Category Archives: Race Report

Soldier Hollow 2019: The Pursuits!

It’s the penultimate round of the World Cup here in the USA and it was the turn of the pursuit races on Saturday.

The women were first up and what a race it was! At the first prone Marte Olsbu Roeiseland missed and so did Kaisa Makarainen! That let Anastasiya Kuzmina take the lead.

At the second prone Kuzmina missed 2 but Franziska Hildebrand and Monika Hojnisz cleaned and left the range together. They both hit 10/10 in the prone as did Denise Herrmann who found herself in third.

At the first stand it was Hojnisz who missed 2 but Hildebrand cleaned to take the lead by herself. Herrmann missed 1 but Lisa Vittozzi cleaned for 15/15.

At the final shoot Hildebrand missed 1, then Herrmann missed 1 and Vittozzi missed 2! It was then a ski race to the finish with Herrmann making up 12 seconds from the range to the finish line to pass her teammate to take her first win this season. Hildebrand took second. The final shoot saw Makarainen, Kuzmina and Roeiseland all shoot clean so we had three of the fastest skiers all going for third place. It was Makarainen who took it and Roeiseland just pipped Kuzmina on the line for 4th.

Lisa Vittozzi was 6th and with Wierer missing 8 and finishing 20th it means Vittozzi is the new Overall leader and takes the yellow bib to the World Championships next month.

There were some big moves behind the top 6 with Marketa Davidova going from 32nd to 12th hitting 20/20, Nicole Gontier went from 39th to 18th and home favourite Susan Dunklee went from 45th to 26th.

The men’s race was more straight forward. At the first shoot Vetle Christiansen and Simon Desthieux shot clean but Roman Rees missed. Erik Lesser, Johannes Boe and Quentin Fillon Maillet also cleaned as did a lot of the field in fact.

At the second shoot it was Christiansen and Desthieux who both missed 1 but Boe, Fillon Maillet and Lesser hit all five.

Shoot three was pivotal with Fillon Maillet the only one to clear the targets with Boe and Lesser both missing 2. That gave Christiansen and Desthieux the chance to get back into the race.

Fillon Maillet was perfect today hitting his final five targets to go 20/20 to take his second win of the season by 26 seconds. Christiansen also hit his last five to take second comfortably from Desthieux who missed another but kept third place with Boe missing 3 and Lesser 2 on the final stand.

In the end Johannes Boe was 4th, Erik Lesser 5th and Benjamin Weger 6th.

Christian Gow was amazing going from 44th to 8th hitting 20/20 to get a PB and Sean Doherty got his PB in 10th at home in the US.

The final races here are the Single Mixed and Mixed Relays on Sunday and the men will be starting first with the women finishing the race!

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Soldier Hollow 2019: The Sprints!

I know what you are thinking. Soldier Hollow – that is such a cool name for a venue! It must have some interesting history from the days of the old west where soldiers maybe made their last stand in a hollow or something like that. Well no – they just made it up for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics! Still a cool name though!

In fact biathlon hasn’t been back here since 2002! But now it is and we kicked off with the women’s sprint on Thursday – Valentine’s Day! So who would feel the love? It was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland which is appropriate as she just got married last year.

It was her third win of the season and she shot clean and skied really well to win by 11.5 seconds. Behind her in second place was Kaisa Makarainen who missed one shot but also skied super fast. It was a surprise after her huge journey to get from Canmore to Utah which took her via Toronto and Atlanta after her initial flight to Seattle was cancelled.

Third place went to biathlete23!!! It was Franziska Hildebrand who got on the podium shooting clean for a great result. Flowers for bib23 on Valentine’s Day – how romantic! 😉

4th place went to Monika Hojnisz, 5th to Anastasiya Kuzmina and 6th to Kamila Zuk which was her best World Cup result to date shooting 10/10.

There were also personal bests for Tuuli Tomingas in 14th and Thelka Brun-Lie in 26th.

