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Season Review 2019/20: The Men!

Since when did the men’s overall title go down to the last race and be decided by 2 points! Never! (Well maybe it has but I am too lazy to actually check!) Normally it’s the women who take the total score right down to the wire but this season thanks to baby Boe it was the men who gave us the closest of finishes!

Little did we know back in December that this would be Martin Fourcade’s final season. Well maybe he didn’t either but guess what I haven’t checked! 😉 That made the battle between the Frenchman and Johannes Thingnes Boe even more special as it would be the last.

It looked like it would be another convincing win for Boe in the overall at the start of the season. Honours were even in Oestersund with Boe taking the sprint and Fourcade winning the individual but then Boe won 4 of the 5 next races with Fourcade not making the podium in any.

However after Christmas Boe took parental leave for the birth of his son Gustav (biathlon overall title winner 2043) and then Fourcade came alive. Without Boe racing he won all 4 events in Germany! The psychological effect on Fouracde was marked as with no Johannes he became the best again and showed it.

In Pokljuka Boe returned and won the individual beating Fourcade into second place and taking the mental advantage back.

After a win each at World Champs it was on to Nove Mesto where Boe won both races to close the gap in the total score. Then came Kontiolahti and the news that it would be final round of the World Cup and the final two races would determine the champion.

Boe won the sprint ahead of Fourcade which meant it would all come down to the pursuit. If Fourcade could win then Boe had to finish at least 4th to take the title. That’s exactly what happened. Boe was nervous and it showed in his shooting. Basically if he had missed just one shot in the final standing Fourcade would have been an 8-time world cup winner but somehow he hit all five and made it home in 4th place to take the big crystal globe by just 2 points! It was un-boe-lieveable! That makes it two in a row for the super talented Norwegian.

I am sure Fourcade would have loved to go out on the ultimate high of winning the overall but it was not to be! He did win the race which was a fitting end to a truly outstanding career. He won his first race in the Kontiolathi pursuit and his last both on the 14th of March!

He will be sorely missed on the World Cup next year but he has handed the French baton over to Emilien Jaquelin! It was a remarkable season for the 24-year-old. He won his first ever race which just happened to be at the World Championships in Antholz! He took gold in the pursuit and then went on to win gold in the men’s relay, bronze in the single mixed and bronze again in the mass start! He would also go on to collect the pursuit crystal globe after topping the standings in that event and finished 5th in the total score.

Martin Fourcade took home two small globes this season winning the sprint title and the individual. Johannes Boe was the winner of the mass start title.

Apart from Jacquelin there were no other first time winners on the men’s world cup but we had a couple of first time podiums. Matvey Eliseev was third in the Oestersund sprint and Fabien Claude was third in the Pokljuka individual. Maybe without Fourcade there will be more space on the podium steps for some new faces next season.

New faces like rookie of the season Nikita Porshnev. In Annecy he got his first top 20 finish coming 18th in the mass start and at World Championships he was 21st in the sprint but then set an new personal best in the individual of 11th.

Speaking of World Championships the men decided to share out the medals this year. Each race was won by a different biathlete which is unusual on the men’s side. Alexander Loginov won the sprint, Jacquelin took the pursuit, Fourcade the individual and Johannes Boe the mass start!

Relays

The men’s relay was a big fight between Norway and France all season long! Norway dominated the early exchanges winning the first three races of the season. France took the win in the fourth race in Ruhpolding and more importantly won at World Champs. It was their first relay win in 19 years and completed Fourcade’s collection of medals! Norway won the final race in Nove Mesto and they won the men’s relay world cup title.

The mixed relay was a bit more competitive across the teams with Italy winning the opening race in Oestersund, France on top in Pokljuka and Norway taking gold in Antholz.

Retirements

Sadly this season there were more retirements than just Martin Fourcade. Michal Slesingr decided to end his career at his home World Cup in Nove Mesto. It was such a shame that there was no crowd there to send him off but he will be remembered as trail blazer for Czech biathlon of course as a fantastic biathlete. Also hanging up his rifle is Mario Dolder. His best finish came in 2017 when he was 6th in the Oestersund sprint and he was a great servant to the Swiss team. As a biathlon23 interviewee he will obviously be missed more than the other two! 😉

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Kontiolahti 2020: The Pursuits!

