Antholz 2020: The Relays!

I don’t know about you biathlon fans but I am worn out after two amazing relays at the world championships and we were just watching!

The women were first to race and what a dramatic relay they produced! As biathlon law dictates it was Lisa Vittozzi who put Italy into the lead after the first leg. (Can you remember a time when she didn’t put them in first place?!!)

She only used 1 spare on the prone and handed over to Dorothea Wierer with a healthy margin of almost 30 seconds over the Polish team with Kinga Zyblut and the Russians with Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht.

Wierer would extend that lead to almost a minute. She just used one spare in the prone and her standing shoot was unbelievable! Rapid and accurate – I suggest you watch it for yourself!

At the second exchange she handed over to Federica Sanfilippo. Behind her came Monika Hojnisz-Starega then Irina Starykh. San filippo did well in the prone using just 2 spares but the stand let her down. In the end she incurred 2 penalty loops and Italy were out of the running. Kamila Zuk on the other hand was fantastic using just one spare to put Poland into the lead at the final exchange.

Tiril Eckhoff was trying to make up time for Norway after two solid legs from Synnoeve Solemdal and Ingrid Tandrevold had left them in 5th but over a minute back. She just avoided the penalty loop in the prone using 3 spares but couldn’t avoid it in the stand.

However she skied so strongly on the final loop that she handed over to Marte Olsbu Roeiseland in third place just behind the Czech Republic. Sweden and Germany were closing in with great legs from Linn Persson and Franziska Preuss bringing them back into contention.

Magdalena Gwizdon took over for Poland at the front and she used 2 spares in the prone. Roeiseland and Oeberg cleaned to take over the lead together. Herrmann used 2 spares.

At the final shoot it Roeiseland was spectacular. With the pressure of a gold medal in her hands she shot clean and left the range by herself for a simple ski to victory and a 4th gold medal for her. Hanna Oeberg was the opposite. Unfortunately she ended up on the penalty loop and lost the chance of a medal.

Moving into the medal spots were the Ukraine with Olena Pihrushna and the Czechs with Eva Kristejn Puskarcikova. Unluckily for them they were being chased by Denise Herrmann who needed 2 spares in the stand but skis so fast that she caught and passed both of them on the tracks to secure the silver medal for Germany. Ukraine hung on for the bronze.

The Czech Republic were 4th, Sweden 5th and Switzerland 6th. Poland were 7th in the end after a fabulous team performance and Italy were 10th at the finish.

Next up were the men and it was another close race. The first leg went to Erik Lesser shooting perfectly to give Germany an early lead. It wasn’t a big lead though with Emilien Jacquelin right behind him!

Norway had to take an early penalty loop with Vetle Christiansen having trouble in the standing shoot. That left Italy and Ukraine in 3rd and 4th.

Martin Fourcade took leg two for France up against Philipp Horn. Both cleaned in the prone and despite using 1 spare to Fourcade’s perfect shoot in the stand it was Horn who handed over first but there was very little between France and Germany.

On the third leg Arnd Peiffer and Simon Desthieux went head to head. Remarkably they shot exactly the same score both needing a spare in the stand. It was Peiffer who was stronger on the tracks giving Benedikt Doll a 12 second lead for the final leg. Tarjei Boe meanwhile was moving Norway back up into third.

At the first prone Doll needed all 3 spares to just avoid a penalty loop. Quentin Fillon Maillet hit 5/5 to move into the lead. The final stand decided it with just 2 spares for Fillon Maillet versus a penalty loop for Doll. Johannes Boe used 1 spare for his final standing and was just 5 seconds behind Doll.

On the last loop Boe overtook Doll to take the silver for Norway with Germany settling for bronze. France’s gold medal was the first in the men’s relay at World Championship for Martin Fourcade which completed his set of wins in each event.

Russia were 4th, Slovenia 5th and Austria 6th.

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