Dorothea Wierer stretched her lead in the Overall finishing 8th with teammate and rival Lisa Vittozzi in 12th.

The men’s sprint on Friday was also won by a Norwegian! No not him! It was Vetle Christiansen! After his second place finish in the Canmore Individual he went one better here taking his first ever World Cup win. He shot clean and won the race by just 1.3 seconds.

Simon Desthieux finally got on the podium after being in great form all season. He missed 1 but skied really well to get so close but it wasn’t enough to get the win. Third place went to Roman Rees with his first podium on the World Cup also missing 1.

Erik Lesser was 4th hitting 10/10, Johannes Boe was 5th after missing 4 on the standing shoot and Quentin Fillon Maillet was 6th with 9/10. Boe skied super fast as usual to get 5th and it was enough to give him the small crystal globe in the sprint.

There were some more great performances in the field from Johannes Dale in 10th getting his PB, Scott Gow in 14th equalled his PB from the Olympics, Fabien Claude was 16th his best result so far and Aidan Miller hit 10/10 to move his PB from 81st to 20th!!! Thierry Chenal was 31st for his top World Cup finish.

I don’t know what it is about Norway and North America but they have won all the races here apart from the women’s relay in Canmore when they were second! Maybe because they both start with NOR? 😉

Both pursuit races are on Saturday! Can Norway win them both too?

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Canmore 2019: The Relays!

Freezing cold and windy, Simon Fourcade looking like a ninja, Evgeniy Garanichev looking like he was on his summer holidays and Michael Rosch flying all the way to Canada to race and getting lapped – the men’s relay ladies and gentlemen!!!

That’s right when everyone is taped literally everywhere (Susan Dunklee even did her toes!) and wrapped up as much as possible, Tyumen resident Evgeniy Garanichev made no adjustments to his normal attire! He took the first leg for Russia and was leading until his standing shoot when ironically he froze!! It took him ages to hit all 5 targets needing all 3 spares and handing Antonin Guiggonat the lead ahead of Lars Hegle Birkeland.

It proved to be a fight between France and Norway until the end. Vetle Christiansen got the better of Emilien Jacquelin on leg two despite the Frenchman using 1 spare to the Norwegians 2. The third leg saw a fantastic race from biathlon ninja (black face tape!) Simon Fourcade using 1 spare to Erlend Bjoentegaard’s 3. However the Norwegian got the better of the French thanks to their faster skiing and gave Johannes Boe a nice lead to take into the final leg.

Of course he smashed it hitting 10/10 and cruised to victory by over a minute from Quentin Fillon Maillet. Russia held on for third with Eduard Latypov, Alexander Loginov and Alexander Povarnitsyn along with Garanichev using 9 spares.

Austria had the chance to go for a podium but on the final leg Julian Eberhard had a nightmare with 3 penalty loops letting Germany into 4th. Austria were 5th and the Czech Republic 6th.

Home team Canada were 10th but after the first two legs from the Gow brothers they were in 4th which is a good sign for the future.

The women’s relay was another good one. Italy as usual started well with Lisa Vittozzi on the first leg shooting clean and taking the lead. Emilie Kalkenberg had a tough leg for Norway with 2 penalty loops. Vanessa Hinz and Anais Chevalier did well as did Estonia’s Regina Oja.

Nicole Gontier had a great second leg for Italy only needing one spare and maintained the lead. Justine Braisaz and Franziska Hildebrand kept their teams in it with good legs too. Ingrid Tandrevold started Norway’s comeback with a great leg using only 1 spare.

On the third leg Dorothea Wierer had a lead over Anais Bescond and Denise Herrmann. However after using 2 spares on the stand she left the range with a 26 second lead which incredibly Herrmann made up and passed her to put Germany in the lead with Dahlmeier on the last leg. Tiril Eckhoff put Norway back into contention with just 1 spare needed from her.

At the first prone Dahlmeier need 2 spares but left the range before Sanfilippo got her first shot away. Julia Simon had problems using all 3 spares. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland had no issues hitting all 5 and moving into third behind Italy.