And deep breath! Wow what a day of biathlon that was! Both overall titles going down to the last lap of the season and two huge retirements from the sport!

It started with the men’s pursuit and with it being Martin Fourcade’s final ever race it was always going to be special. The overall was on the line and Fourcade needed to win to have a chance of taking it and of course he did. Unfortunately for him if Johannes Boe finished 4th he would claim the title an he did just that!

It was a careful start for Johannes who had a 21 second lead but he took a long time on the windy range. He hit all 5 in the first prone but so did Fourcade and Jacquelin who made up a lot of time with faster shooting. At the second prone both Frenchmen again hit all the targets but Boe missed one and left them in the lead.

At the third shoot Boe missed 3 and it looked like Martin could maybe take the big globe afterall. Both he and Jacquelin missed 1 shot but had a clear lead over Boe. Arnd Peiffer meanwhile moved into 3rd place and Quentin Fillon Maillet into 4th.

At the final shoot it was Fourcade’s turn to miss 2 and Jacquelin 3! This time Boe hit all 5 and found himself in a battle with Jacquelin and Fillon Maillet for the podium. Fourcade went on to win his last race – very Fourcade! – but Boe knew he just needed to be 4th. Lucky for him there were only 2 Frenchmen ahead of him as he was tiring towards the end but won the overall in the end by just 2 points.

Fillon Maillet was second and Jacquelin third making it a French clean sweep! Arnd Peiffer was 5th and Erlend Bjoentegaard 6th. It was a fitting way for Martin Fourcade to end such an amazing career. His first win was in the Kontiolahti pursuit and so was his last, his 83rd career victory! Astonishing!

Elsewhere Anton Smolski improved his PB to 14th and Said Khalili was 25th with 20/20 for a big personal best!

Just before the start of the women’s pursuit Kaisa Makarainen announced that she would also be retiring after the race! I mean how much do they think we can take in one day!

To the race itself and it was another showdown for the overall this time between Tiril Eckhoff and Dorothea Wierer. Eckhoff started in 3rd and Wierer in 19th so the advantage was with the Norwegian. At the first shoot she missed 2 and Wierer 1 but it was Franziska Preuss who hit 5/5 to take the lead on her own. Behind her came Denise Herrmann and Lisa Vittozzi.

The second prone was a disaster in a windy range for Preuss. She missed 4 but Marketa Davidova hit all 5 to take over at the front of the race. Vittozzi moved into second place and Julia Simon up to third. Eckhoff was into 4th while Wierer was 10th.

The first stand saw Eckhoff hit 5/5 and move into the lead followed by Simon and Vittozzi. Wierer missed 2 to leave the range in 16th place.

At the final shoot Eckhoff had a lot of problems and missed 3 targets! Julia Simon cleaned as did Selina Gasparin. Vittozzi missed 1 to find herself in second place behind Simon and just in front of Gasparin. Wierer missed 1 and was on the penalty loop with Eckhoff.

She came out ahead and just had to stay with Eckhoff for the final loop to take the overall. At the front Simon was taking her first ever win and Selina Gasparin passed Vittozzi to finish second with the Italian third.

Kaisa Makarainen in her final race had moved from 18th to 4th but just couldn’t manage one last podium! Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 5th and Mona Brorsson was 6th from a start of 25th!

Emilie Kalkenberg got a PB in 15th and weirdly the Oebergs finished in 18th (Hanna) and 19th (Elvira) and the Gasparins in 37th (Aita) and 38th (Elisa)! Sisters racing together!

In the end Eckhoff came home in 10th but with Wierer was 11th so it meant the big crystal globe was Doro’s once more winning by 7 points!

That is the end of the 2019/20 biathlon season! It has been one to remember and we will need the extra long break to recover I think!……can’t wait until next season though! Roll on November!

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Nove Mesto 2020: The Mass Starts!

It was a sunny day for the mass starts in Nove Mesto for the final day of action but unfortunately that made the tracks soft and tough to ski on.

The women raced first and it was Dorothea Wierer who held the lead after the first prone shoot. She looks tired though after her heroics at World Champs and couldn’t stay at the front. She missed 1 at the second prone which let the clean shooting Tiril Eckhoff hit the front and she wouldn’t give up the lead.

She also hit 5/5 in the first stand to build a nice lead over Justine Braisaz who was making up places quickly after a miss in the prone. Hanna Oeberg was doing the same and was up to fourth after the third shoot behind Fialkova in third.

