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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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Oberhof 2017: The Mass Starts!

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Just like a plate of Thüringer Klöße (potato dumplings) or Thüringer Rostbratwurst we were treated to a very tasty final day in Oberhof! The Mass Starts are generally great to watch and these were no exception. It also gave the home fans a lot to cheer about.

The men raced first and thankfully the foggy conditions were not bad enough to have an effect on the race. The first part of the race was very close with most of the top biathletes hitting 10/10 in the prone position. It was in the first standing shoot were we saw most of the action with only Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Erik Lesser shooting clear to leave them in the lead.

Surprisingly Martin Fourcade missed 2 shots and Simon Schemmp missed 1 to leave them in a chasing group along with Jean Guillaume Beatrix and Emil Svendsen. Fourcade put it a great lap on the skis to catch up however and the tables were turned on the final shoot. This time Lesser and Bjoerndalen both missed 1 shot while Fourcade, Schempp and Beatrix shot clean. So there was a group of five heading into the fianl lap and Fouracde tried to break them on the first uphill.

His plan didn’t work however as Schempp kept pace with him all the way and with one less penalty loop in his legs looked the fresher of the two. He overtook Fourcade in the finishing straight to grab the victory in front of his home fans and Erik Lesser made up a lot of ground in the final kilometre to ski past Beatrix and then beat Fourcade on the line in a sprint finish. They were awarded the same time but Lesser will be pleased he didn’t cut his toenails as that’s the distance he took second by! Fourcade doesn’t have much luck in sprint finishes but possibly because he usually wins by a big margin and doesn’t get to practice them much! 😉

Beatrix was 4th after a good race although he tired at the end trying to keep pace with Fourcade. Ole Einar came home 5th ahead of another German in 6th Benedikt Doll.

The women’s race was less exciting but with some high quality performances especially from the eventual winner Gabriela Koukalova. She shot the perfect score 20/20 to win the race by more than 30 seconds. Laura Dahlmeier returned to racing after missing the sprint and pursuit and took second which was the best result she could hope for after missing 1 target. Third place went to Eva Puskarcikova who followed her teammate Koukalova by hitting all 20 targets. Kaisa Makarianen missed 4 targets on the first prone shoot and 7 in total but still finished 8th.

Marie Dorin Habert also missed 7 targets and was 14th. Susan Dunklee had a good race finishing 9th and Rosanna Crawford was 25th meaning she had 3 Top 25 results in Oberhof after a difficult start to the season. Chardine Sloof proved her Sprint result was no fluke by finishing 15th which means she was in the Top 15 in all three races.

These results mean a change at the top of the standings in the women’s overall. With Dahlmeier missing 2 races and Koukalova grabbing 174 points in the three races it means she is now at the top and takes the yellow bib to Ruhpolding. Makarainen is third and Dorin Habert 4th but there are only 53 points separating the top 4! Very exciting! Martin Fourcade still holds a comfortable lead in the men’s overall but he only won one of the three races here in Oberhof! He is rubbish! 😉

Take a little rest while you can as World Cup 5 starts in Ruhpolding on Wednesday with the Men’s Relay!!!

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Nove Mesto 2016: The Mass Starts!

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Well that was an amazing end to a fantastic few days in Nove Mesto. Gabriela Koukalova winning the Mass Start in front of her home crowd was great! She couldn’t have thought of a better way to say thank you to all the super Czech fans who turned out in huge numbers to support their team.

The Mass Start races can only be described in the form of a palachinky (Czech style filled crepe). The men’s race was the savoury version- tasty but not quite satisfying , the women’s was the sweet version filled with strawberries and covered in cream – absolutely delicious!

Martin Fourcade won again! Missed 1 prone target, won by over 8 seconds, has 56 wins and 101 podium finishes, is 158 points ahead in the Total Score. Nothing else to say.

Second place went to Simon Schempp who out skied Anton Babikov who was third. Jean Guillaume Beatrix probably should have finished on the podium but in the last shoot he apparently though he had missed a target but he hadn’t and so did an unnecessary penalty loop. He was in bib23 so this blog is not pleased with Jean-Gui!!!