The wind had a massive influence on the final stand. Dahlmeier went on the penalty loop but still came out in the lead after the others also had issues having to shoot carefully. Sanfilippo also went on the penalty loop. Julia Simon came out best moving from second to fourth and Roeiseland stayed in third.

Dahlmeier skied home for first place but unfortunately for Simon she couldn’t hold off Roeiseland who overtook her to give Norway second with France getting third.

Italy were 4th, Switzerland were 5th and Austria were 6th.


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Canmore 2019: The Individuals!

So it’s a bit cold in Canada. There is a polar vortex so it’s around -20 to -30 degrees, basically what the people from Siberia call summer temperatures! 😉 Anyway such cold meant some changes to the schedule for the athletes health and also for the fans who have to watch in freezing temperatures!

The Individuals were shortened as per the new rule that was brought in this summer (good timing there, eh!). Excitingly named the Short Individual, for the men it was 15km and the women 12.5km to reduce the race time and therefore the exposure to the cold. There was a 45 second penalty for a miss instead of the usual minute.

None of which had a bearing on the winner of the men’s race! Of course Johannes Bow won again but this time he blew the entire field away! He won the race shooting clean by 2 minutes and 10 seconds which is almost unheard of in an individual! He was outstanding.

Norway got second place too with Vetle Christiansen. He missed 2 shots but was still able to get his career best result. Alexander Loginov was third also with 2 misses.

Norway were also in 4th with Lars Birkeland equalling his personal best with 1 miss. Dominik Windisch was 5th and Simon Eder 6th both missing 2.

There were plenty of PB’s elsewhere in the field with Peppe Femling shooting 20/20 in 9th proving that stabbing yourself in the leg with your ski pole isn’t all bad! 😉 Home favourite Christian Gow got his top finish in 10th, Tomas Krupcik in 12th, Eduard Latypov in 15th, Taras Lesiuk in 32nd, Sergey Korostylev in 42nd and Xingyuan Yan in 44th.

In the women’s race there was a titanic battle for first place. Lisa Vittozzi and Marketa Davidova continued their excellent recent form both hitting 20/20. However it was not enough to win the race for either of them as Tiril Eckhoff was amazing making up 20 seconds on the final loop after missing 1 shot to win her first race of the season.

Davidova finished second skiing faster than Vittozzi in third. 4th place went to Franziska Hildebrand with 20/20, Ingrid Tandrevold was 5th with 1 miss and Vanessa Hinz was 6th with 1 miss in bib23!!!

There were also personal bests for Julia Schwaiger in 10th with 20/20, Emilie Kalkenberg in 21st, Regina Oja in 23rd, Thelka Brun-Lie in 37th and Leisan Biktasheva in 40th.

The cold weather did provide some excellent glove action with Sergey Semenov and Dorothea Wierer in particular rocking the mittens! Not to forget the face tape in a variety of “bright” colours!!! 😉

The relays are now going to be on Friday after the changes because of the cold conditions.

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Antholz 2019: The Pursuits/Mass Starts!

The pursuit races were held on Saturday in Antholz and it was home glory for the Italian team in the women’s race.

Dorothea Wierer won her first pursuit race in front of friends and family. It didn’t go all her way at the start of the race however. It was Laura Dahlmeier who took the early lead with some excellent prone shooting hitting all 10 targets. Wierer and Vittozzi both missed on the first prone leaving Dahlmeier out front with Lisa Hauser in second.

It was in the standing where the race was won and lost. Dahlmeier missed on the first stand and Wierer and Vittozzi cleaned to give themselves a lead. At the final shoot Wierer and Vittozzi missed 1 each while Dahlmeier cleaned. Wierer had a big enough time cushion to get around the penalty loop in the lead but it wasn’t so easy for Vittozzi. She and Dahlmeier were together on the final loop but the German was too strong and took second with Vittozzi third.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 4th, Anastasiya Kuzmina was 5th and Lisa Hauser was 6th getting her best result for a while. Caroline Colombo got her first point scoring finish in 22nd.

