Kasper Fosser (NOR) had a phenomenal finish to last year’s World Cup season, where he won both individual races in Italy and thereby secured his first overall World Cup victory by nearly 100 points.
Going into this year’s World Cup final in Switzerland, Fosser’s lead is not as big – but there’s still an advantage of 42 points before the races in Davos Klosters this weekend.
Kasper Fosser won the overall World Cup last year ahead of Matthias Kyburz and Daniel Hubmann (both SUI). Photo: IOF/William Hollowell
Fosser and the rest of the orienteering elite has something special coming for them: A relay on Saturday, Middle distance on Sunday and a Long distance Monday – all taking place between 1500 and 2000 meters above sea level in the Swiss Alps.
In other words: Difficult orienteering on steep slopes, where the athletes’ physical skills of running in mountains will be put to a test.
The shape is coming back
Kasper Fosser’s specific preparations for the World Cup Final – and next year’s World Orienteering Championships in Flims Laax began in August, where he was on the Norwegian national team’s training camp in Switzerland.
– So, I know a little about how it’s going to be, and I think it will be a challenging terrain for everyone with climbs and steep slopes – steeper than we are used to in Norway. But hopefully it will be a nice, fast ground and some fun orienteering, Fosser says.
The 23-year-old Norwegian had a great start to the international season, where he won the individual sprint in Borås, Sweden in May after returning from an injury.
In June, he won the Sprint World Championship race in Denmark and in August, he was fourth on the EOC Long distance and part of the gold winning Norwegian relay team as well.
– There has been quite a lot of time to change the training and adapt to the physical part at least. I have been able to train quite well since EOC and I feel that my shape is coming back after not being that great in forest this year. But it takes a lot of preparation to be as good as the Swiss guys in this type of terrain. So, every hour on maps in Switzerland is worth a lot, Kasper Fosser says.
Fosser on his way to the exchange after second leg of the EOC relay, which he won with Magne Dæhli and Eskil Kinneberg in August. Photo: IOF / Donatas Lazauskas
“Good chance” to defend World Cup title
In the World Cup standings, Kasper Fosser has 222 points after the first four races. Sweden’s EOC Long distance champion Martin Regborn is second with 180 points, and his compatriot Gustav Bergman occupies third place after earning 173 points so far.
Sprint distance specialist Tim Robertson (NZL) is fourth (160) points, and the highest ranked “Swiss guy” is Matthias Kyburz in fifth position with 157 points. Unfortunately, he suffered a foot injury and has withdrawn from the races in Davos to recover. Fosser’s fellow Norwegian, Eskil Kinneberg has 151 points and rounds off the top 6.
When asked about his chances of repeating the overall World Cup win, Fosser replies:
– I think I have a good chance. Especially now that Matthias Kyburz is not on the start line, because he would be hard to beat there. I calculated, that if he won both distances this weekend, which I think would be possible, I would have to be second and third. Now I have a little more margin, so I don’t need to do perfect races, but I have to do two very steady races.
Fighting for seconds
But this does not mean that Kasper Fosser will use defensive tactics, when he leaves the start in Davos Höhwald on Sunday and Monday.
– No matter where I am in the overall standings, I still want to be on top in the individual races as well. So, I am going to fight for every second in the forest.
With Matthias Kyburz out of the equation, it isn’t easy for Kasper Fosser to pick out the greatest favorite to win the two individual races.
– It’s hard to tell. I have never competed in international forest races in Switzerland. But I do think the Swiss guys will be good, as they always are in Switzerland. The Swedes showed great shape in Estonia, and though this is completely different, I think they will be hard to beat. I hope I am the one they should be looking out for, but we will see, Kasper Fosser says with a smile on his face.
Follow Kasper Fosser and the rest of the orienteering elite this weekend at IOF LIVE’s Web-TV with English commentary. 15 EUR for all races – 6 EUR for one.
The competitions will be broadcasted in Sweden, Norway, Finland, France and Switzerland. Find the details here:
Program (local time is CEST – UTC +2):
Saturday, Oct. 1
Web-TV 11.50 – 16.00
First start 12.00/14.00 Men/Women
Sunday, Oct. 2
First start 9.20/9.50 Women/Men
Web-TV: 11.35 – 15.00
Monday, Oct. 3
First start 9.15/9.40 Women/Men
Web-TV: 13.00 – 17.30