Ruhpolding 2019: The Sprints!

What has the world come to when snow stops winter sport!!! The men’s sprint was cancelled on Wednesday and moved to Thursday because of all the snow in the region blocking roads and generally getting in the way! Seriously it was a good decision as safety has to come first.

So Thursday was a lovely sunny winters day with great conditions for biathlon. The men finally got to race and we got another Boe-dium! Johannes Boe won yet another sprint beating his brother by 8 seconds. It was pretty harsh on Tarjei really as he shot clean and Johannes missed a target. Talk about an annoying little brother. Johannes is skiing phenomenally well just now and is very tough to beat.

Third place went to Benni Doll which pleased the home crowd. He also missed one target. Shooting clean in 4th was Martin Fourcade. I remember the days when he shot clean he was unbeatable. I mean I should remember it was just last season! Alexander Loginov was 5th and Lukas Hofer was 6th both hitting 9/10.

Jake Brown from the USA had a great race shooting 10/10 finishing in 47th for a personal best.

The women’s race was won by my nemesis – bib24! I hate that bib! I love the lady who was wearing it though Anastasiya Kuzmina. It was a great performance from her hitting the perfect ten and winning by 11.5 seconds. Lisa Vittozzi was second shooting 10/10 continuing her amazing season. Third place went to Hanna Oberg who also hit all the targets.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 4th with 1 miss, Anais Bescond was 5th with 10/10 and Dorothea Wierer was 6th with 9/10. Laura Dahlmeier returned in good form after missing Oberhof shooting clean to finish 9th.

There were quite a few personal bests from the women. Elena Kruchinkina from Belarus was 23rd, Tuuli Tomingas was 31st, Anastasiia Morozova 32nd, Hanna Sola 34th, Caroline Colombo 46th and Larisa Kuklina was 48th making her individual debut after an amazing leg for the Russian relay team in Oberhof.

Weirdly there is no pursuit in Ruhpolding so we move on to the men’s relay on Friday, the women’s relay on Saturday and the mass starts on Sunday.

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An Ode to Biathlon!

This year’s Christmas holiday special to keep you going over the biathlon break is in the form of a poem. That’s right there is no beginning to my talents! 😉 Eat your heart out Homer – it’s epic! 😉

Biathlon, biathlon,
Why do I love you so?
Because you are the best sport,
Shooting and skiing in the snow!

From Fourcade to Dahlmeier,
Makarainen and Boe,
You always entertain us,
With one hell of a show!

Sprint, Pursuit, Individual,
Relay and Mass Start,
We love watching all of them,
The excitement is off the chart!

We have the best fans around,
And that will never change,
Cheering on the athletes,
When they are on the shooting range!

But watch out dear biathletes,
There is always someone ready to swoop,
Especially when you miss a target,
And go round the penalty loop.

The World Cup takes us everywhere,
To many places we go,
To help support our favourite stars,
Just like Anto Guigo!*

There are many families in biathlon,
And we are not sure how,
But there is Boe, Fourcade, Gasparin,
Claude, Fialkova and Gow.

Some biathletes have ups and downs,
Like Slovenia’s Klemen Bauer,
But when he finishes in the Top 6,
He’s guaranteed a flower!

We also have team Sweden,
With gold medallists Seb and Hanna,
They are still brilliant biathletes,
Even dressed like a banana!

Italy have some amazing shooters,
Like Vittozzi and Wierer,
Making all the other biathletes,
Wish the targets were nearer!

Then there are our officials,
Who carry out all the checks,
We appreciate all the coaches too,
And especially the wax techs!

Don’t forget para biathlon,
With sitting, standing and VI,
Their impairments don’t hold them back,
Their limit is the sky!

Imagine doing biathlon blind,
And shooting with your hearing,
Using a guide to get you around,
And help you with the steering!

I am obsessed with biathlon,
That’s obvious to see,
But the most important thing of all,
Is to support bib23!

*for rhyming purposes only! 😉

Please feel free to send me your biathlon poems!

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Nove Mesto 2018: The Mass Starts!

We love the mass start, don’t we! In front of tens of thousands of fans in Nove Mesto it’s even better.

It has been a great few days for Johannes Boe. He won the sprint and pursuit races and then conquered the mass start in some style. He shot 20/20 and even held off big brother Tarjei at the start of the race to make it three wins in a row for the Norwegian.

The only other man to shoot clean was Evgeniy Garanichev who finished third. Second place went to Quentin Fillon Maillet who missed two shots but was much faster than Garanichev on the skis and easily passed him after the final shoot. It was also good news for the home fans with Ondrej Moravec finishing 8th and Michal Krcmar 10th.

With Martin Fourcade in 9th it means Johannes has a massive lead on the Total Score heading into the Christmas break. He is 116 points ahead of Loginov in second and 165 ahead of Fourcade who is in 5th.

