The courses can be characterized as “not too challenging” – but on the other hand this is not unusual for a qualification race – especially when the same arena is used for both qualification and final. As there is no GPS-tracking available from the Sprint Qualification, no full analysis will be made here – just a quick look at one of the courses.
The course we take a closer look at is the men’s heat A – a heat which Yannick Michiels won in 11:01 – 2 seconds ahead of Jonas Leandersson and with Jerker Lysell another two seconds down. We will go briefly through the course leg by leg, and discuss some of the legs in more detail. In the end we’ve also got the winner Yannick Michiel’s routechoice.
Men Heat A: Leg by Leg
The first leg is a simple left/right choice where it looks like the start triangle is put quite far to the left to make the leftmost choice (green) seem shorter than it actually is. Very small time differences expected here as left and right are approximately equal.
The leg to control 5 is the first nice leg in the course. Here you can choose to go direct and get a real climb, or go around the big depression on either side. Straight is probably too tough (too much climb for just 35 meter shorter), left should make it easier to run fast, and with less navigation. Note that some of the other heats had controls where it was advantageous to go right, so it was easy to follow somebody in another heat the wrong way.
Then another routechoice leg. Here you can get fooled out of the control; you must go right out of the control to take the green route – if not you either have to run 60 meters longer, or make a quite big extra climb. It should be quite easy to see this, though.
To control 11 we again have a routechoice leg. Here you can either choose to go down the hill and up again (left and straight choices), or run 30-40 meters longer to the right and avoid the climb. Right might be a bit better, but big time differences not expected.
And then a more interesting leg to control 14 again. The routechoice in itself is not so interesting here (there is no big difference between left and right), but it is easy to think that there is a passage straight and lose some time here (several did this mistake).
Above you see the winner Yannick Michiels’ route choice. Thanks a lot to Michiels for sending over his route after reading the article. Michiels comments that he tried to avoid the steep hills due to the heavy rain, e.g. to the 11th control. Note also that Michiels ran left to the 6th control – this cost him two seconds to the best route choice – not much. His biggest time loss is to the 3rd control and to the 13th control, both are 4 seconds time losses.
The other heats have very similar characteristics as the men’s A-heat, but it looks like there are some more interesting routes to be found there, especially in the men’s C-heat where the 2nd leg, the 9th leg and the 15th leg are all balanced in a way which makes it more complex for the runner.
Not too many big challenges here, but some small routechoices to be made with a few seconds difference between the alternatives, and you can still do mistakes. Looking at the results, all the top runners got to the final, so the course served its purpose from that point of view. With the qualification and final from the same arena, the best terrain is always saved for the final, so tomorrow should give us some interesting legs to analyze – then also with GPS.