At the final shoot Eckhoff missed 1 shot but her lead was enough for it not to make a difference and she went on to win the race and her second mass start of the season. The fight was for the other two spots on the podium and Hanna Oeberg hit 5/5 to take second place. Franziska Preuss did the same to move into third.

Justine Braisaz was 4th, Dorothea Wierer 5th and Monika Hojnisz Starega 6th.

It was more points lost to her main rivals for Dorothea Wierer but she still holds on to yellow for Kontiolahti.

In the men’s race Johannes Boe set out at a very fast pace but then missed on his first prone to let his teammate Vetle Christiansen and his brother Tarjei come out of the range in first and second place.

Johannes made up all the ground before the next shoot where he again missed a shot! Christiansen cleared again to stay in the lead but now he was followed by the German pair Kuehn and Peiffer.

Johannes Boe did the same again making up time on the leaders only to miss another shot in the first stand! That left Emilien Jacquelin out front with Dominik Windisch and Peiffer.

Finally in the last shooting JT Boe hit 5/5 and left the range just 4 second behind Jacquelin who had hit 20/20! It didn’t take long for him to pass the Frenchman and take the win. It was a crazy way to win but typical Johannes I think!

Jacquelin took second and Arnd Peiffer was third after battling with Pidruchnyi and Bjoentegaard for the last podium spot. Johannes Dale was 6th.

If you are wondering what happened to Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade they finished 8th and 14th respectively after problems with the way their skis were waxed in the tricky conditions.

Fourcade still has the yellow bib for the lead in the overall but Boe is closing the gap!

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Antholz 2020: Women’s Sprint!

Day two in Antholz was women’s sprint day! It was still beautiful and sunny but our old friend Mr. Wind came out to play too and made for a crazy race!

The first big casualty was Tiril Eckhoff! She missed 6 shots out of 10 and finished 59th losing the yellow bib and just scraping into Sunday’s pursuit!

It was then the home team’s turn to suffer with Dorothea Wierer and Lisa Vittozzi both missing two targets.

Handling the wind well was Aita Gasparin who was the first woman to hit the perfect 10.

It was Norway who would eventually take the gold however with Marte Olsbu Roeiseland rising to the occasion. She hit 9/10 and her ski speed took her to the gold medal. It is her first individual gold at the World Championships having won all her other golds as part of the relay team. It was also vindication of her decision to skip the World Cup round in Annecy to concentrate on these championships which she received a lot of criticism for from the Norwegian press!

Second place went to the USA! It was Susan Dunklee who took the silver medal with the perfect shoot. She gave everything she had in the last loop as she was leading out of the range but it wasn’t enough against Roeiseland. She almost fell coming into the home straight as she was trying so hard but that just shows you what a great competitor she is. It is her second world championships silver medal after she won silver in the mass start in 2017.

The fight for the bronze medal was great. Firstly Denise Herrmann went into third despite 3 misses. She is skiing so fast here it’s unbelievable! Then she was overtaken by Olena Pidhrushna who had one miss and then moments later Lucie Charvatova passes her to claim the bronze medal!

Pidhrushna was 4th, Herrmann 5th and Lisa Vittozzi 6th. Wierer’s 7th place put her back into the yellow bib.

There was a personal best for Milena Todorova in 27th fresh from her success at the Junior World Championships and also for Slovenian teammates Lea Einfalt in 29th and Nika Vindisar in 46th. There was also a PB for Fanqi Meng in 39th shooting 10/10. The only other 10/10 was from Vita Semerenko in 11th.

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Ruhpolding 2020: The Pursuits!

Well the pursuits are supposed to be exciting aren’t they? Not if bib number one wins them both!

So it maybe wasn’t such a great race to watch in the women pursuit at the front but behind Tiril Eckhoff it was all to play for.

Miss Eckhoff had a great race missing just 1 target and with a 30 second lead at the start her lead was unassailable. It’s her 6th win this season and she has won every pursuit race so far. Could she win the Overall? If she keeps this form up of course!

Behind her it was a tight race between Hanna Oeberg and Paulina Fialkova. They both hit 18/20 and left the final standing together but Fialkova was the stronger skier today and grabbed second with Oberg third.

