistake to the last control allowing Saarinen through to take her first win at a World Champs, 9 seconds ahead of Tichovska and Soegaard who finished quickly to take joint 2nd. This gave Tichovska her 5th medal of the championships, gaining 2 golds and 3 silvers!
In the men’s race, it was Danish rider Rasmus Soegaard who took the early lead hitting the start of the route choice section with a 4 second lead over Andreas Waldmann (Austria). Although there was little difference in the route choices, any hesitation meant valuable time loss which allowed Anton Foliforov (Russia) to take the lead after the map turnover as he flew through the map exchange, with Great Britain’s Ian Nixon in 41st after a good first part on his early start. The next part of the course needed quick decision making as the route took the riders through the maze of buildings with connecting steps, and the Czech Republic’s Vojtech Ludvik excelled in this setting taking the lead at number 19, though Foliforov was just 2 seconds back, and Nixon had maintained his position. Moving back to the final part of the course around the military base the riders came flying through the spectator area making good use of the SI Air being used for the week allowing riders to maintain speed through controls. With 4 controls in the last 500 metres riders had to keep their concentration up, and unfortunately, same issues with the map printing affected the podium results as Ludvik lost time going on the impassable straight route and having to divert his course to number 28, whilst Foliforov had taken the wider route and regained the lead. He kept a cool head through the last few controls and gained his 2nd gold medal of the week, taking the win by 12 seconds from his Russian compatriot Grigory Medvedev, with a further 2 Russian’s getting on the podium. Nixon was able to maintain his position through to the finish, although he lost time on number 28 also taking the straight route and having to change course, but still got a top 40, gaining GB’s best men’s sprint result for 5 years.
Men – 9.8km, 85m
40. Ian Nixon, Great Britain 23:48
Women – 8.4km, 50m
1. Henna Saarinen, Finland 20:05
=2. Martina Tichovska, Czech Republic 20:14
=2. Camilla Soegaard, Denmark 20:14
4. Antonia Haga, Finland 20:25
5. Marika Hara, Finland 20:29
6. Veronika Kubinova, Czech Republic 20:39
10. Clare Dallimore, Great Britain 20:56