Category Archives: Race Report

PyeongChang 2017: The Relays!

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It was the final day of racing in PyeongChang and also the final men’s and women’s relays of the season. There are reports going around that after his record equaling 6 Overall Titles in a row and 12 wins in a season that Martin Fourcade was using his big crystal globe to drink soju from! Soju is like the Korean version of sake. We thought he might miss the Relay but as these reports were from an American source it’s possible that it was fake news! 😉

Laura Dahlmeier did miss the women’s relay which is real news! The German’s lined up with their ‘H’ team (like the A team but further down the alphabet) of Horchler, Hammerschmidt, Hermann and Hildebrand! The absence of Dahlmeier didn’t prevent them from winning their fifth relay in a row and every relay this season. A fantastic achievement.

At one point it looked like it wasn’t going to happen though. Nadine Horchler had a solid first leg with just one spare needed handing over to Hammerschmidt in third place behind Chevalier of France and Crawford of Canada.

Hammerschmidt moved Germany into the lead after her leg using 2 spares but staying ahead of France’s Anais Bescond and Canada’s Julia Ransom. Ransom had an amazing leg shooting 10/10 and handing over to Megan Tandy still in contention for the lead.

Denise Hermann was confident on the prone hitting all five. However in the standing shoot she had a lot of trouble and ending up on the penalty loop. This meant that Justine Braisaz of France could take the lead handing over in front of Hermann. Then came Tiril Eckhoff of Norway who had a stunning leg making up for Hilde Fenne’s penalty loop on leg 2. Megan Tandy was brilliant in 4th using just 1 spare.

Celia Aymonier took over for France and was up against Franziska Hildebrand, Marte Olsbu and Emma Lunder. After a solid prone she had a horrible stand ending up with 2 penalty loops and so France were out of the picture. Hildebrand was excellent with just one spare meaning she had a comfortable final loop to victory.

The race was still on for the podium and it came down to a sprint finish on the line between Marte Olsbu, Gabriela Koukalova and Anna Magnusson. Some excellent shooting from these three put them all in with a chance but on the line Olsbu took second by 0.1 of a second with Koukalova in third just in front of Magnusson.

Emma Lunder needed 2 spares and in the end Canada finished 8th but it was a great race from ever member of their team racing in the top 4 for much of the relay.

The men’s race was a little less dramatic but still entertaining. Lukas Hofer set off very fast and led the first loop for Italy before having to do 3 penalty loops on the prone! Norway were up at the front after a great leg from Vetle Christiansen shooting 10/10. The USA were in seconds thanks to Lowell Bailey’s clean shoot and the Ukraine were in 3rd with Artem Pryma.

Bjoerndalen held on to the lead for Norway in the second leg with 3 spares. France’s Simon Fourcade moved them up from 7th, where Beatrix handed over, using just 1 spare. Ukraine were still in third after Sergiy Semenov’s leg.

The third leg saw France move into the lead and they wouldn’t give it up. Simon Desthieux was steady on the range unlike his competitor Vergard Gjermandshaug who incurred a penalty loop for Norway. Austria moved into second with two great legs from Simon Eder and then Julian Eberhard and Norway were still in third.

That’s how the race would end with legs from Martin Fourcade, Dominik Landertinger and Henrik L’Abee Lund. They were all good enough on the range to stop any others catching or passing them.

That is the end of the pre-Olympic event here in PyeongChang and now it’s back to Kontiolahti for World Cup 8!

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PyeongChang 2017: The Pursuits!

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Saturday in PyeongChang was dedicated to the Pursuit races. The women went first and had conditions which were a little warm and so made the snow wet in places. The men had better skiing conditions later in the evening. There wasn’t a lot of wind to affect the shooting. There was also some excellent drumming and coordinated dance moves coming from the stands!

The women’s race was not that exciting in terms of the race for the victory. Dahlmeier and Eckhoff were together up to the first prone shoot and when Tiril missed Laura had the race all to herself. She hit 20/20 and was untouchable out front winning by over a minute.

Second place went to Kaisa Makarainen who shot 10/10 in the prone and missed 2 shots in her third shoot. However she cleaned the final stand and was able to overtake Anais Bescond who had left the range just before her.

