Hochfilzen 2017: The Relays!

Holy s**t! How are you supposed to summarise the Men’s Relay in Hochfilzen?! I went with absolute madness!

Here goes; it didn’t snow but it was very windy and it caused chaos in the range, 8 teams were lapped including the hosts Austria, of the 18 teams that finished the Czech Republic were last, Belgium were leading after the first leg and there were about 103 penalty loops!!!

The Norwegians emerged from the chaos in the best position with Bjoerndalen shooting well to keep the at the front after the first leg. Michael Roesch of Belgium was amazing and passed Ole Einar to hand over in the lead. Belgium that were team 26 were now up to 1st.

Florent Claude continued Belgium’s good start but Henrik L’Abee Lund put Norway into a lead they would not give up. Germany were pretty consisted and came home second with no penalties. Third went to France who did 2 penalty loops with Jean Guillaume Beatrix on the first loop but great legs from Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet brought them back to the podium.

Sweden were great in 4th despite Peppe Femling being mowed down by Beatrix on the first leg! Italy were fourth and their best performer was Thierry Chenal on his World Cup debut weekend showing Windisch and Hofer how to shoot. Ukraine were 6th.

There were also some issues in the range with some very slow reactions by the range officials. Maksim Varabei and Matvey Eliseev both needed assistance and didn’t get it very quickly.

In the end the Belgian team finished 16th with Tom Lahaye Goffart and Thierry Langer doing 3 penaltyy loops each but both are inexperienced at this level and actually performed really well in tough conditions especially when finding themselves at the sharp end of a World Cup race.

The women still had windy conditions to contend with but their shooting was better and the wind maybe not quite as strong. The Germans led after the first leg with a solid performance from Vanessa Hinz. Franziska Hildebrand made it more interesting needing 4 spares and letting the others back into the race.

The Swiss were up at the front along with the Ukraine, Sweden, Belarus and Russia but Marie Dorin Habert went on the penalty loop twice in the first lap to put France well behind and Hilde Fenne did 3 to put Norway out of contention.

Coming into the final lap it was Germany with Maren Hammerschmidt and Switzerland with Lena Haecki along with Ukraine’s Valj Semerenko who looked like the podium finishers. Laura Dahlmeier on the last lap was steady and brought her team home in first for their sixth relay win in a row.

The Swiss dropped back with Irene Cadurisch doing 2 penalty loops. Olena Pidhrushna took Ukraine to second place and unbelievably the French got third doing exactly what the men did coming back from 2 penalty loops on the first lap to get on the podium!

Russia were 4th, Switzerland were 5th which is still a great result for them and the Czech Republic were 6th.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Advertisements

Hochfilzen 2017: The Pursuits!

Snow, snow, snow! It’s been a while since we have seen so much snow at the biathlon races! It has made for some interesting racing especially today in the Pursuits!

The men started us off and with plenty of snow and wind Johannes Boe took his third win of the season. It was a straight fight between him and Martin Fourcade with none of the others getting even close to the win. Johannes and Martin were pretty well matched, Johannes missing 2 on the first prone and Martin missing one. They both shot well in shoots two and three both just missing 1 in the first stand.

So they arrived on the range together for the final shoot and normally you expect Martin to clear and Johannes to shoot too fast and miss. Not today! Johannes shot fast and cleared all the targets and Martin missed three! That’s right three! It seems that Johannes has the upper hand at the moment and the last thing you want to give him is more confidence!

Jakov Fak concentrated on his own race and although he briefly lost third place to Henrik L’Abee Lund he retook it and shot 19/20. Thanks to Fourcade’s three misses he was able to pass him to finish second and continue his great start to the season. Fourcade fought off Simon Schempp for third on the line.

Fifth went to Tarjei Boe who came from 14th and sixth went to Maxim Tsvetkov from 20th. Other big movers were Quentin Fillon Maillet from 38th to 12th, Freddie Lindstrom from 44th to 16th and Evgeniy Garanichev from 57th to 26th. There were also a couple of personal bests for Ruslan Tkalenko in 35th and Vytautas Strolia in 38th.

The women’s race seemed like someone had given you a Christmas present of a snow globe from ‘ye olden times’ biathlon. We saw Anastasiya Kuzmina winning her first race since 2014. Second went to Kaisa Makarainen and third to Darya Domracheva. Where have all the youngsters gone?

Domracheva got off to a good start clearing the first prone with Kuzmina missing one. They matched each others shooting until the third shoot when Dasha missed and Kuzmina cleared all the targets on both stands to win by 10 seconds. Coming up behind was Makarainen with 2 misses altogether but faster skiing meant she passed Dasha for second place.

