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WOC 2018 Relay Team & Favourite Preview – LIVE Thursday 13:20 CET

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[Including team setups] Can Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson get back her self confidence after the big mistakes on the Middle and take Sweden to Gold on the last leg? Can Norway’s men take the third WOC Relay gold medal in a row? Or can Switzerland win the men’s relay after a very disappointing 5th place last year?

Update: Lundanes does not run the relay for Norway due to stomach pain, is replaced by Gaute Hallan Steiwer. Running order: Gaute Hallan Steiwer, Eskil Kinneberg, Magne Dæhli. Norway still among the gold favourites, but Switzerland has now a small edge…

The relay is always one of the highlights of the World Orienteering Championships, with an extra layer of tension compared to the individual races. With all the misses we saw in the Middle distance the relay could get really interesting in the green, Latvian forest with low visibility. Read on for the WOC 2018 Team & Favourite preview. Note that team setups may still be changed – the preview is made based on the official startlist.

Women: Can Sweden deliver as favourites this time?

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Results WOC 2017 Results EOC 2018
. Tove Alexandersson
. Emma Johansson
. Helena Jansson
. Natalia Gemperle
. Anastasia Rudnaya
. Svetlana Mironova
. Merja Rantanen
. Venla Harju
. Marika Teini
4. Sabine Hauswirth
4. Elena Roos
4. Julia Jakob
5. Sandra Grosberga
5. Inga Dambe
5. Laura Vike
6. Anne Margrethe H. Nordberg
6. Ingjerd Myhre
6. Marianne Andersen

Note that the above results are not
shown with correct running order.

. Judith Wyder
. Elena Roos
. Julia Jakob
. Lina Strand
. Sara Hagstrom
. Karolin Ohlsson
. Cecilie Friberg Klysner
. Ida Bobach
. Maja Alm
4. Sigrid Alexandersen
4. Silje Ekroll Jahren
4. Andrine Benjaminsen
5. Anastasia Rudnaya
5. Svetlana Mironova
5. Tatyana Riabkina
6. Sofia Haajanen
6. Maija Sianoja
6. Anna Haataja

In the women’s class reigning champion Sweden is the main favourite with Tove Alexandersson hungry for revenge after one of her worst days in the forest at the Middle distance on Tuesday. Alexandersson has shown some weaknesses in all races at this WOC so far, but she should still be able to deliver a good performance on the last leg on the relay. In the team with Alexandersson are Helena Jansson on the first leg (7th at the middle) and Karolin Ohlsson on the second leg (only 21st at the middle after losing a bronze medal due to a big miss on the 8th control).   But Sweden was favourite also in 2016 and finished 5th when Alexandersson was delivered in a perfect position for a medal but did some big mistakes on the last leg. On homeground. Can Sweden and Alexandersson deliver this time around, with a small revenge for Alexandersson? Is Ohlsson strong enough technically?

But Sweden was favourite also in 2016 and finished 5th when Alexandersson was delivered in a perfect position for a medal but did some big mistakes on the last leg.

Russia got silver in 2017 and won the WOC relay in 2016, and has a strong team with WOC Middle winner Natalia Gemperle on the last leg. Rudnaya on the first leg finished 14th on the Middle – Riabkina on the second leg finished 11th on the Middle. Both are strong technically and physically with lots of experience, and should be able to deliver Gemperle in a good position at the start of the last leg. Russia finished only 5th at EOC, but without Gemperle on the team.

Switzerland won the European Championships relay, they even finished with the second team ahead of the other teams. With a strong Judith Wyder back in the team, anything is possible. Wyder runs the last leg with Elena Roos (4th at the Sprint) and Julia Jakob (15th at the Middle) on the two first leg. In Swiss terrain this team would be a clear Gold favourite, but can they deliver also in the green Latvian forest?

Switzerland won the European Championships relay, they even finished with the second team ahead of the other teams.

Finland has won bronze two years in a row, and has a strong Marika Teini (silver on the Middle) on the last leg. Can they follow up with another medal today? It depends a lot on what Teini’s team mates Haajanen (first leg, has not been running so far at WOC) and Sianoja (19th at Middle, 14th at Sprint) can deliver. But Finland has strong relay traditions, and is definitely among the medal favourites.

Norway has an interesting team with Kamilla Olaussen on the first leg with Marianne Andersen and Andrine Benjaminsen on the two last legs. Both Andersen and Benjaminsen were very close to a medal on the Middle, and Olaussen is a strong relay runner, especially in the big relays, who has been out with injuries for several years. Norway can even win the Gold on a good day.