In the women’s race Dorothea Wierer was denied victory despite having the best shooting score hitting 19/20. She was beaten by ski speed mainly through tiredness from her amazing efforts in the last three weeks. The win went to Anastasiya Kuzmina. Remember her from last season? Well she is finally back and on top of the podium in spite of her two misses.

Paulina Fialkova made it a one-two for Slovakia out skiing Anais Chevalier and Wierer on the final lap. I’m sure the Czech crowd were very happy to see there neighbours doing so well!!! 😉

Chevalier was third getting her first podium of the season. Sweden’s Mona Brorsson did really well getting a personal best in 5th. It wasn’t a good round for Kaisa Makarainen in 22nd. She seems to struggle in Nove Mesto which means Wierer stays in the yellow bib until Oberhof in January. She has a 36 point lead over Fialkova in second and is 113 points ahead of Makarainen.

The biathletes get a well deserved break now after three tough rounds in a row. They will be back on the 10th of January for the Sprint races in Oberhof.

Don’t forget to look out for my special Christmas break post. I think you will like this one! 😉

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Nove Mesto 2018: Sprints/Pursuits!

Nove Mesto is back! Biathlon23 is back! A nice Christmas treat for everyone! 😉

The atmosphere in Nove Mesto is always amazing and especially under the lights and when we kicked off round 3 of the World Cup on Thursday with the Men’s Sprint. Obviously there was only ever going to be one winner as the combination of Johannes Thingnes Boe and Bib23 are frankly unstoppable! He won the race in 23 minutes just for good measure.

Second place went to Russia’s Alexander Loginov who has started the season really well. He has always been super talented which begs the question why he decided to dope. Anyway he served his ban and is back performing well. Third place went to Sweden’s Martin Ponsiluoma taking his first ever individual podium with an impressive race.

The top three all shot clean but Martin Fourcade’s strange season continues after he missed four and finished 43rd. His form is a mystery but maybe the pressure Boe is putting on him is starting to show. This season Boe has been starting races ahead of Fourcade on the list and posting tough times to beat.

Another Norwegian 21-year-old Johannes Dale, who was on the Junior World Cup last season, got his chance to race on the World Cup and shot clean to finish 15th.

The women’s sprint also went to Norway with Marte Olsbu Roeiseland getting her first ever win on the World Cup. She shot clean and managed to do enough to stay ahead of a remarkable Laura Dahlmeier who made a fantastic comeback after illness. If she hadn’t missed a target the race would have been hers. Third place went to Slovakia’s Paulina Fialkova who has been outstanding this season. Let’s just say since her Biathlon23 interview she hasn’t looked back! 😉

Elsewhere there were personal bests for Poland’s Kinga Zyblut in 8th, Canada’s Sarah Beaudry in 12th and teammate Emma Lunder in 17th.

The pursuits took place on Saturday and with a lead of 21 seconds Johannes would be hard to beat. He actually missed 4 targets but luckily for him so did Loginov in second and that’s how they finished the race. Tarjei Boe made it a boe-dium moving up 5 places to take third with just 1 miss. Martin Fourcade hit 20/20 going from 43rd to 5th and was the only man to shoot clean. Sebastian Samuelsson moved from 52nd to 10th despite 2 misses.

In the women’s pursuit Roeiseland held on for the win with two misses in a sprint finish to the line with World Cup leader Dorothea Wierer who went from 9th to 2nd. Hanna Oberg moved from 6th to 3rd to take the final podium spot. Her teammates from Sweden had an excellent race with Mona Brorsson going from 36th to 12th, Anna Magnusson from 44th to 4and Linn Persson from 37th to 15th.

The first mass starts of the season take place on Sunday.

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Pokljuka 2018: The Relays!

So it has finally begun! The new biathlon season got underway on Sunday with both the mixed relays – the single and well the double I suppose! Normal service was resumed with Norway and France winning, or was it?

The Single Mixed relay went to the Norwegian pair of Thelka Brun-Lie and Lars Birkeland. They finished ahead of the Austrian team Lisa Hauser and Simon Eder in second. Ukraine took third. Not too many surprises there but there was some exceptional shooting from Anastasiya Merkushyna and Artem Tyshchenko who only used 1 spare in the whole race.

Canada were leading the race at one point and so were France but the shooting let those teams down a little. Japan were 10th and usually do well in this race.

It was the Mixed Relay where we got a surprise. France won with a strong team of Bescond, Braisaz, Martin Fourcade and Desthieux. However second place went to Switzerland with fantastic performances from the birthday girl Elisa Gasparin, Lena Hacki, Benni Weger and Jeremy Finello.

Third went to Italy, with the usual suspects, Vittozzi, Wierer, Windisch and Hofer despite a penalty loop.

Finland also had a great race with Eder(formerly Laukkanen) and Makarainen putting them in the lead but the men, Seppala and Hiidensalo, couldn’t hold it and eventually finished 5th which is still a great result.