Johanna Skottheim was amazing in 4th hitting 19/20 and getting a new PB and her first world cup flowers. Linn Persson was 5th and Denise Herrmann went from 19th to 6th.

Vita Semerenko was the only woman to shoot the perfect score and moved from 34th to 8th.

In the men’s race it was close at the front between Martin Fourcade and Quentin Fillon Maillet who matched each other shot for shot up until the third shoot. Fillon Maillet missed one while Fourcade cleaned to take a decisive lead. He would go on to shoot 20/20 for his 81st win.

The excitement came in the race for third with Simon Desthieux, Vetle Christiansen and Benedikt Doll leaving the final shoot close together. It came down to a ski race which Christiansen won on the line just beating Desthieux.

Doll was 5th, Emilien Jacquelin 6th and Antonin Guigonnat 8th meaning there were 5 Frenchmen in the top 8!

Tarjei Boe went from 28th to 7th, Ondrej Moravec hit 20/20 to go from 30th to 18th and Lars Birkeland was the only other man to hit all 20 moving from 41st to 20th.

The World Cup now moves on to Pokljuka for Individuals, Mass Starts and the Single Mixed and Mixed Relays.

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Ruhpolding 2020: The Sprints!

How can two venues in the same country be so different?! Gales and fog in Obehof, sunny calm conditions in Ruhpolding.

It was the women’s sprint on Wednesday that started this round of the World Cup. It was totally dominated by Tiril Eckhoff. No one could touch her! She hit 10/10 and skied so fast that she finished 30 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger! I don’t know what happened to Eckhoff over the summer but it seems she has finally learned that hitting targets on a regular basis is a good thing in biathlon! She now has 5 wins this season and has moved into the yellow bib!

Second place went to Hanna Oeberg who was also on great form shooting 10/10. Dorothea Wierer was third also hitting the perfect score but it wasn’t good enough to hold on to the yellow bib.

In 4th was a fantastic Hanna Sola who from bib 76 shot clean and smashed her personal best. Her previous best result was 30th! Paulina Fialkova was 5th also hitting 10/10. Marte Roeiseland was 6th and the only one in the top six to miss 1 target.

There were more great performances from Johanna Skottheim with her personal best in 13th, Elena Kruchinkina with hers in 16th, Suvi Minkkinen got her PB in 31st as did newcomer Michela Carrara in 55th.

The men’s sprint was on Thursday and had equally good conditions. That meant that perfect shooting was again required to win and that’s exactly what the top three did today.

Coming out on top for his 80th World Cup win was Martin Fourcade. It was close between him amd teammate Quentin Fillon Maillet in second though. There was only 3.1 seconds between them at the finish. Third place went to Benedikt Doll which was the same position he finished in here last year!

Fourth place went to Vetle Christiansen who might have won today if he hadn’t missed one target! Simon Desthieux was fifth as was Fabien Claude who finished in exactly the same time both with 1 miss. It was Claude’s personal best finish.

Getting another personal best in 7th was Philipp Nawrath who stepped up from the IBU Cup.

It now means that France have the top three positions in the Overall with Fourcade, Fillon Maillet and Desthieux 1,2 and 3! Mon dieu! 😉

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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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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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Antholz 2017: Mass Start/Relay 2!

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Well that was a good finish to a fun weekend in Antholz! We had a new winner in the women’s races with Nadine Horchler and a first podium at home for Alexia Runggaldier and Martin Fourcade didn’t win a race! Surprises everywhere!

The men raced first this morning in the Mass Start and it was another cracker. They attacked it from the start with Emil Svendsen pushing the pace on the first loop. It didn’t work out too well for him though as he was the one who missed a target.

At the second prone it was Shipulin’s turn to miss which left Johannes Boe, Martin Fourcade, Lars Birkeland and Erik Lesser in the lead.

The third shoot saw Fourcade miss but Boe, Lesser and Birkeland all cleared. Behind them Beatrix, Schempp, Fillon Maillet and Svendsen were all closing back in on the leaders.

The final shoot as usual was the crucial one. Lesser missed 1 and Fourcade missed 2 which left Boe and Fillon Maillet fighting it out on the tracks for the victory with Shipulin just behind. The last person you want to ski the final loop of a race with is Martin Fourcade but the second last is Johannes Boe!