Bescond had a great race in third missing just 1 target but wasn’t able to keep up with Makarainen on the final loop despite shooting better than her. Eckhoff still managed to finish 4th even with 5 penalty loops and Susan Dunklee maintained her 5th place.

Gabriela Koukalova had a much better day missing 2 shots but finishing 8th from at start position of 21st. Marte Olsbu came from 24th to finish 9th. Irina Starykh came from 55th to finish 20th and Iryna Varvynets wento from 44th to 22nd.

In the men’s race Julian Eberhard started with a 40 second lead and managed to stay in front of the rest until the second prone shoot. He missed 2 shots there handing the lead to Martin Fourcade who like Dahlmeier never gave it up. He shot 20/20 to win by 35 seconds giving him his 12th win of the season. This equals the record of Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and he still has more races left to try and beat it.

Fourcade was chased by a gang of Austrians. Eder, Landertinger and Eberhard were all trying in vain to catch him but all missed shots in the final standing. Sneaking up from behind was Anton Shipulin who had a magnificent race in bib23! He made up 21 places to come second hitting the perfect 20/20.

Third eventually went to Eberhard despite his 3 misses and teammate Eder was 4th. Anton Babikov moved from 41st to 15th, Henrik L’Abee Lund from 38th to 17th, Christian Gow went from 56th to 32nd and Anton Sinapov went from 60th to get some points in 39th.

Dahlmeier and Fourcade were outstanding today. Considering everything they have already won, especially Fourcade, their will to keep fighting and motivation to keep winning is extraordinary. We are very lucky to have them both racing in biathlon.

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PyeongChang 2017: The Sprints!

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We are in PyeongChang! Luckily nobody got confused and went to Pyongyang! It’s the Olympic test event and also World Cup round 7 in South Korea. Like Korean kimchi, that is stored on a roof for months, we have been waiting a long time to see the tracks and range that will be used for the Olympics in 2018.

The first race of the event was the Women’s Sprint and because of the time difference, which is 8 hours in front of CET, we had a night race.

The fans were out to watch. There weren’t huge numbers but what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality and also the best headbands biathlon has ever seen! Where can I get one?! 😉

There was some wind to deal with for the women and what looked like an icy track. Some of the bigger names decided to go in the later groups possibly hoping for faster skiing conditions but Laura Dahlmeier didn’t. She went bib 18 and shot clean and skied well. When she does that it’s almost impossible to beat her these days.

Tiril Eckhoff gave it a good try though. Shooting 10/10, and the best I have seen her do in a while, she took her first podium of the season finishing 8 seconds behind Dahlmeier.

Third place went to Anais Chevalier with another clean shoot. It could have been snatched from her by teammate Marie Dorin Habert who also shot clean and was 5 seconds ahead of Chevalier after leaving the final shoot. However she disappeared completely and it was later revealed that she had to pull out of the race after feeling dizzy and a bit weak.

Sweden’s Mona Brorsson had her best result this season finishing equal 8th with Anais Bescond after shooting 10/10. Finishing in 17th place to claim her personal best result was Slovakia’s Ivona Fialkova. Annoyingly for her big sister Paulina still beat her when she finished in 14th!

Gabriela Koukalova finished in 21st position with 2 misses to hand an even bigger lead to Dahlmeier in the Total Score.

The men raced on Friday and shooting clean and winning the Sprint, probably 2 weeks after her would have liked to, was Austria’s Julian Eberhard. If only he could have done it in Hochfilzen! He won by 40 seconds from someone who did win in Hochfilzen Lowell Bailey. He is on amazing form at the moment shooting clean again proving he is no one hit wonder! 😉

Third place went to Martin Fourcade who missed 2 shots but that podium finish means that he has once again won the Overall Title. That makes it 6 seasons in a row which is an incredible achievement.

The other Austrians all did well today too with Dominik Landertinger finishing 4th and Simon Eder in 8th. It could be the medal bounce after their performance in the Men’s Relay at the World Championships as Daniel Mesotitsch also took a podium on the IBU Cup in Kontiolahti yesterday.

Serafin Wiestner finished in 7th which is his best result this season. Germany’s Roman Rees got his career best finish in 13th and Tomas Krupkic from the Czech Republic also got a personal best in 19th.

We now have both Pursuit races on Saturday and they should be good races. The women are quite close together as are the men with the exception of Eberhard who will start with a decent lead.

