Norway’s men won the battle in the sprints and the French men won the battle in the individual! Saturday’s men’s relay would decide who won the war of Oestersund!
OK that might be a little dramatic but we love a bit of drama and that’s what we got in the relay! The first leg was won by Germany with a great start from Erik Lesser. He shot well to hand over ahead of Italy’s Lukas Hofer and France’s Emilien Jacquelin. Norway were 5th with Johannes Dale having a solid first leg using just 2 spares.
Sweden came out on top in the second leg thanks to Jesper Nelin. He coped best in the conditions to give Martin Ponsiluoma a 10 second lead. Behind Nelin came Norway and Italy after good legs from Erlend Bjoentegaard and Thomas Bormolini. Quentin Fillon Maillet went on the penalty loop but skied very fast to make it into third at the exchange ahead of Bormolini.
Tarjei Boe took over for Norway and caught Ponsiluoma before the first prone. Boe needed just one spare which put him into the lead. Simon Desthieux was chasing after Sweden went on the penalty loop and 22-year-old Daniele Cappellari had a great leg for Italy putting them in third.
Tarjei handed over an 11 second lead to his brother Johannes and it was all he needed to take the win for Norway. Fourcade did his best to chase him down with a faultless shoot to Boe’s 2 spares but it wasn’t enough. Dominik Windisch held on to third place for Italy after a fight with Russia.
Russia were 4th, Sweden 5th and Ukraine 6th.
So Norway won the war then? No of course not the wind always wins in Oestersund!
On Sunday it was the women’s turn to race and it was another great relay.
The first leg was once again dominated by Lisa Vittozzi. She cleaned the prone and used 1 spare in the stand to give Italy a 15 second lead at the first exchange. Behind her were Norway with Karoline Kntten and Sweden’s Linn Persson.
Nicole Gontier took the second leg for Italy but she incurred a penalty loop on the prone and put them out of contention. Elvira Oeberg took over the lead for Sweden and held it to the second exchange despite the close attention of Justine Braisaz. Norway came next with Ingrid Tandrevold and then Selina Gasparin for Switzerland and Germany’s Denise Herrmann.
Mona Brorsson took the third leg for the home team but was caught by Tiril Eckhoff and they came into the range together. They both shot 5/5 as did Aita Gasparin. In the stand the Swede cleaned while Eckhoff needed 2 spares. Gasparin cleaned again for the perfect leg.
By the exchange Brorsson had a three second lead to hand to Hanna Oeberg who was closely followed by Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. Next came Franziska Preuss and Lena Haecki. The three chasers all cleaned the prone but Oeberg needed all 3 of her spares.
Roeiseland took the lead on the track but had to use 2 spares in the final stand. However it was enough to secure the lead and take Norway to victory again matching the men’s relay team.
The battle was on for second with Oeberg storming back with a clean stand and Haecki using a single spare. They were neck and neck until Haecki made a decisive break and Oeberg just couldn’t catch her. It was an historic second place for the Swiss women’s team with the three Gasparin sisters and Haecki getting their country’s first podium in the women’s relay needing just 4 spare rounds to do it!
Sweden were third with another good result. Germany were 4th, Russia 5th and France 6th.
The action now moves to Hochfilzen for round 2 of the World Cup.
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