EOC relay - first leg.
The live results were up for the whole week (we noticed for the sprint relay) and they told you an awful amount about the courses. For this race, we knew about 6 of the unforked controls and we also knew there would be a 1.6km unforked leg back to the arena about 2/3rds of the race. It allowed us to plan very similar courses to what we ended up facing, which takes some of the fun out of things but everyone had this at this point.
It was a fast pace at the start, so I tried to settle in and make sure I found my control. I then worked my way through the pack up the hill to the second and was with the leaders through the unforked 3rd. I had to take the lead of my pack to the 4th and we were a bit behind when we came out of the forking, probably just due to a longer forking. In the next section, I stayed behind but in sight of the leaders, just keeping a tab on where I should be going. I once again took control to the 13th, making sure I got my forking and I got to the front here. I stayed right at the front until the anticipated long leg. I was happy with the route chosen by Florian and we were moving well but I still wanted to push a bit harder in case someone had chosen a better route. Halfway through the long leg I took the lead and pushed a bit and leading through the arena passage, which was cool. I was a bit scrappy around the last loop but always saved by the group so only lost place in the train with each mistake. I got back to the front on the way to the last control and put the hammer down to hand over in first. Job done. Probably my best first leg on an international stage but it wasn't exactly super difficult.
Peter got into an all-star pack of SUI, SUI and NOR on the 2nd leg and they pulled out a lead on the chasers. A small miss on the last loop meant that Ralph went out in the bronze medal position, but with the chasers closer than they might have been. A good performance and still in the hunt.
Ralph was caught by FRA, CZE and RUS quite early on. FRA got a bit of a gap for the bronze but Ralph battled with CZE the whole way, dropping RUS. Finished in 5th place for another 'close but no cigar'.