Fillon Maillet just couldn’t hang on to him in the closing stages and was denied a first victory. However Johannes more than deserved the win for his powerful skiing as well as shooting 20/20. He was the only man to shoot clean today and gave Fourcade a gentle reminder that he won’t have it all his own way in Hochfilzen.

We had 3 Frenchmen in the top six with Fourcade in 5th and Beatrix in 6th. Svendsen came back to finish 4th and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was 10th.

The Women’s Relay was not as close as the men’s race yesterday and there was no surprise who won this one. It was the German women who made it a Deutsch eins-zwei in the Relays.

They fielded a strong team of Laura Dahlmeier, Franziska Hildebrand, Maren Hammerschmidt and Vanessa Hinz and if they all perform well it’s a very hard group to beat. The French team of Chevalier, Braisaz , Bescond and Dorin Habert gave it a good try leading the first leg but from there the Germans took over and never looked back winning by 24 seconds. They did use 12 spares to France’s 8 so they are not perfect.

Third place went to Italy whose women rounded off a good weekend for the team. Vitozzi, Sanfilippo, Runggaldier and Wierer put in a great performance to move from 7th to third with 9 spares.

Finland had a great Relay too coming 8th from a start position of 16th with Toivanen, Markkanen, Laukkanen and Makarainen. The USA also did well finishing 13th after starting in bib 22 with Dunklee, Egan, Reid and Phaneuf.

So that is the end of the World Cup races for a little while. We have a short break before the World Championships in Hochfilzen on the 9th of February. Martin Fourcade will wear the yellow bib for the men and Laura Dahlemier is in yellow for the women.

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Ruhpolding 2017: The Pursuits!

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Much like a German pretzel the Pursuit races in Ruhpolding had a few twists and turns in them but ultimately ended up where they started with the person who started first finishing first! This meant double victories this weekend for Kaisa Makarainen and Martin Fourcade.

The men raced in the morning with quite heavy snowfall which did seem to affect Fourcade a bit and he missed 3 targets in total, two in the second prone and one in the first stand. However he hit all five in the final shoot which gave him a comfortable win in the end.

Emil Svendsen was his closest challenger and at one point was only half a second behind him. Svendsen shot clean but couldn’t match Fourcade on the skis and when he made his break on the track before the final shoot no one could live with him. It’s great to see Svendsen back on such good form but there is nothing he can do at the moment to stop Fourcade.

Third place was where the best action of the day came when Michal Krcmar of the Czech Republic came from 29th place all the way to third. He shot clean and managed to pass Anton Shipulin in the final straight to claim his first ever podium on the World Cup. Shipulin also had a good race moving from 24th to 4th.

German’s Arnd Peiffer and Simon Schempp treated us to an early crash on the first loop when Peiffer seemed to slip on the flat and Schempp who was skiing close behind him couldn’t avoid hitting him. They both recovered well though to finish in 5th and 7th.

Daniel Mesotitsch rolled back the years with clean shooting to finish 9th. Erlend Bjoentegaard came from 21st to 8th, Dominik Windisch went from 43rd to 11th, Simon Fourcade went from 46th to 16th and Henrik L’Abee Lund from 54th to 21st.

The women had better conditions in the afternoon with no snow and even some blue skies above. Kaisa dominated the race from the start and won in the end by a minute just missing 1 target. Gabriela Koukalova held on to second missing 2 shots and Marie Dorin Habert recovered from an early fall to grab third with 3 misses. That meant Laura Dahlmeier was pushed down to 4th with 4 missed targets which is unusual for her.

Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg had another fantastic race finishing 5th with just 1 miss to improve her personal best again. Lisa Vittozzi shot clean to move from 27th to 10th, Franziska Preuss went from 31st to 14th, Maren Hammerschmidt from 39th to 17th, Iryna Varvynets from 52nd to 20th, Baiba Bendika from 47th to 25th and Selina Gasparin from 49th to 29th.

So we now head to Antholz with Gabriela Koukalova still in the yellow bib but only by 19 points from Kaisa Makarainen in second. The women’s World cup is so close and exciting which is great because the men’s isn’t! Martin has 730 points and Simon Schmepp in second has 446!

With another packed week of racing coming up in Antholz we really have to praise all the biathletes because it tires me out writing about all the races never mind actually doing them! There are Individuals, Mass Starts and Relays in Italy and then a small rest before the World Championships. I will need it never mind the biathletes!!! 🙂

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