World Cup final: host Switzerland dominates the relays
The opening races of the World Cup final weekend, the relays, were both won by Switzerland, still strong at home. Joey Hadorn and Simona Aebersold in the second leg brought their teams ahead by 32 seconds and 1 minute 5 seconds respectively.
The Swiss first team won the men’s relay with two decisive performances, the first from the eternal Daniel Hubmann who came on the first change in the lead. Then final stage rider Joey Hadorn was clearly the strongest of them all on the hills; he came out 1.32 in the lead and made a few mistakes early on (almost 1 minute), but could still take the team to victory by 32 seconds.
The race started well for Simon Imark, Sweden 2, who took a good lead in the first stages. However, Hubmann was running very hard and sure and gave Florian Howald the best possible start on stage two. in front by the end of the leg. Here, the three Swiss teams were close to each other, just behind.
Sweden 2 took the lead again at the start of stage three, but unfortunately their stage two runner, Isac von Krusenstierna, was disqualified for a bad kick. Norway’s Eskil Kinnerberg was in the lead for parts of the stage, and Sweden 1 (Anton Johansson) also entered the fray when passing the arena. Then Hadorn really showed his speed and strength, while Johansson made a mistake heading for the wrong block on open ground at check 16. Sweden 1 finished in bronze medal position, 52 seconds behind Switzerland.
In the women’s race, Sweden’s Lisa Risby, after a slow start, was the strongest in the first stage, finishing just ahead of Norway and Switzerland. Return leg runners Sara Hagstrom (Sweden) and Marie Olaussen (Norway) built a big gap, but towards the end of the return leg athlete Sabine Hauswirth was the better, closing the gap to 15 seconds behind Sweden when changing.
Simona Aebersold then had a great final leg for Switzerland, taking the lead halfway through and never seeming to lose it.
As with the men, there was a long stage of around 1km, mostly uphill, in the middle of the race. It offered interesting route choice as well as a physical challenge in the mix of alpine forest and open terrain, and with special care needed when approaching control. The whole course lent itself to some dramatic television footage, both around the controls and over some of the spectacular Swiss alpine terrain, up to 2,000m above sea level.
Relive the Relays at IOF LIVE
Unfortunately, today’s weather did not match the scenery – there was rain everywhere and it was very cold.
The next race, tomorrow, is the individual middle distance starting at 9:20 am.
Follow the middle distance on IOF LIVE
- Switzerland 1 (Elena Roos, Sabine Hauswirth, Simona Aebersold) 1:45:59
- Sweden 1 (Lisa Risby, Sara Hagstrom, Sanna Fast) + 1.05
- Norway 1 (Tone Bergerud Lye, Marie Olaussen, Andrine Benjaminsen) + 3.00
- Czechia + 11.07, 5. Finland + 11.11, 6. Poland + 13.56.
- Switzerland 1 (Daniel Hubmann, Florian Howald, Joey Hadorn) 1:41:34
- Norway 1 (Magne Dahli, Kasper Harlem Fosser, Eskil Kinneberg) + 0.32
- Sweden 1 (Viktor Svensk, Emil Svensk, Anton Johansson) +0.52
- Czech Republic + 1.42, 5. Italy + 2.23, 6. France + 4.20.