Further back Johannes Boe had a fall when he was fighting to reach the podium on the final loop finishing 9th. Ondrej Moravec fixed his rifle that he broke in a fall in the Pursuit and came home in 4th.

The Women’s race was great to watch and Gabriela Koukalova was outstanding. With huge pressure on her from both the other biathletes and the noisy crowd she held her nerve on the shooting range only missing 1 target to claim victory. It wasn’t easy however as Laura Dahlmeier came storming back after 2 misses on her first prone shoot. If the race had been a bit longer she might have won. Saying that only a fool would have overtaken Gabi in Nove Mesto. They wouldn’t have left the stadium alive if they had! In third was Dorothea Wierer who thawed out her trigger finger overnight. She missed 1 but couldn’t match the ski speed of the first two. Vanessa Hinz was very impressive in 4th (I am sure wearing bib23 helped!)

All in all it has been a great World Cup round with good racing and great crowds. The IBU need to make Nove Mesto Na Morave a permanent stop on the World Cup!

It has all gone too fast though, don’t you think?! Three World Cups are finished already! Fourcade continues in yellow as does Dahlmeier who has a 98 point lead over Kaisa Makarainen.

The next round starts in Oberhof on the 5th of January. Don’t forget to look out for a treat from Biathlon23 between Christmas and New Year. Hope you all have a great time over the holidays! I know Martin Fourcade definitely will!

Big thanks to Czech Biathlon Fan @BiathlonFanCZ, Jonas Oškinis and Jára Vykoukles Doležal for the Czech cuisine assistance!

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Oestersund 2016: The Pursuits!

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Like a spoonful of Lingonberry jam the end of the weekend was surprisingly good! We ended a great start to the World Cup season in Oestersund with the Pursuit races and they didn’t disappoint.

First off was the women’s race with Marie Dorin Habert staring first. That only lasted until the first shoot however when she missed 2 shots and blew her chances of winning. Circling like sharks behind her were Makarainen, Koukalova and Dahlmeier. Only Laura and Gabi shot clear however and the win from then was between those two.

In the end it was the cool head of Koukalova who kept it together on the range. She missed only 1 target on the third shoot but never lost the lead. Surprisingly Dahlmeier missed two targets and so couldn’t fight for the win. She did have to fight for second though as Dorothea Wierer came from 19th place shooting the perfect 20/20 to finish third. They left the final shoot together but Dalmeier managed to pull away on the final lap. Makarainen came home in 5th missing 4 shots in total and Dorin Habert was 7th missing 6 targets after shooting so well in the Sprint the day before.

In fourth place was Switzerland’s Lena Haecki who had an outstanding race. She shot 20/20 and moved from 12th to 4th to get her personal best result on the World Cup.

Other great gains were made by Yuliia Dzhima who went from 21st to 9th, Veronika Vitkova from 35th to 18th, Anastasia Zagoruiko from 43rd to 29th and Clare Egan from 44th to 30th.

Unexpectedly the men’s race was even better. Thanks to Martin Fourcade missing 4 shots we got a new winner. The beneficiary was Russian’s Anton Babikov who got his first ever World Cup victory coming from 7th and missing just 1 shot. His teammate Maxim Tsvetkov moved from 11th into second with a perfect shoot. Fourcade still came third despite his misses.

Anton Shipulin made it 3 Russians in the top 10 finishing 8th and Simon Schempp finally turned up getting 9th place. Michal Krcmar had a fantastic racing starting in 38th he finished 7th, and Johannes Boe went from 30th to 10th. Jean Guillaume Beatrix went from 23rd to 11th, Henrik L’Abee Lund from 58th to 19th, Evgeniy Garanichev from 49th to 30th and Roman Rees from 57th to 36th.

So the first World Cup round in Oestersund is over already! Too quick! We move to Pokljuka next week with Martin Fourcade and Laura Dahlmeier in the yellow bibs leading the overall title race.

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