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Brezno 2017: Junior World Champs!

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Zobel,Pettersen,Lobastov

The second day of competition at the Youth/Junior World Championships was the Junior biathletes chance to race the Individual. The Juniors are all 21 or under.

The Men went first and after a small delay due to warm temperatures overnight, which meant extra time was needed to prepare the tracks, we got underway.

The race was won by Norway’s Sindre Petterson who led the whole race despite missing 2 shots on his final standing shoot. He took gold by 51 seconds from Germany’s David Zobel who missed 3 targets but still claimed silver. The bronze medal went to Russia’s Nikita Lobastov who shot 19/20. Just one biathlete shot the perfect 20/20 and that was Latvia’s Ingus Deksnis who finished 5th.

The Women’s race was held in the afternoon and this time the gold medal went to Canada. In another excellent display of shooting Megan Bankes hit 20/20 to win the race by 45 seconds. Silver medal went to Austria’s Julia Schwaiger who hit 19/20 and the bronze medal went to Germany’s Anna Weidel who missed 1 target too. Three other women hit the perfect 20/20 and they were Deborah Laffont of France, Natalie Jurcova of the Czech Republic and Mariana Brykailo of Ukraine.

Saturday was Sprint day for the juniors and the men’s race went to Russia. Igor Malinovskii was the winner hitting 10/10 to win the gold medal by 12 seconds. His teammate Kirill Streltsov took silver with clean shooting and Roman Yeremin won bronze for Kazakhstan.

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Michela Carrara

The Women’s Sprint went to an Italian. They are in great form at this event and Michela Carrara shot clean to take gold by 15 seconds. Silver went to Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold who missed 1 shot and France’s Myrtille Begue got the bronze hitting all the targets.

The Pursuits were raced on Sunday and Malinovskii held on to his lead. He missed 4 shots altogether but still took the victory by 13 seconds. Norway took another silver this time for the winner of the Individual race Sindre Pettersen who came from 8th to 2nd missing 5 targets. The bronze went to Belarus with Anton Smolski also missing 5 targets. Not a single one of the competitors hit 20/20 despite favourable conditions.

Russia also took gold in the Women’s race with Valeriia Vasnetcova shooting clean to come from 24th to 1st! With 3 misses the Sprint winner Carrara dropped to second and Tandrevold took the bronze with 2 shots missed.

The final day of competition took place on Tuesday with both the men’s and women’s relays. The men’s teams have 4 biathletes racing but the women just 3. It wasn’t a big surprise to see Russia winning the men’s race. They had strong team of Nikita Lobastov, Igor Malinovskii, Nikita Porshev and Kirill Streltsov. They are by far the best shooting team using just 7 spares although that was matched by the Finns in 5th.

Silver went to the Norwegian team of Dag Bjoerndalen (son of Dag Bjoerndalen, nephew of OEB), Johannes Dale, Aleksander Andersen and Sindre Petterson. They used 12 spares and incurred 1 penalty loop. Bronze was won by the German team of Justus Strelow, Danilo Riethmueller, Dominic Schmuck and David Zobel. They needed 16 spares and also did 1 penalty loop.

The women race saw the same 3 teams on the podium but in different order. This time Norway took the gold medal with Hilde Eide, Karolina Erdal and Ingrid Tandrevold using 8 spares. Germany were second with Vanessa Voigt, Sophia Schneider and Anna Weidel going on the penalty loop once. Russia took bronze with Kristina Reztsova, Ekaterina Moshkova and Valeriia Vasnetcova also completing a penalty loop.

Those races brought the Youth/ Junior Championship to an end with Russia topping the medal table with 11, Norway in second with 9 and Italy in third with 8. It shows that the big nations are still producing good young biathletes but it is great to see Italy up there competing with them. Hopefully we will be seeing some of these juniors making more appearances at IBU Cup and even World Cup level very soon.

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Brezno 2017: Youth World Champs!

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Telen,Claude,Bakken

Just a few days after the Senior World Championships ended attention was turned to Brezno-Osrblie for the Youth and Junior World Championships. Taking over hosting duties from Ostrov the youngsters all headed to Slovakia for the competition.

Wednesday was the first day of action and it was the Individual races that got us underway. The Youth Men went first. They have to be 19 or under to compete in the Youth races.

