World champions title for the Czech men's relay, the women's gold goes to Finland

The 2023 MTBO World Championship ended up with a relay race in Nová Paka. The Czech men's relay with Stránský, Ludvík and Bogar confirmed their excellent performance and won the race ahead of Lithuania and Switzerland. The women's field was dominated by Finland, which won by almost ten minutes ahead of the French. Third place belongs to the Czech women's relay.

Nová Paka became the location of the last event of this year's world championship in MTBO. The very varied racing area also included a ski slope, so there was no shortage of descents and climbs. In addition, with the morning rain, they became even more difficult and, for example, braking in order to the turn at the control on the ski slope sometimes ended with a spectacular grass slide, which a professional footballer would not be ashamed of.

Twenty-five men's and thirteen women's relay teams took part in the race. Junior teams also ran their race, but there were a little fewer of them, as some juniors started in the elite race.

Immediately after the start of the women's elite race, Marika Hara from Finland took the lead, but in the first split it was Veronika Kubínová who punched the control first. However, the Finn soon took the lead back and from then on the Suomi team dominated. Their relay team gradually built up an ever-increasing lead, which stopped at the finish line at the ten-minute mark. The French women were on the silver position for most of the race, and the question was mainly who would take home the bronze medal. After the second leg, the Swedes were closest to it, but then they lost more than twenty minutes to the fastest competitor - Martina Tichovská, who finished for the Czech Republic, took advantage of Sweden's hesitation and brought our relay team to the finish line in third position.

The development of the men's race was completely in favor of the Czech colors. Vojtěch Stránský kept the Czech team in the lead in the first leg. First in a small group, from which, however, Jussi Laurila dropped out after a heavy collision, later Stránský also escaped to the Austrian Hnilica. The two-time world champion Vojtěch Ludvík entered the second leg and the lead of the Czech trio continued to grow. There was a three-minute lead at the moment when Ludvík handed over to Kryštof Bogar in the last leg and it was clear that only a great disaster could deprive the Czech Republic of the gold medal. Bogar showed his expertise again, drove another three minutes on the other opponents, and the entire arena in Nová Paka could rejoice at the Czech first place. The strength and composure of the Czech men was also confirmed by the second Czech team, which finished second in the unreduced order. Czech men won all five world titles in the men's competitions of this year's WC. The representatives of Lithuania were very happy with the second place in the relays, while Switzerland finished third.

In the category of junior women, the Finns won before the Swedes and the French team. The second home team of Czech junior girls finished in third place, unfortunately the first Czech relay did not finish the race due to an injury to Lucie Messnerová in the second leg. In the M20, the French were unbeatable, Finland finished ahead of Norway with an excellent finish by Eemil Koskinen for second place.

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