The men’s race basically turned into Johannes Boe vs. France. Johannes led the whole race despite missing three targets. He missed one in each prone and another in the final standing. Luckily for him his skiing is so good he had a cushion each time and was always out front.

Behind him it was Antonin Guiggonat who was his closest challenger. He hit 19/20 to get another podium here in Antholz.

Third place went down to a sprint finish between Quentin Fillon Maillet and Simon Desthieux. They both hit 18/20 but it was Fillon Maillet who just snatched the final podium place on the line in a photo finish. Martin Fourcade was 5th missing three and with his skiing still below his usual standard it was the best he could do.

Arnd Peiffer was 6th. Tomas Krupcik got a PB in 18th and Thomas Bormolini equalled his PB in 19th.

The mass starts were on Sunday and the sun was still out for the biathletes. The women’s race was won by Laura Dahlmeier who has made an amazing recovery after she was so exhausted in the sprint race. It was her first win this season.

It didn’t go according to plan for her at the start missing 1 in the first prone. That meant it was Kaisa Makarainen and Justine Braisaz in the lead with Wierer and Vittozzi too.

Wierer missed 1 in the second prone and Vittozzi 2 leaving Braisaz and Makarainen ahead. The third shoot was crucial with the leading group all missing and Dahlmeier cleaning to take the lead. She was followed out by Vanessa Hinz and Iryna Kryuko.

Kryuko missed 1 on the final shoot with the two German’s going clear. Marketa Davidova meanwhile had also cleaned and moved up to third. She chased down Hinz and passed her before the finish to take second place.

Hanna Oberg was 4th, Wierer 5th and Makarainen 6th. That result leaves Wierer in the yellow bib 34 points ahead of Vittozzi heading to the next race in Canmore.

In the men’s race we had a brand new winner! Quentin Fillon Maillet finally got his first World Cup win. He has been really close with several photo finishes putting him in second but today the victory was all his. It was a perfect race hitting all 20 targets.

At the start of the race 18 men went clear after the first prone with fast shooting Simon Eder leading out of the range. After the second shoot it was Antonin Guigonnat who was in the lead. However out on the tracks it was Johannes Boe who was controlling the pace and getting back to the lead.

That was until Fillon Maillet decided to go with him and they created a small gap on the rest of the chasers. It was a risky tactic for the Frenchman but it paid off in style when Boe missed a shot and he cleaned to take a decisive lead.

He remained calm and when he cleaned the final stand no one could stop him. Not even a charging Boe who after missing another shot in the final stand had to chase down Arnd Peiffer to take second place but was too far behind Fillon Maillet to catch him. Peiffer also had a perfect shoot with 20/20.

Martin, new name, Fourthcade was 4th again! Guigonnat was 5th and Benjamin Weger was 6th. That now leaves Boe with a massive 282 point lead in the overall ahead of Fourcade who is now in second.

There is a short break now but battle resumes in Canmore on the 7th of February with the individual races.

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Antholz 2019: The Sprints!

Biathlon has returned to beautiful Antholz. It’s a favourite with many of the biathletes for the scenery, weather and food! It also provides some great racing for the fans and that was true again in the women’s sprint on Thursday.

It was won by unicorn power! That’s right Marketa Davidova with her unicorn covered rifle took her first ever win. She shot clean for the first time in her career and skied really well to keep the lead all the way to the final finisher. That final finisher was Laura Dahlmeier who also shot clean and gave Davidova a nervous wait to see if she could hold on.

Dahlmeier gave it everything in the last loop but it wasn’t enough. She struggled in the last 200 metres and collapsed at the line and had to be helped away by her coach. She finished 4th in the end just 4.2 seconds from the win and happily she is fine now. Kaisa Makarainen took second with one miss finishing just 1.7 seconds behind the Czech. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was third 3.5 seconds back also with 9/10.

