Tag Archives: Denise Herrmann

PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Women’s Relay!

WOW! Just when you thought the biathlon races couldn’t get any better! The Women’s Relay was incredible! So much tension with so many ups and downs!

It started with snow! Unusual for the winter, I know! The wind was the big problem however with some horrible gusts hitting the range in different directions!

The first leg was again a good one for Italy. Lisa Vittozzi had another great start just using a single spare in the prone to hand over at the first exchange in the lead. She was followed by Susan Dunklee giving the USA a great start just needing 1 spare in the stand. Paulina Fialkova redeemed herself after a horrible Mixed Relay, when she shot on the wrong target, with just 1 spare required.

The first big casualty was Germany. Franziska Preuss went on the penalty loop after struggling terribly on the standing shoot. That left the door wide open for all the other teams.

Dorothea Wierer was on the second leg for Italy but she also had a nightmare this time in the prone incurring 2 penalty loops. At the second stand mayhem ensued! The wind was awful and caused almost everyone big problems. Kuzmina, Eckhoff, Herrmann and Vita Semerenko all ended up on the penalty loop and many others lost a lot of time shooting slowly. The best shoot however came from Dorothea Wierer! She cleaned the stand and left the range in the lead. A small biathlon miracle!

Kaisa Makarainen, with 2 spares needed, caught Wierer on the tracks and exchanged in the lead for Finland. The third leg was madness too with Poland’s Krystyna Guzik coming out on top. She did a penalty loop on the prone but used 1 spare in the stand to lead after leg three! Behind there were still many nations in the mix like Belarus, Slovakia, Switzerland and France. Germany couldn’t make up any ground with Franziska Hildebrand on the penalty loop as was Norway’s Ingrid Tandrevold.

Some fantastic shooting from Nadezhda Skardino (2 spares), Iryna Kryuko (1 spare) and Dzinara Alimbekava (3 spares) had put Darya Domracheva in fourth place starting the last leg. She had Weronika Nowakowska in front of her as well as Anais Bescond and Federica Sanfilippo. Dasha cleaned the prone to take the lead while the others all needed spares.

That meant everything came down to the final shoot. With immense pressure on her Domracheva needed all three of her spares but when the last target went down the gold belonged to Belarus. Bescond came out after her but a stunning performance from Hanna Oberg hitting 10/10 left her in third.

She was able to pass the Frenchwomen to secure sliver for her teammates Linn Persson, Mona Brorsson and Anna Magnusson. The Swedes used 12 spares and the bronze medallists France with Anais Chevalier, Marie Dorin Habert, Justine Braisaz and Bescond used 14.

Norway finished 4th after a good leg from Marte Olsbu, Slovakia were fantastic in 5th and Switzerland also did really well finishing 6th.

It was a crazy race but an amazing spectacle and another great advert for biathlon. The men’s race tomorrow is the final event here in PyeongChang. Let’s hope they produce something similar!

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PyeongChang 2018: Olympic Women’s Mass Start!

Just what was Anastasiya Kuzmina thinking? The Mass Start is supposed to be a close race with the lead changing hands lots of times!!! You are not meant to lead from the start line to the finish line, especially not in the Olympics!!!

What a fantastic biathlete she is. Winning today in PyeongChang means she has won a gold medal at the last three Olympic Games. An historic achievement by the Slovakian. She also dedicated her medal to Slovakia which just shows what a great person she is too!

Like I said she led the race from start to finish. She cleaned the first three shoots to leave the others with little chance of catching her. She did miss one shot on the final stand just to cause a little bit of excitement but she won comfortably in the end by 18.8 seconds.

The race was behind Kuzmina for the silver and bronze medals. Dahlmeier uncharacteristically missed on the first prone putting her out of the race. However Domracheva, Wierer, Oberg, Herrmann and Vitkova cleaned the first 10 shots and were all still in contention for the podium.

It was Domracheva who blinked first missing her first target in the stand leaving Wierer to take second place with Vitkova and Vittozzi behind her.

