Daniel Hubmann and Annika Billstam won the exciting last stage of the Nordic Orienteering Tour south of Oslo today. It was a big day for Swiss and Swedish orienteering with 3 Swiss men on top and 3 Swedish women among the top 4. Both Hubmann and Billstam decided the victory in the very end of the course – making it very exciting for the spectators and all the ones following the race over the Internet.
The course invited the runners to take different route choices – the route choices being very important in the decision of the overall Nordic Orienteering Tour 2011. In the mens class, Hubmann and Matthias Merz were together for most of the course – fighting for victory. Olav Lundanes started 1:05 behind – and fought hard to get closer. He saw Hubmann and Merz once – but never managed to get real contact after taking non-optimal routechoices and microroute-choices many times. – A bad day to have bad legs. And I should have had a route choice course as well, Lundanes commented after his race. His speed did not seem to be that bad, however.
In the women’s class, Merja Rantanen started with 41 seconds down to Maja Alm and Annika Billstam not far behind. Rantanen lost time early (see autOanalysis below), and thus Billstam came past. They however did get together again, and Billstam decided the race from the second last to the last control by going left (see below).
After testing the route, the route planner had found that the left variant (Ikonen run this, but not optimal last part of the leg) was fastest. However, in the race the rightmost variant was faster, and very few run the left variant.
The S-curve seems to be fastest – although quite a few went left.
Going left is clearly the best option here.
This is were Hubmann decides the race against Merz. Merz was the only one going right – but also Hubmann lost on his left choice.
Similar to the mens leg, but a few more women tried the direct route. Again it was clearly faster going left.
Some GPS analysis of type “autOanalysis” between top runners have been made to understand what decided the race. These are given below.
- Hubmann versus Merz – part 1
Matthias Merz started 44 seconds behind Daniel Hubmann, and caught his team colleague at the 3rd control after a non-optimal route choice by Hubmann to the 3rd control. From then on the two run together for significant parts of the race. In the above illustration you see that they are together for significant parts from there on. Matthias Merz was pushing hard in this first part of the course. – I had problems keeping up the speed of Matthias in the first part of the course, Daniel said after the race. In the last part I was stronger though.
- Hubmann versus Merz – part 2
In the last part of the course, however, they took different route choices two times – Merz loosing around 12-15 seconds both times. This was enough to leg Hubmann get an advantage which he never let go again. In the end Hubmann could run to the finish as a clear winner ahead of Merz.
- Hubmann versus Lundanes – part 1
Ahead of the race there was talk about the fight between Norwegian Olav Lundanes and the two Swiss. Lundanes who had 1:05 to take on Hubmann never got real contact with Hubmann. He only saw his back briefly one time. – I did not feel strong enough today physically, Lundanes said after the race. As you see from the above illustration, Lundanes was slower than Hubmann in the first part of the course – loosing time on a mistake on the leg to number two and three. Then he took 20 second on Hubmann on the last part of the third leg (just as Merz) – due to Hubmann’s non-optimal route choice. Lundanes however again lost time due to non-optimal route chice to 5. In the middle part of the course neither Hubmann nor Olav run optimally – loosing time to each other at different places – but approximately keeping the distance.
- Hubmann versus Lundanes – part 2
The pattern was the same in the last part of the course – Lundanes and Hubmann each loosing and gaining time in different places. Thus none of them had a super race – but both finished at approximately the same running time. In the end it was good enough for the overall NORT victory for Hubmann – while Lundanes beat Hubmann with 18 seconds on the time of stage 3 only.
- Hertner versus Lundanes (only part 1)
Hertner had the best time of the day, after catching Lundanes at control 5 and running together with Lundanes for the rest of the course. In this illustration you can see where Hertner beat Lundanes. Hertner took some time on a different route choice to 2, then gained time to number 3 – even with the same routechoice for which Hubmann lost time. The continued gaining time towards 5 – even with approximately the same routechoice as Lundanes – he might have seen Lundanes in front at some places here.
- Billstam versus Rantanen
The last illustration is of Billstam versus Rantanen (number 2 in the women’s course). Here you can see how Rantanen lost a lot of time on her route choice to number 4 – while gaining time again on the northern part of the forking. To the very last leg you can see how Billstam gained enough to take the victory in NORT 2011 by going left.