Wierer was 4th, Olsbu 5th and Dzhima 6th. Iryna Kryuko went from 35th to 9th with a clean shoot. Vanessa Hinz went from 27th to 12th, Marie Dorin Habert moved from 34th to 14th and Johanna Taliherm went from 45th to 29th to claim her best result on the World Cup to date.

The Relays are next which means Kaisa Makarainen takes the yellow bib to France as does Martin Fourcade. Imagine if Johannes took the yellow bib from Martin in Annecy!!!

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Hochfilzen 2017: The Sprints!

We are back in Austria for World Cup 2! The traditional Hochfilzen things were on show, the trees with Christmas baubles and of course a dog in a hat!

The Sprints were the first races and both on the same day. The men went first and we had another Boe victory! The brothers have now won 3 out of 4 races this season. Could it be the Mazet effect in his second season as shooting coach? Hopefully they are not peaking too early!

Johannes took this one mainly by skiing like a madman on the first loop and giving himself a nice lead over everyone else. Luckily for him he managed to shoot clean and won the race by 12 seconds.

Martin Fourcade was second for his 4th podium from 4 races. He stared behind Johannes today but even though he shot clean and made up time on the Norwegian on the last lap he couldn’t catch him after his blistering start. Martin was spending less time in the range today possibly realizing that he can’t take so much time now. After losing by under a second last week he has sped up so that it doesn’t happen again!

Third place went to the returning Jakov Fak. He has come back from illness in great form shooting clean and skiing well. Simon Schempp was 4th (1 miss), Henrik L’Abee Lund with 5th (10/10) and Arnd Peiffer was 6th (10/10).

There were some personal bests too for Germany’s Philipp Nawrath who was 9th with 10/10 and the amazing Finn Tero Seppaelae who missed 1 shot but finished 24th. He previous PB was 71st! The Ukrainian Ruslan Tkalenko was 37th with a perfect shoot and Italian Thierry Chenal was 45th on his World Cup debut.

The men had good conditions for their race with no snow and little wind. The women were not so lucky with heavy snow and strong wind in the range. Experience rose to the top in those conditions and Darya Domracheva won the race from bib 71. She somehow shot clean and won her first race for a long time!

Second went to Anastasiya Kuzmina who had 1 miss and was 22 seconds back from Darya, about the time it takes to do a penalty loop! Dorothea Wierer was third also with 1 miss.

Vita Semerenko was 4th (10/10), Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold was 5th shooting clean for her career best result on the World Cup and Kaisa Makarainen was 6th (8/10).

Laura Dahlmeier returning from illness was 16th with 2 misses. Last week’s winner Denise Herrmann came back down to earth missing 4 in 28th.

Russia’s Svetlana Mironova got her best World Cup result in 9th with 1 miss. Estonia’s Tuuli Tomingas got her personal best in 57th with no misses to qualify for the Pursuit for the first time!

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Oestersund 2017: The Pursuits!

Well, well, well Denise Herrmann proved everyone wrong didn’t she! The general consensus was that she would not repeat her Sprint victory in the Pursuit as she has the least experience in the field and has never led the race before.

WRONG! She produced a great race to take her second victory in a row and really worry the other women! Hopefully not too many other cross country skiers will follow her move as if you don’t choose biathlon as your first sport it is very suspicious! 😉

The first two prone shoots were pretty straightforward for Herrmann hitting 10/10. It was in the first stand that she had a wobble! She missed two and that allowed Justine Braisaz to catch up to her. Both cleaned the second stand and left the range together but then Herrmann just skied off into the distance winning by 25 seconds and leaving poor Justine to miss out on the win again. She shot 20/20 and will take the yellow bib to Hochfilzen after having a great week here in Sweden.

Third place went to Marte Olsbu who moved from 7th to the final podium spot with 2 missed targets. She passed Lisa Vittozzi who had just one miss and came home 4th. Maren Hammerschmidt went from 12th to 5th.

Nadezhda Skardino was 6th hitting 20/20 making it 50/50 for the individual races which is ridiculously impressive! Olena Pidhrushna went from 28th to 9th, Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht moved from 27th to 11th and Iryna Kryuko went from 53rd to 22nd. It was a bad day for Yuliia Dzhima who went from third down to 21st missing 5 targets.

Normal service was resumed in the men’s race with Martin Fourcade winning his 64th World Cup race. He managed to defeat the double assault from the Boe brothers this time! The top 3 from the Sprint, Fourcade, Tarjei Boe and Lesser got to the first prone together but then Lesser missed 4 and his chance was gone. Boe and Fourcade missed 1 which left Svendsen and Dolder in the lead ahead of Andrejs Rastorgujevs.

