Fortress sprint in Swedish colours thanks to Isac von Krusenstierna and Tove Alexandersson
The final race took place in the historic town of Terezín, which is dominated by several-storey defensive ramparts and moats. The organizers prepared courses with a tricky network of route choices 3.5 km long with 40 m elevation gain and 20 controls for women, and 3.9 km with 40 m elevation gain and 24 controls for men. The first gold medals went to Sweden thanks to Isac von Krusenstierna and Tove Alexandersson who managed these tricky courses best.
Only three runners pushed the time of the final race under 14 minutes: 23-year-old Swede Isac von Krusenstierna who finished seven seconds in front of the silver medallist Norwegian Kasper Harlem Fosser and thirteen seconds in front of bronze Tim Robertson from New Zealand. Von Krusenstierna took the lead in the first half of the race and did not let anyone else sit on the winning throne. “It was a little less stressful that I started in the beginning. I could only focus on my race and did not think of the others. It’s hard to evaluate my route choices now, but I think I’ve hit the best all the way through. The start was a bit easier than I expected, but the rest of the course didn’t surprise me. We were able to prepare well with the team by using Google Maps. We have even correctly estimated the look of the race map and tunnels,” commented the Swede on his first victory at WOC.
Even among women, it was a very tight race. For a long time, Natalie Gemperle representing The Neutral Athletes of Russia lead the race, but in the end, she was pushed to the silver position by the gold medallist Tove Alexandersson. The bronze medal went to the Danish sprinter Maja Alm after only six weeks of training and proper preparation for WOC. For Tove Alexandersson, it was her eleventh gold medal from world championships, but not an easy one to get: “I knew it would be probably very technical and that the route setters will prepare something special, with new fences so I was open-minded at the start. In the beginning, I did a mistake and thought that the race was over for me but I continued to fight.”