At the final shoot they were joined by a fast approaching Tiril Eckhoff who cleaned along with Domracheva. Wierer, Vittozzi and Vitkova all missed a target and so left Domracheva to take the silver and Eckhoff to get the bronze. Remarkably Eckhoff also won the bronze in the Mass Start in Sochi. She likes to leave it late!

Lisa Vittozzi finished 4th, Oberg was 5th and Wierer 6th. Two women shot 20/20, Nadezhda Skardino in 7th and Monika Hojnisz in 15th.

That was the final individual race for the women who now have the Mixed Relay and the Women’s Relay left to go.

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PyeongChang 2018: The Olympic Pursuits!

The Pursuit race – when the cream rises to the top. Unless you are Laura Dahlmeier of course and already at the top! That’s right she started first and she finished first! Laura led this one most of the way with a short visit from Anastasiya Kuzmina but it was a comfortable race for the double gold medallist.

She hit 19/20 and won by a margin of 30 seconds. She has mastered the winds of PyeongChang and that’s what made the difference. Kuzmina moved up to second and just managed to stay there beating Anais Bescond over the line by 0.2 of a second. Kuzmina missed 4 while Bescond only missed 1 shot and moved from 19th to claim the bronze medal.

Marte Olsbu was 4th, Hanna Oberg was 5th and Denise Herrmann was 6th. The biggest mover of the day was Rosanna Crawford who despite missing twice went from 53rd to 19th!

In the men’s race a certain Mr. Fourcade remembered that he is supposed to win races and put the Sprint debacle behind him. It was a close race up until the third shoot when Fourcade cleaned and all his rivals missed to leave him with a clear path to the gold medal.

He shot 19/20 and won by only 12 seconds in the end but he did slow down to celebrate and do a bit of flag waving. The fight behind him was where the real race was. From the group behind Fourcade only two held their nerve to shoot clean and so it came down to a ski race between Sebastian Samuelsson and Benedikt Doll.

Doll had the lead out of the range but Samuelsson basically stalked him round and it seems he loves this course as he skis it faster than everyone else. He overtook Doll and held him off to take the silver medal at 20-years-old. The Swede shot 19/20 coming from 14th to 2nd and the German also hit 19/20 to claim bronze. I was very happy to see these guys on the podium as they have both done interviews for my blog!!!

Tarjei Boe was 4th, Simon Schempp 5th and Benjamin Weger was 6th. Tim Burke had a great race moving from 47th to 17th.

Tuesday is a day off and the Games continue on Wednesday with the Women’s Individual.

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Antholz 2018: The Mass Starts!

Can you believe the Mass Starts in Antholz on Sunday were the last World Cup races before the Winter Olympics!!! Where has this season gone?!

We had two more good races to watch before we all look towards South Korea. The women went first and conditions had changed overnight. No more lovely sun but a whole lot of snow!

The first shoot didn’t really tell us much about the race as half of the field cleared the first prone. Dorothea Wierer and Denise Herrmann were a little quicker on the range than the others and took an early lead in the second loop.

At the second shoot Wierer cleared again but Herrmann missed two. It was now Kaisa Makarainen, Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht and Valj Semerenko who took up the chase after the Italian.

Wierer cleared again at shoot three to maintain her lead. Kaisa missed 2 but Anastasiya Kuzmina had now entered the picture hitting five with Vanessa Hinz, Franziska Preuss and Semerenko following her after they had hit 15/15.

Making up ground from behind after an early penalty was Darya Domracheva. At the final stand Wierer missed 2 targets and all the others missed 1 to leave the door open for the chasers. It was Dasha who took the opportunity hitting 5/5 to lead out of the range. Kuzmina was a few seconds behind her but Dasha made a decisive break and never looked back.

It was her first win of the season and she is looking on great form for the Olympics. Could she do a double treble in the style of Usain Bolt? It’s looking possible now!

Kuzmina held on for second with Kaisa Makarainen hunting almost everyone down with her ski speed to finish third.

Marte Olsbu was 4th, Laura Dahlmeier 5th and Maren Hammerschmidt 6th.