At the second prone Boe and Fourcade shot clean and retook the lead. The first standing shoot would decide the winner as Fourcade hit all five and Boe missed 3. Behind Fourcade the battle was on for second and third. Jakov Fak and Quentin Fillon Maillet cleaned the first stand while others missed and they both missed 1 in the final shoot leaving a ski race to decide the positions. Fak managed to get away from Fillon Maillet in the last section of the track and took his first podium since 2015. Last year was ruined for Fak through illness so it was great to see him back at the top.

Svendsen just pipped home favourite Freddie Lindstrom for 4th and Lars Helge Birkeland came from 29th to finish 6th. Another Norwegian Henrik L’Abee Lund moved from 41st to 12th, Ondrej Moravec went from 44th to 22nd and Evgeniy Garanichev moved from 55th to 29th.

That concludes the action from Oestersund and now we move swiftly to Hochfilzen for a Sprint, Pursuit and the Relays. The yellow bibs are in the hands of the French with Justine Braisaz and Martin Fourcade leading the Total Scores.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Oestersund 2017: The Sprints!

Another race, another new winner on the Women’s World Cup!

Well we knew it was just a matter of time before the Herrmannator started picking of the other biathletes! That’s right Germany’s Denise Herrmann in only her second season as a biathlete has won her first World Cup race.

You could see it coming a mile away in the Sprint. She is super fast on skis after ‘crossing’ over from cross country skiing and was always going to win the short distance race if she could shoot clean or miss just one target. Today she missed one in Oestersund and ran away with the victory. She won a Sprint race over on IBU Cup 1 in Sjusjoen and she did it again in Sweden with a margin of 15.2 seconds over her rivals.

Those rivals shot clean which shows her superiority on the skis. Justine Braisaz was second with 10/10 and Yuliia Dzhima took her second podium in 2 races finishing third. Fourth place went to Synnøve Solemdal who will now wear the yellow bib in the Pursuit. What a turn around in her fortunes! She also shot clean as did Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi in 5th. Kaisa Makarainen missed 1 target and was 6th.

The Semerenko twins finished 21st and 22nd both shooting 9/10 but Vita was 0.5 of a second faster than Valj. I wonder if she was the twin that was born first!! 😉

We had to wander right back to 50th place to find a personal best and that went to Russian youngster Svetlana Mironova. Slovenia’s Ukska Poje was 57th matching her PB from the Oestersund Individual. At least she is consistent! Canada’s Megan Bankes also got a best World Cup finish in 60th and made the Pursuit on Sunday.

In the men’s race on Saturday it was just like having a new winner as Tarjei Boe took his first win since 2013! Illness has ruined the last few seasons for him and it was fantastic to see him back on the top step of the podium. It wasn’t easy for him though as he had to ski I think beyond his limit to win this one.

Martin Fourcade had 1 miss and set the pace and didn’t look like he could be beaten. Tarjei in bib 94 also missed 1 target but he managed to win by just 0.7 of a second. Erik Lesser completed the podium in third 3 seconds back from Fourcade.

Fourth place went to Emil Hegle Svendsen also with 9/10. Simon Schempp was fifth with 1 miss and Mario Dolder of Switzerland got his best ever World Cup finish in 6th with a clean shoot.

Germany’s Johannes Kuehn got his career best result in 9th. Canada’s Scott Gow improved his PB by 1 place finishing 16th and Estonia’s Rene Zahkna equalled his best in 34th. Emilien Jacquelin of France again finished in the points in 37th in his second ever World Cup start.

On Sunday both Pursuits take place and they are shaping up to be great races! Don’t miss them!

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Oestersund 2017: The Individuals!

The first individual event of the 2017/18 season got underway on Wednesday with well… the Individual! The women raced first and in the the absence of Laura Dahlmeier (cold) and Gabi Koukalova (calf injury) there were podiums up for grabs!

We like the Individual because it is the one race when your skis can’t really get you out of trouble. You have to shoot well. That’s exactly what the winner did. In a very cold Oestersund (-11 degrees) Nadezhda Skardino shot 20/20 to win her first ever World Cup race. Not only that but she wore the coolest pair of gloves while doing it. Standard up to the fingers and then woolen! 🙂

Second place went to Norway’s Synnøve Solemdal. She also hit all the targets but finished 2.9 seconds behind Skardino. It was fantastic to see her on the podium after a tough few years last with illness. Third place went to Yuliia Dzhima who also shot clean but was 12 seconds behind the winner.

