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Season Review 2018/19: The Women!

WOW! What a year we had on the women’s World Cup! We had 12 different winners, 6 brand new winners and an amazing battle between Dorothea Wierer and Lisa Vittozzi which kept us hooked all season. For the second year in row the title was won in the very last race of the season!

In the end it was Dorothea Wierer who won the Overall Title but it was far from easy! She finished the season with 904 points. Vittozzi was second with 882 points and Anastasiya Kuzmina was third with 870 points.

The season began in Pokljuka with the Individual and Yuliia Dzhima got the season rolling with her first win on the World Cup. Last year’s champion Kaisa Makarainen looked really good at the opening round winning the following two races; the sprint and pursuit.

Wierer got her fantastic season underway with her first win of the new campaign in the Hochfilzen sprint. Makarainen took the pursuit and was at the top of the standings.

However in Nove Mesto Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, got her first World Cup win in the sprint and then her second in the pursuit. It would be the foundation for her best ever season. Anastasiya Kuzmina won the mass start.

In Oberhof we got another first time winner and this time it was Lisa Vittozzi who did the sprint and pursuit double. She had been in and around the top 5 all season up until then when she finally made her big breakthrough and was well on her way to a shot at the big crystal globe.

Ruhpolding was the venue for Kuzmina’s second win of the season in the sprint. Home favourite Franziska Preuss won the mass start taking her first gold medal on the World Cup.

Antholz was next up and there was yet another debut World Cup victory this time from Marketa Davidova in the sprint. Wierer took her second win at home in the pursuit.

Canmore saw races cancelled but Tiril Eckhoff managed to win the shortened individual race. In Soldier Hollow Roeiseland took her third win of the season in the sprint throwing her into the mix for the yellow bib with the two Italians. Denise Herrmann got her third career victory in the pursuit.

The World Championships in Oestersund gave us four different winners in the four individual competitions and all debut winners of a World title! The sprint went to Anastasiya Kuzmina despite being unwell. Denise Herrmann won the pursuit, Hanna Oberg won the individual on home soil and Dorothea Wierer took the mass start.

Everything came down to Holmenkollen. There were still 3 women in serious contention to win the big crystal globe; Wierer and Vittozzi, who started the round on equal points, and Kuzmina. In the sprint it was Anastasiya Kuzmina who came out all guns blazing to take the win.

Lisa Vittozzi had a terrible race failing to score any points and she didn’t qualify for the pursuit either. Wierer took the overall lead after finishing 11th. Kuzmina also won the pursuit while Wierer was 12th so everything went down to the mass start.

All three women struggled after a long hard season. It was Hanna Oberg who won the race taking her first win on the World Cup. Kuzmina was 10th, Vittozzi 11th and Wierer 12th and that meant the overall title belonged to Wierer and the big crystal globe was on it’s way to Italy for the first time!

The small globes were shared around with Vittozzi taking the individual title, Kuzmina winning the sprint, Wierer the pursuit and Oberg the mass start.

Rookie of the season was Evgeniya Pavlova.

Relays
The women’s relays were much like the rest of the women’s season with four different winners in the first four races. Italy won in Hochfilzen, Russia in Oberhof, France in Ruhpolding and Germany in Canmore. However at World Championships it was Norway who came out on top with a team of Synnoeve Solemdal, Ingrid Tandrevold, Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Roeiseland.

There were only two single mixed relays on the World Cup which France won in Pokljuka, and Italy in Soldier Hollow. The first ever World title in the event went to Norway with a team of Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Johannes Boe.

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Season Review 2018/19: The Men!

Well, well, well you didn’t expect that at the start of the season did you? After 7 years of total domination Martin Fourcade’s reign as Overall champion is over. Johannes Boe is the new champion finally living up to his potential!

However we have basically just swapped one dominant biathlete for another as no one got near Boe in the Total Score.He accumulated 1262 points to win his first big crystal globe. Second place went to Alexander Loginov with 856 points and third to Quentin Fillon Maillet with 843 points.

