Tove Alexandersson (SWE) and Matthias Kyburz (SUI) once again proved their strength in the newest disciplin of international orienteering: the Knock-Out sprint, which took place in the centre of Vicenza on the last day of the European Orienteering Championships in Italy.
But it was not a day without drama, as Kasper Fosser (NOR) and Joey Hadorn (SUI) collided during a quarter final early in the afternoon and had to be examined by a doctor.
After further examination in an ambulance, they could return to the arena, feeling okay, considering the circumstances.
And they could both see Tove Alexandersson winning her final after a supreme performance in the narrow streets of Vicenza, where there was never doubt about her win. She lead the field all way through the 1,9 kilometers and defended her European title in superior style.
Elena Roos (SUI) put a great end to her career by winning the silver medal – her 11th international championship medal – ahead of compatriot Natalia Gemperle.
Hanna Lundberg (SWE) was four seconds behind Gemperle in fourth place and was followed by Sara Hagström (SWE) and Victoria Hæstad Bjørnstad (NOR) in the subsequent positions.
The three Swedish men in the final, Isac von Krusenstierna, Jonatan Gustafsson and Emil Svensk started out the fastest, but the reigning World and European champion Matthias Kyburz took over the lead halfway and never let go of it.
Although the six athletes took many different route choices on the last legs creating excitement at the arena: Kyburz stayed in front and won, two seconds ahead of Jonatan Gustafsson, Emil Svensk and Ralph Street in that order. They were all within 0,5 seconds of each other.
Riccardo Rancan (SUI) was nearly 10 seconds behind in fifth position, and von Krusenstierna was 10 seconds further down.
The Knock-Out Sprint was also the last race of the Orienteering World Cup 2023 with high expectations for the duel between Kasper Fosser and Matthias Kyburz, as Fosser only had a 33 points lead before the race.
Because of Fosser’s collision and early exit and Kyburz’s supreme win, the Swiss took his sixth overall World Cup win. His last title was in 2018.
Fosser finished second after two titles in a row, and Gustav Bergman (SWE) held on to his third place despite being knocked-out in the quarter final.
Emil Svensk ended in fourth place and Ralph Street overtook Martin Regborn’s fifth place after qualifying for the final.
Tove Alexandersson was already certain to win her ninth World Cup title after her silver medal in Wednesday’s individual sprint and Sara Hagström’s second place was not in danger either today.
On the other hand, Simona Aebersold (SUI) just barely held onto third place with 367 points after her exit in the semifinal. Natalia Gemperle climbed to 365 points by claiming today’s bronze but was two points short of third place.
Switzerland occupied the next place as well, as Elena Roos’s silver medal made her jump to fifth place, with Marie Olaussen in sixth.
Sweden won the Team World Cup ahead of Switzerland and Norway.
Next year’s Orienteering World Cup consists of four rounds in Switzerland, Italy, Hungary (also EOC) and Finland.
Photos: IOF / Kristina Lindgren