The men’s race avoided the snowfall but still had heavy tracks to ski on. Martin Fourcade and Johannes Boe started out in front but Johannes missed 2 at the first shoot and Martin cleaned. His teammate Simon Desthieux left the range first followed by Fourcade and Anton Shipulin.

At the second shoot both Martin and Anton missed 1 target which let the clean shooting Arnd Peiffer and Emil Svendsen take over the lead. It didn’t last though as at shoot three Emil missed 2 and Arnd 3!! Of course Fourcade shot clean and raced into the lead.

By now it was Tarjei Boe who was behind Fourcade but he had a group of five chasing him for second place. The last shoot saw Martin miss a target but none of the chasers managed to clean so he was free to ski to victory.

That left Tarjei and teammate Erlend Bjoentegaard to fight it out for second. They both went on the penalty loop but it was Tarjei who was faster on the skis and took second place. Third was Bjoentegaard’s first World Cup podium and he has rediscovered his early season form.

Benedikt Doll was 4th, Johannes Kuehn was 5th which was his career best finish and Johannes Boe was 6th after missing 5 targets!

The World Cup takes a break until March for the Olympics with Kaisa Makarainen in the yellow bib just 15 points ahead of Anastasiya Kuzmina. Martin Fourcade stays in yellow for the men with a 54 points lead over Johannes Boe.

Next race is on the 10th of February! The Women’s Olympic Sprint!!!!
(That’s if you don’t count the Open European Championships, 2 Para-nordic World Cups, IBU Cup 6, Junior Cup 3 and the Junior European Championships!) 😉

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Ruhpolding 2018: The Mass Starts!

Well, well, well we got a treat on the final day in Ruhpolding. Two mass starts and two brilliant races.

The men went first and conditions were good. The first two laps were a bit pedestrian with Martin Fourcade controlling a slow pace. When Anton Shipulin tried to break and go ahead it cost him dear as he missed his first shot on the prone.

Everyone looked tired today which is no surprise condsidering the schedule. I think everyone was happy with the pace on the first two loops. At the front many biathletes hit 20/20 on the prone and so most of the field was still in contention for the win.

It was on the third loop that Martin Fourcade increased the pace a bit hoping to shake off some of the pack. That plan went well until he got to the shooting range. Johanned Boe rattled off 5 perfect shots and left before he could see Martin miss two.

That would ruin most people’s race but not for Fourcade. Boe was followed out of the range by Simon Schempp, Antonin Guigonnat, Simon Eder, Jakov Fak and Erik Lesser.

At the final shoot Johannes missed 1 target as did Schempp. Guigonnat cleared to make it 20/20 for him and left in second place behind Boe. Quentin Fillon Maillet cleared to find himself in third but Fourcade also hit 5 to come out just behind him. Fourcade fought hard on the final loop passing French teammates Maillet and Guigonnat but he couldn’t catch Johannes.

Guigonnat held on to third to take his second podium of the season thanks to being in bib 23! Fillon Maillet was 4th, Tarjei Boe was 5th and Simon Schempp was 6th. Along with Guigonnat, Michal Slesingr hit 20/20 to finish 8th and Jakov Fak did the same in 10th.

The women’s race was even better (as it usually is in fact!). Kaisa Makarainen took her first win of the season and the yellow bib from Kuzmina but she had to work really hard for it. At the first prone Kaisa missed one target. Others had a great start like Rosanna Crawford, Darya Domracheva and Dorothea Wierer who shot clean on the first two prone shoots.

At the third shoot Domracheva and Wierer missed but Crawford hit 5 to lead the race. She was followed by Kaisa and Laura Dahlmeier who both got all 5 targets. Dahlmeier, Makarainen and Domarcheva caught Crawford before the final shoot but then they all missed targets and Rosanna cleared again to take a 16 second lead. She hit all 50 targets this week over three competitions which is amazing.

However she couldn’t compete on the tracks with the top two who caught her with 800 metres to go. It was a ski race to the finish and Kaisa took it on the line winning by 0.8 of a second! In the end Crawford couldn’t hold on for the podium and she was passed by Veronika Vitkova who took third with 18/20.

