Sprint as the opening of WMTBOC2023: Nurminen and Bogar became the world champions in Jičín

The World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championship (WMTBOC) returned to the Czech Republic after eight years, and the opening sprint race in Jičín brought interesting courses and excellent results to the Czech team.


In very hot and humid weather, 46 women and 82 men finished the race in the historic center of the town of Jičín. The organizers prepared a very demanding course for the world's best elite riders, using both forest and urban areas in the city, and more than thirty controls on the course challenged the skills of all the competitors. In the tangling roads and alleys it was very easy to make a mistake, which in the orienteering race means in the best case scenario a loss of time, but mis-punches and subsequent disqualification were also no exception in Jičín.

Defending his title from the last year, the Czech representative Kryštof Bogar left the audience in no doubt and proved from the beginning that he has again brought excellent form to this year's World Championship. From the first split-times, he settled himself in the lead and was leading by more than half a minute halfway through the nine-kilometer course. Behind Kryštof, there was an even battle for the next positions, and there was not much left for the Czech men to occupy the entire podium.

After a series of mistakes and disqualifications of other athletes, Vojtěch Ludvík, another member of the Czech team, fought his way to second place at the finish line, and Estonian Lauri Malsroos finished third. Another Czech, Jan Hašek, was thirteen seconds short of the bronze, leaving him in an unpopular fourth place.

How did the world champion Kryštof Bogar see the race? "The race looked like I expected. Alternating terrain and pace, before a map-heavy passage there was always a physical section where you got out of breath a lot. But I focused on the map and it worked."

Similar to the winner of the men's category, the Finnish representative Kaarina Nurminen did well in the women's category. She held the lead from the start and the only woman who could keep up with the Finn was Britain's Emily Benham Kvale. However, she made a small mistake in the final passage while passing through the Jičín castle and arrived at the finish line with a half-minute loss. Czech representative Martina Tichovská held the third place for a long time, but in the end she made a mistake of almost a minute and ended up falling behind the third place by just one second.

"It was very challenging, I liked the very varied track with different types of terrain. I didn't drive completely without mistakes, sometimes I had to stop and read the map, but I'm glad that the mistakes weren't that big and I'm very happy with the result", said the winner at the finish line.

The race in the historic center of Jičín could also be watched live by Czech TV viewers, who also had a live image of the riders' current position on the race map.

And how did Pavel Musil, director of the MS MTBO, assess the progress of the event on the packed Jičín square?

"According to the evaluation of the participants, it was one of the most beautiful and at the same time the most demanding races in the history of our sport. I would like to thank the city management and our partners for their support, and I take my hat off to the amazing amount of work done by our entire organizing team."

The MTBO World Championship program continues after a day off with a long-distance race in Mostek on Tuesday.

More photos from sprint in WMTBOC 2023 gallery.

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