There were only 8 men who even won a race this season including Boe but we did have 4 brand new victors which is always good to see.

At the start of the season in Pokljuka it looked like business as usual for Martin Fourcade as he won the first race of the season taking victory in the individual. It didn’t continue that way as we know with Boe winning both the sprint and pursuit.

It was still pretty even in Hochfilzen with Boe taking the sprint but Fourcade the pursuit. Yes we thought – a proper battle for number one! Alas we were to be disappointed on that front but Boe gave us some amazing races to enjoy along the way.

He really turned the screw in Nove Mesto winning all three races and taking a lot of points from the others. In Oberhof we got our first new winner of the season with Alexander Loginov taking the sprint for his debut win on the World Cup. I imagine it might have come sooner if he had decided to be a clean athlete and didn’t miss two years with a doping ban.

Johannes came back to win the pursuit and did the double in Ruhpolding with sprint and pursuit victory. He won the same two races in Antholz but in the mass start the biathlon gods finally looked down on Quentin Fillon Maillet and gave him his first ever World Cup win. After 5 second place finishes in his career he really deserved it.

In Canmore there was just the short individual which Boe won but in Soldier Hollow he didn’t get a victory for the first time at a World Cup round!! Instead it was teammate Vetle Christiansen who got his maiden World Cup win in the sprint. The pursuit went to Fillon Maillet who waited ages for his first win and then gets another one shortly after. I wonder if he takes the bus! 😉

In Oestersund at the World Championships there was no such domination from one athlete with four different winners in the individual events (hurrah!). The sprint of course went to Johannes Boe but Dmytro Pidruchnyi won the pursuit which was his first ever win, Arnd Peiffer took the individual and the mass start went to Dominik Windisch in a race we won’t forget for a long time.

At the final round in Holmenkollen it was the Boe show! He won all three races; the sprint, pursuit and mass start with some fantastic performances. He also broke the record for the most wins in a single season. He won 16 races!!! Unboelievable!!! The previous record was 14 which Martin Fourcade did last year to match Magdalena Forsberg. I’m sure he was delighted it was broken so quickly!!! 😉

It was a clean sweep of all the small globes for Boe in the sprint, pursuit, individual and mass start unsurprisingly.

Rookie of the year went to another Norwegian called Johannes but this time it was Mr. Dale who won it!

Relays
In the four relays before World Championships Sweden won the first in Hochfilzen, Russia won in Oberhof and Norway triumphed in both Ruhpolding and Canmore. In Oestersund it was Norway who took the gold with Lars Helge Birkelund, Vetle Christiansen and the Boe brothers making up the team.

There were just two mixed relays before the Worlds and both were won by the French. In Oestersund it was Norway who took the gold. The team of Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Vetle Christiansen and Johannes Boe were too strong for the other teams.

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WC9 Khanty Mansiysk: Review 2016

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No! It’s Khanty Mansiysk already which means it’s the final round of the World Cup. The Men’s titles were all decided before we arrived in Russia. To make a long story short Martin Fourcade won everything! The Women’s was not quite wrapped up however as it was still possible for Marie Dorin Habert to catch up with leader Gabriela Soukalova.

It was the Women who raced first on Thursday in the Sprint. It was Kaisa Makarainen who won this one missing a target but skiing back to her best to win. In second and securing the small Crystal Globe in the Sprint event was Gabriela Soukalova. As Dorin Habert finished 10th it gave her a boost for the Overall Title. Third place went to Marte Olsbu who got her first ever podium and a career best result. Obviously the relay gold from Oslo has given her a lot of confidence. Justine Braisaz also got a personal best result in 4th.

The Men’s Sprint was won by Austria’s Julian Eberhard. He shot 10/10 and won by just 1.1 seconds. As predicted by this blog earlier in the season if he ever shot clean he would win and he has! It’s quite a surprise for him to shoot clean but it got him his first ever World Cup win. Second place went to Simon Schempp who must have though he had won as he wouldn’t have expected a clean shoot from Eberhard. Third place went to another German Arnd Peiffer. Erik Lesser was 5th and Benedikt Doll was 8th which means either the Germans love Khanty Mansiysk or they messed up their World Championship preparation and are in top form two weeks too late!!