Crawford was 4th to cap a fabulous World Cup round for her. Denise Hermman was 5th despite 4 misses and Domracheva was 6th. Rosanna Crawford was also the only woman in the field to hit 20/20.

Now we move to Antholz. Racing starts on Thursday for the final races before the Olympics. Kaisa Makarainen and Martin Fourcade will wear the yellow bibs.

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Ruhpolding 2018: The Relays!

Wow relays are boring without any fog, aren’t they! 😉 It’s Ruhpolding so of course Norway won the men’s relay. They have won 4 in a row here and 8 out of the last 11.

The Norwegian team, which looks like the Olympic team, of Lars Birkeland, Tarjei Boe, Emil Hegle Svendsen and Johannes Boe were always near the front for the whole race. Birkeland on the first leg was just beaten to the first exchange by Erik Lesser. Lesser shot 10/10 while Birkeland needed 1 spare.

I know what you are thinking -“Where was Belgium?” It was not their day today with Michael Roesch doing 2 penalty loops. Apparently he shoots better when he can’t see the targets!

Matej Kazar and Lowell Bailey both had great legs handing over in 3rd and 4th.

Tarjei headed out fast on the second leg, a little too fast as he needed all his spares on the prone to avoid the penalty loop. That meant Lukas Hofer overtook him as did Tomas Hasilla and Benedikt Doll. Boe made up for it on the stand and cleared while the others needed spares. Simon Eder made great progress for Austria hitting 10/10 very fast so it was Italy in first, Norway second and Austria third at the next exchange.

Svendsen was on leg three up against Windisch and Daniel Mesotisch. They all has pretty solid legs using a few spares but unfortunaley for them Martin Fourcade was on leg three for France and shot fast and clean to move France into the lead heading into the final leg. Italy were in second and Norway third. Russia were up to 4th after 10/10 from Anton Babikov.

The tables turned again with Johannes Boe on the final leg for Norway. He flew off into the distance leaving Antonin Guigonnat and Thierry Chenal for dust! He used 2 spares on the stand but took the win comfortably. Guigonnat did well staying in second for France and Anton Shipulin moved Russia into third with a good final leg using just 1 spare.

Germany finished 4th, Austria 5th and Sweden 6th. The mysterious penalty for the USA was explained as Sean Doherty cross fired on the final leg.

Kazakstan who seem to love Ruhpolding as much as Norway does moved from 19th to 11th. They got a string of personal bests in the Individual and used only 5 spares between the four guys in the relay!

The women’s relay treated us to a really close finish. This time it was the home team Germany who took the victory. After their little slip up coming second in Oberhof they moved back up to first to the delight of the crowd.

However it was Italy who got off to the best start with Lisa Vittozzi having a great first leg hitting 10/10 and handing over in first place. She was just ahead of Franziska Preuss. Many other teams were close behind with France, Switzerland, Belarus, Austria, USA, Sweden, Norway and Poland all chasing the leaders.

Denise Herrmann and Dorothea Wierer battled it out on the second leg with Wierer shooting better(10/10) and Herrmann skiing faster which meant Germany took the lead into leg three. Norway came out the best from the chasing pack with Tiril Eckhoff skiing well.

It was now time for Franziska Hildebrand and Nicole Gontier to go head to head. However after the first prone it was Sweden who came out in the lead with Anna Magnusson shooting quickly. By the stand it was Chloe Chevalier with a clean shoot who left the range first but by the exchange Selina Gasparin was in the lead! Madness! Leg three was a good one!

She had Sweden, France and Germany behind her heading to the handover. Aita Gasparin was now up against Laura Dahlmeier, Federica Sanfilippo and Hanna Oberg. The German and the Swede both needed 1 spare and left the range together after the prone with Italy, Switzerland, Norway, France and Poland all within 30 seconds of the top two.