The first gold medal went to Canada when Leo Grandbois was the only biathlete to shoot the perfect score of 20/20. With a light drizzle and no wind it was quite surprising that he was the only one to shoot clean but it worked out well for him. Some others missed 14 or 15 shots out of 20 but they are just at the beginning of their careers and have plenty of time to improve the shooting. The silver medal went to Russia’s Said Khalili with 3 misses and the bronze medal went to Danilo Riethmueller of Germany also with 3 misses.

In the afternoon it was the turn of the Youth Women. This time France were victorious with Lou Jeanmonnet Laurent taking the gold medal with 19/20. The silver again went to Russia with Kristina Egorova also hitting 19/20 and the bronze medal went to Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg (yes there is another one!) who missed 2 targets.

On Thursday came the Sprints. The strong wind made conditions difficult but in the end it was Emilien Claude (the 3rd brother in the Claude biathlon dynasty) of France who dealt with them the best. He missed 2 targets but is a very good skier and won the race by 25 seconds. The silver medal went to Serhiy Telen of the Ukraine with 1 miss and the bronze went to Norway’s Sivert Bakken with 2 misses. Not one biathlete shot clean so 9/10 was the best shooting score possible.

The Women had slightly better conditions and the race was won by Irene Landschneider from Italy. She hit 9/10 to win by over a minute from second place. That went to Austria with Anna Gandler also hitting 9/10. Clean shooting and taking the bronze medal was another Italian Samuela Comola. The only other woman to shoot clean was Finland’s Maija Keraenen who was 13th.

Sunday was Pursuit day and for the men Emilien Claude kept his lead and won his second gold medal despite missing 4 targets. Italy took another medal with Cedric Cristille moving from 4th to 2nd to take silver with just 2 misses and bronze went to the German Danilo Riethmueller (4 misses) making that 2 medals for him.

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Irene Landschneider

The women’s race produced yet another Italian medal with Irene Landschneider winning her second gold in a row and like Claude she also missed 4 shots. France’s Jeanmonnot took her second medal moving from 14th to 2nd with just 1 miss. Third went to Italy again with Samuela Comola hanging on to bronze.

The final races were held on Monday and it was the Men’s and Women’s Relays. The Youth Relays only have 3 biathletes instead of 4 racing. The men’s race was won by Norway with a team of Joergen Krogsaeter, Vebjoern Soerum and Sivert Bakken. They used just 6 spares between them. The Russian team took silver despite incurring 2 penalty loops on the final leg. The team of Aleksandr Miakonkii, Ilia Novopashin and Said Kalili beat Belarus into third. Their team of Kiryl Tsiuryn, Ilya Auseyenka and Dzmitry Lazouski needed just 8 spares.

The gold medal winners in the women’s race were the Russian team of Ekaterina Sannikova, Anastasiia Goreeva and Kristina Egorova. They also went on the penalty loop but still managed to beat the Norwegian team of Marthe Johansen, Marit Skogan and Mari Wetterhus who only used 4 spares. Italy took the bronze with a team of Samuela Comola, Irene Landschneider and Martina Vigna.

There were some very strong performances by the young biathletes here in Brezno with Emilien Claude and Irene Landschneider both winning double golds. It was a strong team performance by the young Italians overall and as usual the Germans, Russians and Norwegians all took medals. It will be interesting to see how they all progress in the next few years.

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Hochfilzen 2017: The Mass Starts!

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It’s the final day of what has been an outstanding World Championships in Hochfilzen and what a day it was. The Mass Starts are always great to watch and the two races today were no exception.

The Women got us off to a great start in the morning with a really close race. Susan Dunklee had an amazing first leg to lead after shooting clean on the first prone. She was followed by Laura Dahlmeier and a host of others including Koukalova, Dorin Habert and Wierer. Makarainen missed 1 target on her first shoot.

In fact Wierer had a tough start to the race losing her pole on the opening lap. Teja Gregorin also has a fall so there was a bit of chaos going on behind the leaders!

After the second prone there were still 8 women who hadn’t missed a target and Dunklee was still leading on the tracks.

The third shoot proved decisive in thinning out the medal contenders and left Dunklee, Dahlmeier, Koukalova and Dorin Habert together.

