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All eyes on Grindelwald!

The World Cup Final weekend, with three exciting races in prospect, starts on Friday in Grindelwald, Switzerland. Almost 200 athletes from 23 nations will take part.

The final World Cup round has been staged in Switzerland for several years now, and this year it is under new management, with Matthias Niggli the Event Director and Simone Niggli Technical Director. Grindelwald is a well-known alpine tourist village, and whilst the Long Distance is on upper land, the Middle race will finish in the town square ‘Eigerplatz’ and the Sprint Relay will start and finish there. All the terrain is completely new to orienteering.

Cable car to Long race venue

For the Long race on Friday, athletes will make use of a cable car route to take them up to 2180 m above sea level for the quarantine and start. The terrain for this race is typical Swiss coniferous forest and open alpine pasture with lots of contour and rock detail on moderate to steep slopes, all between 1300 and 1900 m above sea level. The Long Distance course planned for men is 11.7 km + 780 m climb, estimated winning time 85 minutes, while the women have 7.7 km + 560 m climb, the winner expected to take about 76 minutes.

At this height at this time of year there is a risk of snow, and if there is too much snow a Middle Distance race will be held instead on a lower reserve area.

Middle race finishes in town square

Saturday sees the Middle race, the individual World Cup Final, on similar terrain to the Long but much lower down (1000 – 1400 m asl.). The courses are planned for winning times of about 35 minutes, so men have 5.5 km with 275 m climb and women race over 4.7 km, climbing 225 m. This race and the Sprint Relay will be fully televised and transmitted on IOF LiveCenter – book your ticket now!

Urban Sprint Relay

The Relay Final, a Sprint Relay for teams of four (2 men, 2 women in the order WMMW) is on a 1:4000 map of the town and takes athletes through many side streets and narrow pathways and across some lawn areas. For this there is a TV presentation of leading teams before the start, and an intense atmosphere in the cosy town square is guaranteed.

Alexandersson and Kyburz favourites for overall titles

Matthias Kyburz and Tove Alexandersson

Tove Alexandersson, Sweden and Natalia Gemperle, Russia will fight for the women’s title as Maja Alm, currently third in the standings, is unable to compete because she is recovering from injury. Helena Bergman, Sweden and home athlete Sabine Hauswirth, separated by 19 points, will also be fighting for top placings and a good share of the prize money. The Swiss athlete Matthias Kyburz is favourite for the men’s title, but as many as 12 athletes have a chance of matching his score and second-placed Martin Regborn, Sweden, has prepared very thoroughly for this weekend (see article in the latest IOF Newsletter). Ability to run strongly on hilly terrain, coupled with good route finding through the contour detail and rocks, will for sure be the keys to success.

Sweden is already assured the Relay title, with Switzerland, Russia and Norway fighting for the other medal positions. But one can be sure that Sweden will be looking for a fifth win in what for them has been an exceptional season.

A separate article on this website gives details of race timings, LIVE Orienteering and TV production. In summary:

Friday: Long Distance, first start 1140, last start 1510, women’s race finish around 1620, men’s 1640.

Saturday: Middle Distance, women starts 1000 – 1324, men 1130 – 1459.

Sunday: Sprint Relay, mass start 1425, finish expected around one hour later.


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