At the final shoot Sanfilippo cleared, Oberg used 1 spare and Dahlmeier needed 2. It was a ski race from there between Italy and Germany and with just 600 metres left Dahmeier passed the Italian and snatched the win. Oberg held on for third and Sweden’s second podium finish in a row in this event.

Norway were fourth a great result for them considering they have had a terrible season so far in the women’s relay. Poland were 5th and the Czech Republic moved up to take 6th. Switzerland dropped to 8th after 1 penalty loop on the final stand and France were 9th after 2 penalty loops on the same shoot.

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Oberhof 2018: The Relays!

Normal weather service was restored in Oberhof for the Relays – fog and lots of it!

It wasn’t so bad for the women who raced first but it still caused problems for them on the range. This one was a tale of the penalty loop with with lots of unexpected people on it!

The first to suffer was Vanessa Hinz for Germany. She had a torrid first leg using all her spares in the prone and going on the penatly loop in the stand. It looked like Germany’s hopes were gone. Italy and France took advantage with Liza Vittozzi shooting clear and Anais Bescond with 1 spare only required.

On the second leg it was France’s turn to go on the penalty loop with Anais Chevalier doing a penalty loop after the prone. Dorothea Wierer kept Italy in the lead only using 2 spares in the stand.

Behind her Denise Herrmann had a fantastic leg. She made up about 10 places just using 2 spares in the prone shoot. Kaisa Makarainen was even better with 1 spare putting Finland into third place.

Remarkably on the third leg Franziska Preuss put Germany back into the lead shooting 10/10. It was France who led over the line though with a fine performance from Celia Aymonier skiing especially well. Nicole Gontier who started the leg at the front did 2 penalty loops dropping Italy back down the standings.

Russia were coming into the race with a great leg from Tatiana Akimova shooting 10/10 and Sweden were in there too with great shooting on all three legs from Linn Persson, Anna Magnussen and Elisabeth Hoeberg.

The final leg came down to a race between Justine Braisaz and Maren Hammerschmidt for the win. Braisaz shot steadily and although she needed 4 spares she didn’t go on the penatly loop. Hammerschmidt did as she missed on the stand and Braisaz had an easy ski to victory. Laura Toivanen of Finland and Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht suffered the same fate which left the way clear for Mona Brorsson who with 3 spares brought Sweden home in third for a magnificent podium!

It’s ironic that Germany’s dominance in the Women’s Relay was ended in Germany but they still managed second without Hildebrand and Dahlmeier in the team. Russia were 4th, Ukraine 5th and Italy 6th.

The men’s relay is difficult to describe as you couldn’t see it!!! Thick fog descended and the guys had a lot of trouble on the range just to see the targets nevermind hit them. It made for a fun race though!

It was again the Belgian team who impressed over the first two legs just like in Hochfilzen. Michael Roesch and Florent Claude both led their legs with Roesch using 1 spare and Claude 2. Alexey Volkov was amazing with 1 spare for Russia putting them up front. Martin Ponsiluoma also had a great start for Swedn with 2 spares used.

Italy went on the penalty loop early with Tomas Bormolini as did Germany’s Roman Rees and France’s Emilien Jacquelin.

Lukas Hofer had a strong second leg for Italy and left Dominik Windisch to put Italy into the lead after three legs. Windisch shot clean while many others did a penalty loop or in the case of Johannes Kuehn 9!!! Jesper Nelin was steady for Sweden keeping them near the front.

Behind Windisch was Sebastian Samuelsson who left Freddie Lindstrom to chase Thierry Chanal for the win. They both shot clean in the prone and the Italian had a 30 second lead. However in the stand he had to take a penalty loop when Lindstrom needed just 1 spare and he won the race comfortably in the end.

It was a brilliant win for the Swedes in horrible conditions. The Italians held on to second and out of the fog appeared Tarjei Boe to put Norway on the podium. They did 3 penalty loops earlier on but Boe brought them back with a good leg while others moved backwards.

Russia were 4th, France 5th and Germany came back to 6th. We were also treated to the Thuringian dumpling song by Michael Roesch at the end of the race to make up for not being able to see it!!!

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