Great Britain, Czech Republic and Latvia are outsiders who can battle for the medals with good technical performance

Great Britain, Czech Republic and Latvia are outsiders who can battle for the medals with good technical performance – it would be very nice to see one of these teams up there in the medals. Denmark got a bronze medal at the European Championships, but unfortunately has lost both Bobach and Klysner and are probably not strong enough for a medal even with a fast Maja Alm on the last leg.

World of O’s tip:

1. Sweden
2. Switzerland
3. Russia

Men: Three in a row for Norway?

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Results WOC 2017 Results EOC 2018
. Olav Lundanes
. Magne Dæhli
. Eskil Kinneberg
. Lucas Basset
. Thierry Gueorgiou
. Frederic Tranchand
. William Lind
. Gustav Bergman
. Johan Runesson
4. Timo Sild
4. Lauri Sild
4. Kenny Kivikas
5. Daniel Hubmann
5. Matthias Kyburz
5. Fabian Hertner
6. Valentin Novikov
6. Leonid Novikov
6. Dmitriy Tsvetkov

Note that the above results are not
shown with correct running order.

. Eskil Kinneberg
. Magne Dæhli
. Olav Lundanes
. Florian Howald
. Matthias Kyburz
. Daniel Hubmann
. Nicolas Rio
. Lucas Basset
. Frederic Tranchand
4. Pavel Kubat
4. Milos Nykodym
4. Vojtech Kral
5. Kris Jones
5. Peter Hodkinson
5. Ralph Street
6. Andrey Khramov
6. Dmitriy Tsvetkov
6. Valentin Novikov

Although Norway has two wins in a row – in addition to a win at the European Championships in Switzerland this spring, the relay is still open with Switzerland as the big opponent. Sweden took the bronze medal at last year’s WOC and will be battling for the medals this year again, even if they did not finish in the Top 6 at the European Championships. France proved with bronze at the European Championships that they can be strong also without Thierry Gueorgiou  – running with the same team at WOC. Several outsiders can battle for medals on a good technical day, including Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic and Great Britain. 

Norway starts with the gold medal winner from the Middle Eskil Kinneberg, continues with a very strong Olav Lundanes and finishes off with Magne Dæhli who struggled at the Middle. Norway’s plan is probably to give Dæhli a clear lead ahead of the last leg, as has been the case for Norway in their successful relays the last years. This is definitely possible again, but good technical performance by all runners is required.

Norway’s plan is probably to give Dæhli a clear lead ahead of the last leg, as has been the case for Norway in their successful relays the last years.

Switzerland is hungry to repeat their win from 2015 – and what a team setup they have got! The Swiss runners impressed a lot at the Middle with Hubmann, Howald and Kyburz in 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The same runners are in the relay team, with Howald first, then Hubmann and finally a physically very strong Kyburz on the last leg. A very interesting team, which on paper is even stronger than the Norwegian team. But relay is something special…

The Swiss runners impressed a lot at the Middle with Hubmann, Howald and Kyburz in 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

France has a strong team with first leg runner Nicolas Rio enjoing the green, Lativan terrain – he should be able to give France a good start of the relay. With Lucas Basset and Frederic Tranchand on the two last legs, everything is possible with good technical performance. Sweden did not have big success at the Middle, with Bergman, Ridefelt and Leandersson in 10th, 17th and 29th. They are howevere all three excellent orienteers who should be able to handle the Latvian forest, especially in a relay setting. A medal is definitely a possibility, and on a good day they can also battle with Norway and Switzerland about gold.

Of the outsiders, Czech Republic is maybe the team which is closest to a medal – finishing 4th at the European Championships and with a strong relay tradition. Russia has not the team they had a few years ago, but with Leonid Novikov on the last leg everything is possible if the two first runners do stable performances. Lativa and Estonia are well prepared for this terrain and could get an extra boost, but a medal may be difficult with all the strong opponents. Finally Great Britain finished 5th at the European Champs and should be mentioned here – they have a physically strong Kris Jones on the second leg, and Ralph Street impressed with a 13th place on the Middle.

World of O’s tip:

1. Norway
2. Switzerland
3. France

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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2 comments

  1. Lundanes is not running.

    Norwegian team:
    Gaute Hallan Steiwer, Eskil Kinneberg and Magne Dæhli (in that order).

    So should be an easy win for Switzerland.

    • It was not easy at all. Even Latvian team (among many other) threatened them until the very end. And Norway won after all. :)

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