Vojtěch Ludvík and Nikoline Splittorff, world champions in the long distance
After a successful Sunday sprint in Jičín, the competitors moved to a more hilly terrain with views of the Giant Mountains (Krkonoše). The race started under the Pecka Castle, and bikers had more than thirty checkpoints on the course. In order to find all of them, the men's elite had to drive almost forty kilometers with an elevation gain of more than a kilometer. Another rival for many competitors were the high temperatures, which exceeded 30 degrees Celsius already in the morning.
In the men's category, the front of the race was balanced in the first third of the race, but after less than an hour of driving, the trio, consisting of Hellmueller from Swiss, Haga from Finland and Vojtěch Ludvík from Czechia established themselves in the lead. It soon became clear that only these three will likely fight for the first place, and the one who makes the fewest mistakes has the best chance. More precisely, the least amount of small mistakes, because there are also mistakes that you make only once and yet the race is practically over for you. Unfortunately, this happened to the Finnish competitor, who missed a control right at the start of the race, continued the race without realizing and was devastated at the finish line, knowing he had the second fastest time of the day.
Vojtěch Ludvík, who was in a fight for first place, ended up winning by more than two minutes on Hellmueller. Vojtěch Stránský, who drove excellently and almost flawlessly, finished third, managing to beat even strongly finishing sprint world champion Kryštof Bogar.
"It was a nice race. At times I felt like I was on a short course or a sprint, I had to stop often and look for route choices to avoid mistakes. In the end, they came anyway, but I really enjoyed the race", said Vojtěch Ludvík at the finish line during the happy talks after winning the race.
Among the women, the battle for the gold medal soon narrowed down to Denmark's Nikoline Splittorff and the second woman in Sunday's sprint, Great Britain's Emily Benham Kvale. The challenging end of the race went better for the competitor from Denmark and she could celebrate the victory ahead of the British at the finish line, while Gabriele Andrasiuniene from Lithuania finished third. Martina Tichovská also kept her ambitions for a medal until the eleventh control, but she did not choose the optimal route choice for the twelfth and was unable to decrease the loss.
"It was really hard. The first part in the village (Pecka - editor's note) looked practically like a sprint and it surprised me a little. Even though I made a few mistakes in the middle of the race, I was able to concentrate and at the end experienced an amazing racing flow", said the winner at the finish line.
In the junior category, Sofie Stránská from the Czech team won the title, defeating Gertrud Riis Madsen from Denmark by more than four minutes, Sweden's Tilda Palm was at the finish line two minutes later. Among the juniors, Eemil Koskinen from Finland was the fastest, Austrian Hannes Hnilica was second and Flurin Schnyder from Switzerland was third.