Antholz 2018: The Mass Starts!

Can you believe the Mass Starts in Antholz on Sunday were the last World Cup races before the Winter Olympics!!! Where has this season gone?!

We had two more good races to watch before we all look towards South Korea. The women went first and conditions had changed overnight. No more lovely sun but a whole lot of snow!

The first shoot didn’t really tell us much about the race as half of the field cleared the first prone. Dorothea Wierer and Denise Herrmann were a little quicker on the range than the others and took an early lead in the second loop.

At the second shoot Wierer cleared again but Herrmann missed two. It was now Kaisa Makarainen, Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht and Valj Semerenko who took up the chase after the Italian.

Wierer cleared again at shoot three to maintain her lead. Kaisa missed 2 but Anastasiya Kuzmina had now entered the picture hitting five with Vanessa Hinz, Franziska Preuss and Semerenko following her after they had hit 15/15.

Making up ground from behind after an early penalty was Darya Domracheva. At the final stand Wierer missed 2 targets and all the others missed 1 to leave the door open for the chasers. It was Dasha who took the opportunity hitting 5/5 to lead out of the range. Kuzmina was a few seconds behind her but Dasha made a decisive break and never looked back.

It was her first win of the season and she is looking on great form for the Olympics. Could she do a double treble in the style of Usain Bolt? It’s looking possible now!

Kuzmina held on for second with Kaisa Makarainen hunting almost everyone down with her ski speed to finish third.

Marte Olsbu was 4th, Laura Dahlmeier 5th and Maren Hammerschmidt 6th.

The men’s race avoided the snowfall but still had heavy tracks to ski on. Martin Fourcade and Johannes Boe started out in front but Johannes missed 2 at the first shoot and Martin cleaned. His teammate Simon Desthieux left the range first followed by Fourcade and Anton Shipulin.

At the second shoot both Martin and Anton missed 1 target which let the clean shooting Arnd Peiffer and Emil Svendsen take over the lead. It didn’t last though as at shoot three Emil missed 2 and Arnd 3!! Of course Fourcade shot clean and raced into the lead.

By now it was Tarjei Boe who was behind Fourcade but he had a group of five chasing him for second place. The last shoot saw Martin miss a target but none of the chasers managed to clean so he was free to ski to victory.

That left Tarjei and teammate Erlend Bjoentegaard to fight it out for second. They both went on the penalty loop but it was Tarjei who was faster on the skis and took second place. Third was Bjoentegaard’s first World Cup podium and he has rediscovered his early season form.

Benedikt Doll was 4th, Johannes Kuehn was 5th which was his career best finish and Johannes Boe was 6th after missing 5 targets!

The World Cup takes a break until March for the Olympics with Kaisa Makarainen in the yellow bib just 15 points ahead of Anastasiya Kuzmina. Martin Fourcade stays in yellow for the men with a 54 points lead over Johannes Boe.

Next race is on the 10th of February! The Women’s Olympic Sprint!!!!
(That’s if you don’t count the Open European Championships, 2 Para-nordic World Cups, IBU Cup 6, Junior Cup 3 and the Junior European Championships!) 😉


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