Valj Semerenko was 4th also hitting all 20 targets with Paulina Fialkova 5th and home favourite Mona Brorsson in 6th.

Canada’s Julia Ransom was 9th hitting all the targets to get her best ever finish on a World Cup. Linn Persson did the same in 15th for her personal best. Britain’s Amanda Lightfoot missed just one target on her way to her best ever World Cup finish in 31st.

Eleven women cleared all the targets in this race which is exceptional shooting from the ladies.

The men had slightly warmer conditions on Thursday with a balmy minus 5. The race was dominated by Johannes Boe who shot clean and fast to win the race by over 2 minutes. It was his speed and accuracy on the range that was particularly impressive. Quentin Fillon Maillet was second also hitting 20/20 but was a long way off Boe’s ski time.

Martin Fourcade was third missing 2 targets. He actually skied faster than Boe but even if he had hit 20/20 he wouldn’t have won. This is because he wasn’t fast enough on the range and lost a lot of time settling for his first shot.

Julian Eberhard was 4th with 1 miss, Anton Babikov was 5th with a perfect shoot and 6th place went to Lukas Hofer with 2 misses.

There were some really good performances today from the youngsters. Felix Leitner got his best World Cup result in 28th. Emilien Jacquelin finished 35th on his World Cup debut.

On his first World Cup start Latvia’s Oskars Muiznieks was 48th. His previous best was from the World Championships back in 2013 when he was 112th!

Six men shot the perfect 20/20 with Anton Pantov, Benjamin Weger and Jakov Fak hitting all the targets.


Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Oestersund 2017: The Relays!

YES! Finally after an eternal summer BIATHLON IS BACK! The first race on the first World Cup in Sweden was the Single Mixed Relay. It was a fun race to kick off the new season.

Well it was fun to watch anyway, it wasn’t so much fun for some of the biathletes! Austria started first and finished first with yet another display of amazingly quick and accurate shooting from Lisa Hauser and Simon Eder with just 2 spares required. Behind them however it was a bit of an up and down race for many of the nations and for some of them quite literally!

Rosanna Crawford was the first to fall from a great position in 4th. It looked like a heavy tumble and she did well to continue racing. The French team of Dorin Habert and Martin Fourcade were a bit disappointing missing 10 targets between them.

The Swedes with Linn Persson and Sebastian Samuelsson were having a great race up to the final standing shoot where Samuelson missed one target but had trouble reloading his rifle and lost the podium position. Erik Lesser took full advantage bringing Germany home in second along with Vanessa Hinz. I’m not sure how they did it though as they missed 9 targets and didn’t look that impressive.

Third place went to Kazakhstan’s Galina Vishnevskaya and Maxim Braun. Some great shooting from the two of them meant Braun was in third leaving the range for the final time. However his ski speed is not as good as the others and he was soon caught and passed by Thomas Bormolino of Italy and Ukraine’s Dmytro Pidruchnyi. However they both fell racing each other on a corner and Maxim came through to take third. It was heartbreak to podium in half a loop and a triumph for good shooting!

Later on we had the Mixed Relay which is basically double the size of the single! Sweden got off to a great start in this one too with Hanna Oeberg leading after the first lap. Then Finland took over but with Kaisa Makarainen on the second leg it wasn’t a big surprise!

Italy were very impressive with Dominik Windisch giving them a good lead after the third leg. Behind them though some sharks were circling with Germany, Norway and also Slovakia who had a great race. Lukas Hofer had the last leg for Italy in which ironically he can be hit or miss. His prone was definitely miss as he did a penalty loop and allowed Emil Hegle Svendsen to take over. Hofer’s standing was a hit just missing the last target. If he had hit it first time he would have regained the lead but Svendsen took a small lead from the range and never lost it. His team of Ingrid Tandrevold, Tiril Eckhoff and Johannes Boe needed 13 spares but they are all great skiers which helped them to win.

Italy hung on for second with Lisa Vittozzi, Dorothea Wierer and Windisch using just 2 spares between them. Lukas Hofer used 4 by himself! Third place went to the ever consistent German team of Franzsika Preuss, Maren Hammerschmidt, Benedikt Doll and Arnd Peiffer using 10 spares.

The Slovakian team were fantastic in 4th with Paulina Fialkova, Kuzmina, Hasilla and Kazar with 9 spares. Home team Sweden did a good job in 5th.

Now it’s on to the Individual with the women on Wednesday and the men on Thursday.

Follow @biathlon23 on Twitter! Like biathlon23 on Facebook!

Biathlon blog."If it's not biathlon, it's crap!"