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WOC 2021 Relay Favourite Preview: LIVE from 16:10 CET


The World Orienteering Championships (WOC) women’s relay starts at 16:20 CET, the men’s at 18:25 CET. Sweden is reigning champions in both the women’s and men’s class, and have won 4 of 5 gold medals in this championship so far. Can Sweden continue their success with another double?

Follow the race live:

Expect the sandstone terrain to give spectacular TV-broadcasts!

Key information

Women Men
Start 16:20 CET 18:25 CET
Winner ready 18:05 CET 20:10 CET
Course details 4.1 km / 285 m climb / 15 ctrls 5.0 km / 360 m climb / 19 ctrls
Winning time 105 min total 105 min total
Reigning champion Sweden Sweden
Terrain Sandstone Sandstone

Reigning champions: Results WOC 2019 Relay


Terrain: Sandstone


The terrain is typical continental sandstone terrain of Kokořínsko, altitude 320 – 430 m (see map from one of the selection races above; the old map from the competition area is old with a different mapping standard and does not give full credit to this terrain types’ complexity). Its intricate morphology consists of plenty of valleys and reentrants crowned by massive sandstone rock formations. In places, the rocks are also present at other levels. Visibility: Mostly grown pine forest, where visibility is generally very good – limited in areas of young pine plantations and areas of mixed forest. Runnability is generally very good, though often significantly limited by the steepness of the slopes. In some parts, running is also limited by high blueberries (often present on plateaus and also on some slopes) and in thickets of various ages. Frequent animal tracks can make running easier on slopes.

Women: Sweden difficult to beat with super-Tove

With Tove Alexandersson on the team and three runners in the Top-6 at the middle distance, it will be very difficult to beat Sweden in the women’s class. Norway does however also have a very strong team, with two women Top-4 at the middle distance. Andrine Benjaminsen has shown that she is very good at women-vs-women battles, and could definitely decide a last relay for Norway in a tight battle against almost anyone. The Swiss team has one very strong runner in Simona Aebersold, and the rest of the team can perform at the highest level on a good day – and can battle for gold on a top day. The dark horse in this race is the Czech team, with two women in Top-9 in the middle distance, in addition to Jana Knapova who was disqualified at the middle distance, but showed that she had the speed and orienteering technique of the medalists.

Outsiders: Russia, Denmark, France, Finland.

WoO’s tip:
1. Sweden
2. Norway
3. Switzerland
Main challenger: Czech Republic

Team setup (may change)

1 Sweden 16:20
1 8652284 1. Lisa Risby
1 8651653 2. Sara Hagstrom
1 8651539 3. Tove Alexandersson
2 Swizerland 16:20
2 8652893 1. Elena Roos
2 8645506 2. Sabine Hauswirth
2 8652126 3. Simona Aebersold
3 Neutral 16:20
3 8652254 1. Anastasia Rudnaya
3 8647177 2. Tatiana Ryabkina
3 8647234 3. Svetlana Mironova
4 Norway 16:20
4 8653323 1. Marie Olaussen
4 8653388 2. Kamilla Steiwer
4 8653318 3. Andrine Benjaminsen
5 Czech Republic 16:20
5 8653390 1. Adela Indrakova
5 8651626 2. Denisa Kosova
5 8645446 3. Jana Knapova
6 Finland 16:20
6 8651524 1. Venla Harju
6 8652745 2. Amy Nymalm
6 8647124 3. Veera Klemettinen
7 Estonia 16:20
7 8651597 1. Annika Rihma
7 8652096 2. Evely Kaasiku
7 8645421 3. Marianne Haug
8 Denmark 16:20
8 8645549 1. Line Cederberg
8 8647200 2. Cecilie Friberg Klysner
8 8652621 3. Miri Thrane Oedum
9 United Kingdom 16:20
9 8647193 1. Grace Molloy
9 8652246 2. Jo Shepherd
9 8652230 3. Megan Carter Davies
10 Austria 16:20
10 8647131 1. Carina Polzer
10 8651598 2. Jasmina Gassner
10 8647122 3. Laura Ramstein

Men: Tight battle expected

Sweden is reigning champion, and has again a very strong team with silver-medalist from the middle distance Gustav Bergman as the key athlete. The Swedish team looks physically very strong, their main challenge is that the athletes are a bit unstable individually, seemingly running at a slightly higher speed than their orienteering skills allow for from time to time. In “relay mode”, running with less risk, they may be difficult to beat again. It will be interesting to see if Ridefelt has recovered enough from his injury at the middle – as of writing this he is in the team setup.

