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WOC Middle Men: The Analysis

There were five runners who had the speed to win the WOC middle distance – Daniel Hubmann, Thierry Gueorgiou, Olav Lundanes, Fabian Hertner and Oleksandr Kratov. In the following analysis we go through where the race was decided – and why Lundanes was on top after 5.9 km with 290 meters climb.

The course setter Cristian Bellotto comments about the course: – I tried to make a course where the runners needed to use different techniques to give the runners a mix of different challenges. This worked well today. Some people had problems when they had to change type of orienteering.

The course had four distinctly different parts – each discussed separately below. The build-up of this article is the same as for the women.

This analysis is made in cooperation with WOC2014 by Jan Kocbach and Stefano Raus. A modified version will be published in the WOC magazine. Note that the GPS-data was very variable for this race, and therefore there is not GPS-data shown for all legs.

Part 1: The open karst forest

men_part1

The first part until control 4 which was quite open, stony typical karst forest. The challenge here was to keep high speed while finding the good runable places and simplify the orienteering. Oleksandr Kratov mastered this part best, building up a 24 second lead on Olav Lundanes who was second at this place in the course. Lauri Sild, Baptiste Rollier, Andreas Kyburz and Daniel Hubmann also mastered this part very well.

Hertner had more problems – he was already 49 seconds behind at the 4th control. In the end Hertner was only 18 seconds from gold – this first part was crucial for him. Several other outsiders lost up to 2 minutes in this part (e.g. Valentin Novikov, Carl Godager Kaas and more).

Thierry Gueorgiou also had problems in this part – losing 41 seconds (in 7th place).

Part 2: The dense, technical part

men_part2

The second part of the course is the technical part (control 4 to 9). Dense vegetation, difficult to keep the direction, requires very careful orienteering and stopping to relocate if you lose track of where you are. This was the most decisive part of the race were many runners lost a lot of time. Olav Lundanes was best in this part (10:00), closely followed by Oleksandr Kratov and Fabian Hertner. However even Lundanes lost 21 seconds to control 8 and 13 seconds to control 9 – so this was a very tricky area which nobody really mastered.

A runner which really didn’t master this area was Daniel Hubmann. He lost 3:52 to Olav Lundanes between control 4 and 9 – losing time on all controls.  This is nearly all the time Hubmann is behind the gold medal at the end of the race. From control 9 to the finish, Hubmann beats Olav Lundanes. Gustav Bergman has also problems in this part of the course – losing 1:47 to Lundanes.  Valentin Novikov also has problems in this part of the course – losing 3:33 to Lundanes, so has Pasi Ikonen losing 4:20. Edgars Bertuks has the biggest problems, losing 6:16 – of those 3:47 only on control 6.

The most crucial was of course Thierry Gueorgiou who forgot to take the 6th control. Actually Gueorgiou orienteered directly from control 6 to 7 when he was at control number 5. He noticed that it was far to the big path, but in this dense type of terrain it is not always easy to judge distances. So when he came to the path, he was at the wrong place, and used some time to relocate and find control 7. He did not understand that he had skipped the 6th control after being told in the finish.

Part 3: The steep good runable part

men_part3

The third part of the course is the steep part from control 9 until the arena passage. It consists of one long routechoice leg and two shorter legs with TV control and an easy control down to the arena.

Daniel Hubmann mastered this part best – winning this part with 24 seconds ahead of Gustav Bergman and Carl Godager Kaas. Olav Lundanes was 4th fastest in this part – best of the medal winners – losing 36 seconds to Hubmann.  Kratov lost 10 seconds to Lundanes – Hertner lost 25 seconds to Lundanes. Baptiste Rollier loses more than a minute to Hubmann on this part (between control 9 and 12) – this is more than he is behind the medals.

men_leg10

The most important leg of this part is the long leg to number 10 (see below; note that there is a new large path on top of the hill on the runners’ map which is not on the online maps – the competition maps had to be reprinted with this new path on one week ahead of the competition). Here Hubmann takes the correct route choice – running to the right and using the path on the top of the hill. Lundanes runs approximately the same route, but more S-shape – losing most of the time in the steep uphill. Hertner runs left and loses 48 seconds to Hubmann. Bergman as always tries to run the way birds fly, and on this leg this is a bit too tough.

Part 4: The fast part – but with technical challenges

men_part4

The fourth and last part of the course (from control 12 to the finish) is the fastest part – partly on open meadows and partly in quite good runnable forest. The tough uphill after the arena passage makes the controls right after the arena passage extra challenging. Also the long leg to control 15 is challenging.

Fabian Hertner is fastest in this part of the course – running it in 12:34 – 21 seconds ahead of Andreas Kyburz. Lundanes is third – losing 33 seconds to Hertner. Kratov loses 1:16 –  of those 44 seconds are on the leg to control 15 – and with that he loses the gold medal.  Hubmann loses a lot of time also in this part of the course – 1:17 to Hertner – most of it on the leg to control 15 due to a mistake in the control circle.

men_leg15

The most decisive leg in this part is the long leg to number 15 (see below). Here Hertner is fastest taking a route where he goes down in the slope. Lundanes loses only 6 seconds – going a bit further down on the last part of the leg. Kratov and Bergman both go up and lose between 30 and 45 seconds.  Kratov loses time both in the first part of the leg where he does not find areas with good runnability and in the control circle where he gets insecure. Bergman loses time in the last half of the leg.

Summary: The best runner won

Oleksandr Kratov, Olav Lundanes, Daniel Hubmann and Fabian Hertner won one of the terrain parts each. The winner in this very varied middle distance course was the runner who proved that he mastered all the different terrain types, Olav Lundanes. Daniel Hubmann finished without a medal after having too big problems in the most technical part. Oleksandr Kratov had too big problems in the last part – and Hertner had problems in the most technical part.

See also the main article from the WOC 2014 Middle distance which gives full results, links to full maps and GPS-tracking.

About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.

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