Albin Ridefelt (Sweden) and Simona Aebersold (Switzerland) took the gold medals in the European Orienteering Championships (EOC) Middle distance in Estonia. As in the long distance the orienteering was very tricky, and many of the pre-race favourites struggled in the bushy terrain. Seldom have we seen so many runners stopping or making mistakes on the TV controls.
The biggest surprise of the day was the Estonian woman Evely Kaasiku who took a fantastic silver medal on home ground from an early start number – smiling wider and wider for each runner coming in behind – among those the world’s number one the last years Tove Alexandersson who finished 14th at +6:45. Finland’s Venla Harju got another medal after winning the long distance, becoming the queen of this European Championships. Ane Dyrkorn (Norway), Marika Teini (Finland) and Johanna Öberg (Sweden) took the final places within Top 6 – with Öberg down at +4:47.
In the men’s class the day was all Swedish. Behind Ridefelt early leader Anton Johansson took the silver medal with Gustav Bergman in third – all within 37 seconds. The best non-Swedish runner was Finnish Olli Ojanaho at +2:05 with Loic Capbern (France) and Eskil Kinneberg (Norway) in shared fifth place.
Men: Three men in the battle for gold
Three men had clearly the best combination of speed and orienteering in today’s middle distance – the three Swedish medalists. The three of them had very similar speed, however, and the maximum time gap between them throughout the course was 50 seconds. Albin Ridefelt won the race through slightly higher speed in the last part of the race, whereas Bergman lost the possible gold medal due to a wrong route choice on the long leg to control 6. Below the grapical split time analysis shows the race development between the three medalists.
Here the route choice leg to control 6 is shown – definitely the most decisive leg on the course. You lost at least a minute by not running around to the left – many runners lost even more by going through the dense forest either straight or to the right. Of the medalists only Bergman did not run left.
Below additional runners are shown in the graphical split time analysis. Note that although the leg to control 6 was very decisive, no other runners would have been in the medal battle even if this leg was taken out of the equation. Florian Howald was the runner from another nation who looked mostly like a medal candidate, but although his speed was good, he lost more than 1:30 on the long leg by going very straight (one of the red lines above, like Bergman, but losing more time) and due to a quite big mistake at control 16 (nearly 1:20 lost in the bush).
Other interesting legs on the course are shown below.
Women: Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes …
In the women’s class many runners had the speed to take a medal, but a lot of women ruined their medal dream by making big mistakes in the tricky estonian forest. The above graphical split browser shows most of the women who were very close to the medals – 10 women in all. Aebersold and Kaasiku clearly had the most stable races, with Aebersold with somewhat higher speed. Aebersold’s only mistake was at the 12th control, but she saved the day by stopping and restarting her orienteering.
The women’s long leg to control 5 had the same challenge as the men’s long leg – and here it was even more important to run around to the left, as typically is the case in the women’s course. The top three on the leg actually finished top 4 in the race, with gold medalist Aebersold ahead of silver medalist Kaasiku.
Fastest of the runners not running to the left is Maria Olaussen at +1:03 with Tove Alexandersson at +1:13. Marika Teini who was less than 40 seconds from the bronze medal lost 1:14 by going very straight here. Tone Lye Bergerud in 7th lost 1:26, Venla Harju who finished 3rd lost 1:29 by running all the way to the right. And the list goes on and on – with big time losses for many. What a leg!
The leg to control 12 was also a very influental leg in the race. Here Aebersold had her worst leg and lost 46 seconds, Harju lost 1:55 and pre-race favourite Alexandersson lost 5:10(!).
Another important leg was the leg to control 16. Here Lisa Risby lost a possible silver medal – having a very good race up to here – and Marika Teini lost a possible bronze medal (for the second time). Andrine Benjaminsen also lost a lot of time here.
Control 7 was where Benjaminsen really lost time, though:
Maps and GPS-tracking
See below for links to maps and GPS-tracking.
|9||Tomas Krivda||Czech Republic||38:47||+3:07|
|10||Max Peter Bejmer||Sweden||39:02||+3:22|
|13||Ralph Street||Great Britain||39:20||+3:40|
|19||Kasper Harlem Fosser||Norway||40:11||+4:31|
|7||Tone Bergerud Lye||Norway||40:43||+5:03|
|15||Tereza Janosikova||Czech Republic||42:39||+6:59|
|16||Victoria Haestad Bjornstad||Norway||42:44||+7:04|
|20||Grace Molloy||Great Britain||43:35||+7:55|