Norway was outside the medals at the men’s WOC relay on home ground in 2019, their big star Olav Lundanes is out with injury this year, and anchor from 2019 Magne Dæhli has struggled with injuries all winter and is out of the team. Still, Norway is definitely one of the main favourites to win the WOC 2021 relay with young Kasper Fosser as the key athlete. Fosser seems to be one of the strongest physically in the start field, he masters the relay terrain a lot better than the middle distance terrain, and he was central in Norway’s success at the Sprint Relay.

The last time Switzerland won the WOC relay was back in 2015, with Daniel Hubmann and Matthias Kyburz on the team along with Fabian Hertner. This year Daniel Hubmann is not in the relay team – focusing on Friday’s long. Instead  Martin Hubmann and Florian Howald – the men from the Sprint Relay team on Sunday – will have to deliver Matthias Kyburz in a good position when heading out onto the last leg. We all know what Kyburz can do on a last leg – it was Kyburz who decided the relay for Switzerland back in 2015, and Kyburz also showed impressive shape when winning the middle distance on Tuesday. But what can Hubmann and Howald do?

As for the women, the Czech team is the dark horse in this race. Can the Czech repeat the relay success from Switzerland in 2012 where the Czech teams current head coach Jan Sedivy won the Relay gold medal along with his team mates. The sandstone terrain is special, and the Czech runners have prepared exceptionally well for this relay.

WoO’s tip:
1. Norway
2. Sweden
3. Switzerland
Main outsider: Czech Republic

Team setup (may change)

201 Sweden 18:25
201 8645438 1. Albin Ridefelt
201 8644916 2. William Lind
201 8652764 3. Gustav Bergman
202 Finland 18:25
202 8653383 1. Miika Kirmula
202 8651668 2. Elias Kuukka
202 8653333 3. Olli Ojanaho
203 France 18:25
203 8645489 1. Mathieu Perrin
203 8652095 2. Lucas Basset
203 8652059 3. Frederic Tranchand
204 Czech Republic 18:25
204 8645444 1. Pavel Kubat
204 8653335 2. Milos Nykodym
204 8647161 3. Vojtech Kral
205 Norway 18:25
205 8653327 1. Gaute Steiwer
205 8652859 2. Kasper Harlem Fosser
205 8645480 3. Eskil Kinneberg
206 Swizerland 18:25
206 8651667 1. Martin Hubmann
206 8652734 2. Florian Howald
206 8647186 3. Matthias Kyburz
207 Austria 18:25
207 8652323 1. Robert Merl
207 8647213 2. Gernot Ymsen
207 8649996 3. Mathias Peter
208 Ukraine 18:25
208 8653301 1. Ruslan Glibov
208 8653368 2. Oleksandr Kratov
208 8652678 3. Artem Panchenko
209 Latvia 18:25
209 8653391 1. Arturs Paulins
209 8651444 2. Edgars Bertuks
209 8649688 3. Rudolfs Zernis
210 Germany 18:25
210 8652079 1. Felix Spaeth
210 8652215 2. Ole Hennseler
210 8651404 3. Bojan Blumenstein

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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  1. Thanks for all your preview/review and analysis work, Jan. Great to read!
    I am a little bit surprised that you put Norway as number one favorite in the men’s relay, though. Until now, I think only Fosser has shown the required level to be able to compete against the best. So I go for SWE here, as well.
    But we will see… I think it will be tight!

    • I think all teams have some weaknesses this year, it will be exciting. Could very well be Czech Republic on top, which would be very nice for the championship…