The Swedish World Cup leaders Tove Alexandersson and Gustav Bergman, as well as Norwegian relay King Magne Dæhli led a star-spangled field when runners from 12 nations practiced their relay skills a week and a half ahead of WOC 2019.
The afternoon session was held in the WOC test terrain northwest of Halden and gathered runners from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, England, France, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, USA, and Canada, plus the Spanish coach!
With mass start on round 1 and pool starts on round 2 it was a perfect session in the partly challenging terrain. Tove Alexandersson came straight from a comfortable win in O-Ringen to be alone in front on round 1. She chose to step out for round 2.
Tove with faith in her plan
-It’s great with common sessions like these. We often run with other nations on national team training camps, and now when we’re here with just the selected few WOC runners it’s extra good more runners gather like this, Alexandersson said after the session.
ON TRACK: The Swedish women with Tove Alexandersson (left) were smiling after having dominated the relay session.
- Why didn’t you run round 2?
- That was according to my plan and I stick to my personal plan, the world’s number one explained.
When orienteers get lost Norwegians say that he/she was on a “berry trip”. Tove was nowhere near that but did actually hunt for some raspberries after the session was completed. Tove and the Swedish squad will train in Østfold until Monday, before they have a few days at home before returning in good time for the opening ceremony on August 12th. Tove’s teammate Karolin Ohlsson was the one to sprint first across the finish line. She’s back from injuries in a heel and a hip but didn’t seen affected when she sprinted down Great Britain’s Jo Sheperd in the home stretch.
Dæhli in shape
Magne Dæhli was best among the men. The man who’ve secured gold medals for Norway in the last three WOC relays won the first round and shortened the distance to the front group significantly when he started round 2 in the last pool.
IN GOOD PACE: Magne sprinting towards the end of yesterdays training.
The winner of round 2 was the Fin Miika Kirmula, who has had a strong season so far.
Sweden’s World Cup leader Gustav Bergman settled for running round 1. Everything has not gone according to the plan this summer.
-But then again it never does, does it? Bergman said with a smile and claims to be back on track with his plan. In June he won both the middle-distance and the chase at the World Cup in Finland. He chose not to run O-Ringen to avoid being worn out.
- I’m not the favourite
- Do you feel any pressure ahead of WOC 2019?
- I’m happy that I ran as good as I did in June and I think most runners would have traded their results with mine. We’ll see, that is two months ago. Many will show up at their strongest and best on a WOC. I will not say that I’m the favourite, but I hope to be in fighting position to win. Then we’ll see…
Hoping for many spectators
Swedish national team coach Håkan Carlsson tells us that everything is well in the Swedish squad 11 days ahead of WOC. The team is well prepared and believe they master the WOC terrain, which they proofed last autumn with five wins of six possible during pre-WOC.
- WOC 2019 expects over 10.000 spectator runners and we expect a party for the masses, Carlsson says.
- It sounds like we’re up for some fun and I hope plenty of Swedes will come to cheer us on, Carlsson says with a smile.
300 runners from 48 nations are coming to WOC 2019.
Spain’s coach Raúl Ferra and USA’s Greg Ahlswede were representing WOC2019s underdogs on Thursday’s session.
- It was fun but challenging. I hope I perform better at WOC than I did today, Greg said with a smile.