There were personal best results in the Sprint for Ukraine’s Oleksander Zhyrnyi in 13th and Bulgaria’s Anton Sinapov in 16th who both shot 10/10. Martin Fourcade missed 4 shots and finished 40th and so decided not to start in the Pursuit.

The Women’s Pursuit was first on Saturday and Kaisa Makarainen did the double with another victory. She is hitting good form a bit too late in the season. She missed 2 shots but still won by 1.5 seconds. Title challenger Marie Dorin Habert was second with 1 missed target and Dorothea Wierer was third. It was a close finish for the final podium place with Gabriela Soukalova in fourth and Franziska Preuss in fifth less than a second behind. Soukalova’s 4th place meant that she won the small globe for the Pursuit and also secured the Overall Title.

There were other good results from Juliya Dzhyma who went from 26th to 9th, Laura Dahlmeier 36th to 16th, Ekaterina Yurlova 32nd to 18th, Iryna Kryuko 38th to 23rd, Monika Hojnisz 51st to 31st, Julia Ransom 54th to 34th and Ingela Andersson 56th to 38th.

The Men’s Sprint was won by Simon Schempp. He missed 3 targets but held off Johannes Thingnes Boe who was second. He only missed 1 target but started a minute behind Schempp and he only finished 8.5 seconds behind him. Third place went to Erik Lesser who missed 2 shots. Sprint winner Julian Eberhard missed 8 targets and went back to 18th!

There were other good performances by Simon Eder 38th to 11th, Tarjei Boe 35th to 12th, Michal Krcmar 39th to 17th, Anton Shipulin 45th to 20th and Dmitry Malyshko 55th to 33rd.

The final races of the 2015/16 season were the Mass Starts. Actually they weren’t! They were both cancelled due to strong, gusty wind conditions so the season ended with a bit of an anti-climax. This meant that Soukalova would also win the small Crystal Globe for the Mass Start.

Well that is all for the season 😦 try not to be too upset! Martin Fourcade won the Overall Title for the 5th season in a row and all 4 small globes for the second time in his career. You know I think he might be quite good at biathlon! Gabriela Soukalova won the Women’s Overall Title for the first time and 3 out of 4 of the small globes with Dorothea Wierer winning in the Individual. It has been another great biathlon season and thanks for following it with biathlon23!

Oh wait a minute, I’m not quite finished yet! Look out for my Men’s and Women’s Reviews and the outcome of a up and down season for Biathlete23! Plus the one thing all the biathletes want to win – The Biathlon 23 Awards are back! 🙂

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Global Success!2014/15 Season Review:Men

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Season 2014/15 has come to an end and there is no surprise about who came out on top in the Men’s field. Yes for the fourth time in a row France’s Martin Fourcade has won the overall title and gets another big Crystal Globe to put on his already overcrowded mantlepiece. It didn’t start out that way though. We all got a bit excited in the first race of the season way back in Oestersund in the Individual 20km.

It was won by Fourcade’s main rival at the start of the season Emil Hegle Svendsen and with Martin having a total nightmare and finishing in 81st place we thought we might see the title go elsewhere. Of course we we entirely wrong because Fourcade popped up and won the very next race, the Sprint, by 28 seconds and went on to win the Pursuit too. After the first World Cup round it was business as usual with Fourcade and Svendsen setting the pace.

That didn’t last long though as two new contenders appeared to chase Fourcade. Germany’s Simon Schempp started putting in some fantastic performances with two second places in Hochfilzen. In Pokljuka Russia’s Anton Shipulin emerged as a real challenger for the overall with 2 wins and a second place. At this point Svendsen was still going along nicely picking up wins and podiums to stay in the hunt.

