Pokljuka 2016: The Relays!

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Kremna rezina, the famous Bled cream cake, is one of the best cream cakes in the world (I have actually tasted it myself!) and so should be the prize for the two winning teams in the Relays. Who wants flowers in the winter they can have cream cake after 3 hard days of racing and lots of it! 🙂

The Relays finished off a great round two of the World Cup under sunny skies in Pokljuka. The Men’s Relay was first and France came out the winners. Martin Fourcade won 3 out of 3 races but it was his teammates this time that won it for him, he just had to finish it off! Beatrix had a solid first leg keeping in touch with the leaders who were Russia. Fillon Maillet took over and after a great clearance in the standing shoot took the lead. Desthieux did well to keep the advantage before handing over to Fourcade.

The Russians were second but could have challenged for first but for a tough third leg prone shoot. Eliseev missed 3 targets as did Benedikt Doll for Germany. Doll actually made up a lot of ground for the German team who used 11 spares in total but his fast skiing gave Schempp the chance to lead the team home in third.

My personal highlights of the Relay however were the performance of the Gow brothers, Christian and Scott from Canada who didn’t miss a target in legs 1 and 2 and had Canada in sixth, the leg of Klemen Bauer which had Slovenian in 7th, Giuseppe Montello and Thomas Bormolini having fantastic 3rd and 4th legs for Italy and of course the crash. Sergey Bocharnikov of Belarus fell on the fast downhill and Tuomas Gronman of Finland skied into him and went flying through the air and landed pretty much on his face! Fortunately both were OK but it was a spectacular crash to watch.

The Women’s Relay saw Laura Dahlmeier also win all three races here in Pokljuka. Anything you can do Fourcade! The Women’s Relay was closer than the Men’s and saw a different team finish each leg in the lead. The Czech Republic with Eva Puskarcikova led the way after the first, then it was Ukraine with Yuliia Dzhima, then Celia Aymonier for France and the most important one to win was Laura Dahlmeier who crossed the line first for Germany. She made up a 14 second deficit and won by 10 seconds.

France were second and Ukraine were third. These two teams only used 3 spares so were very impressive on the range. The Czech team worked their way back to 4th after 2 penalty loops on their second leg and Norway had to do the same after 2 penalty loops on their first leg to finish 5th.

Special mention must go to home favourites Teja Gregorin who had a tremendous first leg to hand over in second place and to Andreja Mali who raced her final Relay before retiring to move into coaching.

Well Pokljuka was fun, wasn’t it? Might be nice to have someone else on the top of the podium in Nove Mesto though! Can anyone stop Fourcade and Dahlmeier? Watch and see on Thursday!

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