The biggest excitement of the day however was reserved for Timofey Lapshin’s moustache. It’s amazing! Curled up at the ends and everything!

Racing continues on Wednesday with the Individual and goes right through until Sunday with the Pursuits.

Apologies to my regular readers as the blog coverage is going to be patchy before Christmas. It seems I am so busy writing about biathlon for other people that I don’t have a lot of time to do it for myself. Hopefully normal service will be resumed after Christmas!

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Season 2018/19: Women’s Preview!

Three points! That’s all that separated the top two women in the Overall last season. It went down to the very last race at the final World Cup. In stark contrast to the Men’s Title no one knows who will win the Women’s Overall Title.

Kaisa Makarainen was victorious last season and she is probably just the favourite for this year but really it could go to any one of three.

Anastasiya Kuzmina was unlucky missing out on what would have been her first ever Overall victory. She had an astonishingly consistent season which hasn’t happened for her before and to lose out on the big crystal globe in her home town of Tyumen must have been heartbreaking. She decided to race again this year to try and win the one thing that has eluded her so far in biathlon.

Challenging both of these women will be Laura Dahlmeier. She had a fantastic Olympic Games but wasn’t as good as usual on the World Cup. She finished third, 92 points behind Makarainen but won’t have the big distraction of the Olympics this time around. She has already won the Overall and so knows exactly what it takes to do it. She still suffers with illness during the season however and that could make the difference between winning and losing in the Total Score. She even had to take a break this pre-season from training in October due to ill health so hasn’t had the ideal preparation.

There are other biathletes who will feature in the Top 5 or 10 of course but none of them have yet showed they have what it takes to win the World Cup. The Italians Lisa Vittozzi and Dorothea Wierer are always strong and are fantastic shots but lack the consistency for the Overall Title. Tiril Eckhoff is a great biathlete but you never know what you are going to get with her. One day she is outstanding, the next she disappears. Justine Braisaz and Anais Bescond both had good seasons in 2017/18 but the French duo are also a bit hit and miss.

The Women’s Relays will be very interesting this season. Last year the dominance of the German Team was ended with France and Belarus both taking victories. However both of those teams will be missing big guns, Dorin Habert, Domracheva and Skardino, so hopefully other teams like Italy, Ukraine and the Czech Republic will threaten the Germans.

It will also be fun to see who comes out on top in the Mixed Relays. There were three races last season and three different winners; France, Norway and Italy. This could be a really exciting event with quite a lot of strong teams around.

The season starts on the 2nd of December in Pokljuka with the Single and Mixed Relays. The programme also includes the Individual, Sprint and Pursuit races. We then head to Hochfilzen and Nove Mesto will take us up to Christmas! What an awesome present! 🙂

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Season 2018/19: Men’s Preview!

Thanks to Martin Fourcade winning 7 Overall Titles in a row my trusty thesaurus and I have run out of words to describe him. Although one we could use is predictable. Let’s face it he is going to win the Overall again this year unless some outside force like illness or injury stop him. I can’t see it being a fellow biathlete that will halt his progress.

Johannes Thingnes Boe will try to beat him but he has had a bit of a topsy turvy summer. He got married, he admitted to not being in the best shape and he was also ill for a while and had a back problem. Not the best preparation to take on the titan that is Fourcade!

It would be nice if his big brother Tarjei could get back to the form he showed when he won the Overall all those years ago. Years of illness have set him back a lot though and he doesn’t seem to have the consistency to get back to the very top.

The Germans are always in and around the Top 5 come the end of the season. However although Simon Schempp and Arnd Peiffer get a lot of Top 10 and Top 6 finishes they don’t gather enough podiums to challenge for the title.

Anton Shipulin usually finishes third in the Total Score but this summer has suffered from mononucleosis and only confirmed that he would continue racing in biathlon at the start of October. Not a recipe for success.

Lukas Hofer finished fifth last season in the Overall and maybe he could move up a place or two this year and grab a Top 3 but he is not likely to win the big crystal globe.

The Swedes had a great season with their Olympic success and you might think Sebastian Samuelsson or Freddie Lindstrom could mount a serious challenge. They wont! They have a home World Championships in Oestersund and will be looking to repeat their Olympic preparation plan to bring them medals come March. That means their main focus will not be the World Cups.

Where there might be a bit of excitement on the men’s side is with the Relays. Last season we only had 2 different winners; Norway and Sweden. However the Norwegians have lost Bjoerndalen and Svendsen to retirement and there are a lot of strong teams who can get in the mix like Germany, France, Austria and Russia.

There were only two races in the Single Mixed Relay last season and they were won by Austria and France. This is a great format for the Austrians with two great shooters in Simon Eder and Lisa Hauser. It all depends on who is racing however so there are a lot of teams who could win this season.

The first round of the World Cup begins in Pokljuka this season. Be careful not to go to Oestersund by mistake! We get underway with the Single Mixed and the Mixed Relays on the 2nd of December!
FINALLY!!! 🙂

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