The final shoot saw Dunklee clear first hitting 20/20 followed by Dahlmeier who shot the same score. Dorin Habert and Koukalova both missed leaving a showdown on the tracks between the American and the German. Kaisa Makarainen hit all 5 in the final shoot to leave her to chase down the bronze medal.

Dahlmeier in the end proved too strong for Dunklee on the tracks and won her 5th gold medal of the Championships becoming the first women to do so. She only missed her 6th by 4 seconds in the Sprint. She is a remarkable biathlete and must now be considered one of the best ever.

Dunklee got America’s second medal in silver with a sensational shooting performance. It has been a fantastic competition for the US team. Bronze went to Kaisa Makarainen who skied like the wind passing all her rivals on the final climb winning her only medal here. It was such a good race to finish off the Championships for the women.

The afternoon saw the men’s race and wow what a competition. It was so close all the way to the final shoot where anyone of about 10 biathletes could have won. The early stages were full of great shooting which kept the field extremely close together. The Austrians Simon Eder and Dominik Landertinger were in the mix which made things very exciting for the home crowd.

An incredible 14 biathletes shot 10/10 on the prone shoots. One person who didn’t was Martin Fourcade who missed on the first prone meaning he had to ski fast to catch the others.

Seven biathletes shot 15/15 after the first stand leaving Simon Eder, Simon Schempp, Johannes Boe, Lowell Bailey, Dominik Landertinger and Krasimir Anev at the front. They were joined by Fourcade who had made up the time from his earlier miss.

So it all came down the the final shoot! It was so exciting. Eder cleared, then Schemmp cleared, then Lowell Bailey cleared leaving those three in the medal positions. Johannes Boe missed one and Fourcade missed two. Then it came down to a ski race. Schemmp obviously learned his lesson from yesterday and this time he attacked up the hill to get a gap from Eder. Behind them Johannes Boe was flying and he overtook Bailey and even caught up and passed Eder.

Schempp cruised to the finish getting his first individual win here in Hochfilzen, Boe took his third silver and Simon Eder stayed in third to grab another bronze for the home nation.

Well sorry but as the cartoons say that’s all folks! It has been a fabulous World Championships. Laura Dahlmeier goes home with 5 gold medals and a silver. Germany have 8 medals in total, 7 gold and 1 silver to top the medal table. Happily Austria got in on the action too with the 2 bronzes and so sent the public away happy.

If you are still hungry for more action the Youth/Junior World Championships starts on Wednesday in Brezno-Orsblie!!

I am going for a lie down now! 🙂

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Finsterau 2017: Biathlon Sprint!

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Women’s Standing.Kononova,Liashenko,Bui

Saturday was the final day of action for the biathletes at the World Championships in Finsterau. The last day saw the biathlon sprint races take place and some familiar names on the podium.

In the women’s standing race Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko matched her gold medal from the Individual by winning the Sprint title shooting clean. Defending world champion Oleksandra Kononova took silver and Ukraine made it a 1-2-3 with Iryna Bui taking the bronze.

The men’s title in the standing went to Canada’s Mark Arendz. He won by just 2 seconds from another Ukrainian Ihor Reptyukh with France’s Benjamin Daviet getting bronze.

The Ukrainians enjoyed even more success in the visually impaired events as Oksana Shyshkova with guide Vitalii Kazakov beat Germany’s Clara Klug guided by Martin Hartl. Ukraine’s Olga Prylutska with guide Volodymyr Ivanov took another bronze to add to Ukraine’s massive medal haul.

Anatolii Kovalevskyi guided by Oleksandr Mukshyn added another gold in the men’s race. Belarus’ Vasili Shaptsiaboi and guide Mikhail Lebedzeu won the silver and France’s Anthony Chalencon with guide Simon Valverde got the bronze in what was his first ever podium in biathlon.

The USA’s Oksana Masters won the women’s sitting race despite missing 2 targets. Anja Wicker was second taking another medal for the hosts and Belarusian Lidzyia Hrafeyeva grabbed the bronze.

More gold for Ukraine came from Maksym Yarovyi who won ahead of teammate Taras Rad in the men’s sitting. Germany’s Martin Fleig added a bronze to his two gold medals meaning he won a medal in every biathlon race at his home World Championships.

It has been a really good World Championships with Ukraine as the dominant team. However it was also successful for the home team Germany which always helps to make the event enjoyable for the crowd.

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