After Christmas we had the two German races in Oberhof and Ruhpolding. Oberhof went well for Fourcade where he won both races but in Ruhpolding he started to have some problems. Both Schempp and Shipulin gained points there with Schempp getting a win and a second place. Antholz was next and that’s where Schempp did even more damage. With Fourcade under the weather he won both races just as he did the year before to make a big dent in Fourcade’s lead in the yellow bib. It was around this time that Svendsen’s title challenge faded away as he failed to get on the podium or even into the Top 10. Schempp again beat Fourcade in Nove Mesto but not by much as he was second twice while Fourcade was third and fourth.

By now Shipulin’s charge was slowing and while he still made the podium and TOP 10 in Holmenkollen Fourcade’s win and second place gave him the advantage. Schempp didn’t have a great round in Norway either which left Fourcade with a lead of 78 points going into the World Championships where the results also counted towards the overall title. His rivals didn’t fare too well in the points department but Shipulin and Schempp did medal. Martin won the Individual and was competitive enough in all the other races to give him a lead of 111 points to take into the final round.

We found ourselves in Khanty-Mansiysk for round 9 and in the first race, the Sprint, Martin won convincingly and also won the small Crystal globe. Shipulin was second but it left a deficit of 117 points going into the final 2 races. He was also second in the Sprint standings ahead of Simon Schempp in third. In the Pursuit race Martin did enough to win the Overall Title finishing fourth just one place behind Shipulin. This means he has won the total score for 4 years in a row the first person to do so. The final race saw Shipulin claiming the small Crystal Globe for the Mass Start.

Outside of these guys there have been other impressive performances. Ukraine’s Sergey Semenov won the Individual 20km competition with some great shooting and consistent results and did enough in Kontiolahti to hang on to beat Fourcade and Svendsen to the title. Jakov Fak put up a late charge coming into great ski form towards the end of the year winning World Championship gold as well as 3 other races. This put him into third place in the overall standings.

Johannes Thingnes Boe didn’t get as many World Cup wins as last year but he is the World Champion in the Sprint. He is also relatively inexperienced on the World Cup which is obviously a worry for all the other biathletes! His big brother Tarjei made up for a slow start to the season troubled by illness to win 5 medals in Kontiolahti. The German team were stronger than they have been in a while with Schempp but Arnd Peiffer also got back to winning ways in Holmenkollen and with Lesser becoming Pursuit World Champion and Andi Birnbacher getting back to his old form they are a formidable team. They also have Daniel Boehm and Benedikt Doll who collected his first 2 podiums in Khanty Mansiysk.

Simon Fourcade enjoyed a better season than last year finishing 4th in every race!!;-) The French team also have a new star in Quentin Fillon Maillet. He has finished in the TOP 10 nine times with his best result of second place coming in the Ruhpolding Mass Start in a photo finish. Benjamin Weger has shown more consistency this season and has had 4 Top 10 finishes. The Czech team had a good season too with Michal Slesingr in great form and Ondrej Moravec performing well at the World Championships. Evgeniy Garanichev did well too for Russia and finished 6th in the total score.

The Canadians have done really well with Nathan Smith winning silver in the World Championship Sprint, taking 6 TOP 10 finishes and his first ever win in Khanty Mansiysk to finish the season on a high. Brendan Green got a personal best result of 5th too. For the Americans Leif Nordgren outshone his better known colleagues Burke and Bailey with 4 TOP 30 results and a personal best of 16th in the Nove Mesto Sprint. The Bulgarians Krasimir Anev and Vladimir Iliev have been a breath of fresh air this season both shooting really well and getting 14 Top 20 finishes between them, 9 for Iliev and 5 for Anev. Anev achieved a PB of 4th and Iliev 6th.

