Seriously the IBU are pretty mean, aren’t they? They give us two Relays on Sunday and then nothing until Wednesday! Luckily the wait is over and the first individual races got under way with well – the Individual races!
The Women’s race was first and there was a smörgåsbord of talent on view. (That’s right -I used smörgåsbord in a review of a race in Sweden!) Wednesday was windy but it’s Oestersund if it’s not windy, it’s crap as some might say. 😉 The wind is great, not for the biathletes for the fans. It helps to throw up some different results and introduce us to some new faces.
The winner didn’t need an introduction of course. Laura Dahlmeier won the race missing 2 targets but still managed to win by nearly 16 seconds from Anais Bescond who only missed one. In third place we got the surprise result. Dayra Yurkevich from Belarus got her first ever podium finish and deservedly so as she shot clean and was the only woman to do so.
Home biathlete Hanna Oberg came 8th which is a fantastic result for her. With Anna Magnusson and Mona Brorsson also in the Top 25 it was a good race for the Swedes. Joanne Reid from the USA also had a great race finishing in 29th position. The Austrian team did really well too with personal bests for Lisa Hauser 7th, Fabienne Hartweger 22nd and Julia Schwaiger 28th.
Apart from Dahlmeier it wasn’t the best day for the pre-race favourites with Koukalova in 17th, Dorin Habert in 19th, Makarainen in 24th and Wierer in 31st.
The wind was unpredictable again on Thursday for the men but the result was very predictable with Martin Fourcade winning. He is hard to beat in the Individual and rarely loses in this format. In second place was Johannes Boe who had the opportunity to win but missed twice in his final shoot. Third place went to Vladimir Chepelin of Belarus taking his first ever podium missing just 1 target. In fact it was his first Top 10 result. If only there was someone who had written a blog post about him before the start of the World Cup predicting such a possibility! 😉
There were another two Norwegians in the Top 5 with Lars Birkeland in 4th and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen in 5th. I really must find out what magic he is using so I can bottle it and sell it. What a legend! There were equally impressive performances from Cornel Puchianu in 14th and Tuomas Gronman in 20th.
It wasn’t such a good day for some of Fourcades main rivals however. Shipulin finished in 11th but missed 3 targets on the final shoot and could have got more points. Simon Schempp missed 7 and finished outside the points in 46th and Svendsen didn’t even start the race.
The Sprints take place on Saturday for both the men and women but the big question is – can I get pickled herring into my race report? Wait and see….
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