Lisa Vittozzi was 5th and Monika Hojnisz 6th. The top six were only separated by 10 seconds which means we are in for a great pursuit on Saturday.

Svetlana Mironova was 7th her personal best. Megan Bankes was fantastic in 26th for her PB, Caroline Colombo set yet another PB for her in 42nd as did Larisa Kuklina in 43rd and Yelizavta Belchenko in 44th.

The men raced on Friday and you won’t be surprised by the winner. Yes Mr. Johannes Boe won again. He has won 5/6 sprint races so far this season. What are the odds that he wins all the rest of them except the one he really wants at the World Championships? Funny things like that always happen in sport!

He missed a target today but his skiing is still way better than everyone else. It was a 1-2 for Norway with Erlend Bjoentegaard finishing second shooting 10/10. Antonin Guigonnat completed the podium with a lightning final loop after he missed 1 in the standing.

Martin Fourcade shot clean in 4th, Simon Eder missed 1 in 5th and Simon Desthieux was 6th despite 2 misses. Quentin Fillon Maillet was 7th meaning there were 4 Frenchmen in the Top 7 – shame there is no relay in Antholz!

Martin Jaeger got a personal best in 14th as did Roman Yeremin in 18th. American Jake Brown got his first World Cup point in 40th.

There is just over 30 seconds between the Top 6 for the pursuit tomorrow so hopefully it will be a good one.

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Ruhpolding 2019: The Mass Starts!

WOW! What can I say about the Ruhpolding mass starts! It was a fantastic reminder (not that we need it) that biathlon is by far the greatest sport in the world! 🙂

The men raced first and what a race it was going right down to the wire! It was Johannes Boe who came out on top but he had to work very, very hard for this win.

It was tight from the start with Boe, Martin Fourcade and Tarjei Boe clearing the first 15 shots and staying together on the track. Julian Eberhard was there too skiing hard to make up for an earlier miss.

These four came to the final shoot together and the pressure was huge. Tarjei missed two and was out of it, then Eberhard missed 1, Fourcade missed 1 and then Johannes missed 1!!!

That gave the following athletes the chance to take the lead with Benjamin Weger, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Vetle Christiansen all on the range while the others were on the penalty loop. They all cleaned the last shoot to head out in the lead. The only problem was they only had 8 seconds on the chasers. With Boe and Eberhard and Fourcade behind them it wasn’t enough.

They were soon caught and then it came down to three men with Fourcade not being able to keep the pace. In the final straight there was a small incident with Eberhard and Fillon Maillet but Boe was already in front and couldn’t be stopped. It was another great race from Johannes extending his lead in the overall. Eberhard took second and Fillon Maillet third.

Fourcade was 4th, Christiansen 5th and Simon Desthieux 6th.

The women’s race was even closer! It was decided by just 0.2 seconds on the line in a sprint finish between Franziska Preuss and Ingrid Tandrevold. It was Preuss who had more energy at the end and sent the massive home crowd wild taking her first ever World Cup win. Tandrevold put up a great fight and got her first podium as a reward.

It was a close race all the way with 18/30 women going clean on the first shoot. Dorothea Wierer was fastest on shoot 1 and 2 but Lena Haecki was with her all the way at the front.

At the first stand Wierer missed 2 and Haecki 1 to let Preuss, Tandrevold and Linn Persson go ahead all three hitting 15/15. Vittozzi was also there after an early miss in the first prone as was Denise Herrmann.

The final shoot was decisive with Preuss and Tandrevold going clear. Vittozzi and Herrmann missed and so it was a ski race to the finish. Home girl Preuss took it on the line with a strong skiing performance. Paulina Fialkova leapt up to third after a clean final shoot and a great ski on the final lap.

Hanna Oberg was 4th, Lena Haecki 5th and Iryna Kryuko 6th. Linn Persson shot clean and was 7th getting her personal best result.

The action moves to Antholz now with the women’s sprint on Thursday.

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