It has been a very enjoyable season watching the men’s races. I would like to have seen a closer challenge to Fourcade but it sets up next season very nicely. It’s not a two horse race anymore between Fourcade and Svendsen. There are other opponents who can stop Fourcade achieving 5 in a row! However they will find it very tough. It was nice to see the small globes shared around too with Semenov taking the Individual title, Shipulin the Mass Start and the Sprint and Pursuit going to Fourcade. The Nation’s Cup went to Norway. Well we have a long summer ahead of us to digest this season and look forward to the next one. One thing is certain for Monsieur Fourcade season 2014/15 has been a Global Success!

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I Khanty believe it!

Can you believe it?! The last World Cup round has finished and the season is over already! Khanty-Mansiysk was the venue for round 9 of the biathlon World Cup and there were still a lot of things to settle. The deficit between Fourcade and Shipulin was 111 points coming into this round but much more exciting was the race for the overall title between the women with just 21 points separating Domracheva and Makarainen.

The first race was the Men’s Sprint and an outstanding performance from Martin Fouracde saw him secure the small Crystal Globe for the Sprint title and an almost unassailable lead in the total score of 117 points with 2 races remaining. He shot clean and fast to finish 13 seconds ahead of his season long rival Anton Shipulin. In third place was Benedikt Doll. He has had a really impressive season and got his first ever podium on the World Cup. In fact if he hadn’t missed on his standing shoot he possibly could have taken his first win. In fourth was Andrejs Rastorgujevs who just missed his first podium by 0.3 of a second! Another German Johannes Kuehn also got his personal best result in 10th.

The Women’s Sprint came next and with the Overall Title still up for grabs it was a tense affair. Kaisa Makarainen came out on top winning by 14.2 seconds from Laura Dahlmeier in second. They both missed 1 target but Domracheva missed 2 which proved costly and left her in third. This closed the gap between Dasha and Kaisa to just 9 points with the Pursuit and Mass Start remaining. Elsewhere the Germans had a good day with Dahlmeier’s podium, a 6th place for Preuss and 8th for Kummer. America’s Hannah Dreissigacker racked up another personal best result with 14th.

The next race was the Men’s Pursuit and we were treated to a brand new winner on the World Cup! Canada’s Nathan Smith took his first ever win at the age of 29 and capped off a fantastic season. He has worked really hard in the past few years to improve his skiing and it has paid off. In second was Benedikt Doll taking his second podium in a row and showing just what a great young talent he is. Third went to Anton Shipulin who finished ahead of Fourcade in fourth which meant that the Crystal Globe went to Martin for the 4th year in a row. A quite incredible achievement! “Chapeau” as they say in France!

The Women’s race was another nerve wracking event. Domracheva won and put herself in a great position to win the Overall Title. However she did almost throw it all away by going to shoot in the standing position on the second shoot when it should have been prone. Thankfully the shouts from the crowd helped her discover her error before it was too late. Too many errors was the problem for Makarainen though as she missed 3 shots to finish third. She did clinch the small globe for the Pursuit but just by 1 point. The rest of the podium was all German with Laura Dahlmeier edging out her teammate Franziska Preuss on the line to get another second place finish.

The final races of the season were the Mass Starts. In the Men’s race Jakov Fak proved why he is World Champion in this event by winning with clean shooting and a 10 second margin from Anton Shipulin. Poor Anton he was on the podium in every race here in Russia but couldn’t quite reach the top step. Nevermind he can console himself with the small Crystal Globe for coming first in the Mass Start standings. In third was Tarjei Boe continuing his good late season form. Martin Fourcade finished his season in 20th but the cause may have been too much champagne!;-)

The Women’s race went to Laura Dahlmeier who has had an incredible season and was her second win on the World Cup. Somehow she found the energy to beat Gabriela Soukalova to the line and Marie Dorin Habert was third. Franziska Preuss managed to finish ahead of Valj Semerenko to win the Mass Start globe. Darya Domracheva was fourth but it didn’t matter as she had done enough to win her first ever overall title.

So that’s it! The season is over. We have Martin Fourcade taking his fourth overall title and Darya Domracheva winning her first. What a season it has been with some great new talent coming through and great title fights especially from the women. What are we going to do until November? The season is finished already – I Khanty believe it!

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