Tove Alexandersson, Sweden and Matthias Kyburz, Switzerland are the 2018 overall World Cup winners after today’s exciting World Cup Final Sprint in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic. Both have now won the World Cup overall five times.
Two very interesting and challenging courses, with many alternative route choices, were set for the last race of the World Cup finals, the Sprint, in a mixture of traditional and modern urban area and small areas of parkland.
Celebration run for Alexandersson
The women’s race featured a near-perfect run by Tove Alexandersson, celebrating her biggest World Cup overall win ever, with a final gap of 316 points in the standings between her and second-placed Karolin Ohlsson. This is the fifth year in succession that she has taken the World Cup crown.
Alexandersson has dominated the World Cup right from the start this year, setting up a lead of 100 points after the first three races in Switzerland where she won Sprint and Long and was second in Middle. Her form continued through the World Championships (won Long and second in Sprint) and the Norway round (won both races). Natalia Gemperle holds on to third place in the World Cup overall, with Marika Teini, Finland fourth, and the Swiss pair Sabine Hauswirth and Judith Wyder fifth and sixth.
Ohlsson finished fourth today after making an early mistake, but was under no challenge in the standings once Natalia Gemperle was disqualified – she missed out control 16. Silver medallist today was the improving Finnish athlete Maija Sianova, 22 seconds down on Alexandersson, and Judith Wyder took third place, having lost second place through a slower route from 16 to 17.
Leandersson best in men’s race
The men’s race was won by Jonas Leandersson, Sweden by 7 seconds from the Belgian sprint specialist Yannick Michiels. Matthias Kyburz pushed very hard for second place, approaching and into the arena, but ended down on Michiels by 1 second. GPS replays showed that the route taken by Leandersson on leg 9-10 was decisive; a line further east looked promising but proved to include too much climbing to be optimal. Tim Robertson, New Zealand remained the fastest through the early stages, but made mistakes later on.
Daniel Hubmann was a bit off the pace today, however, so third place was more than adequate for Kyburz to be confirmed as overall World Cup winner. The final margin was 58 points, with Olav Lundanes holding on to third place, 68 points down on Hubmann. Matthias Kyburz started the season strongly with two victories and a second place in the European Championships on home ground, and from then it was consistency through the season that was the key to his success, just as in previous years.
So ends a fine World Cup final series of races, and we look forward to next year when the first ‘forest World Championships’ will take place in Norway.
Results World Cup Final Sprint is found here