Tag Archives: Didier Bionaz

Antholz 2021: Men’s Individual!

There was an unusual sight today in Antholz -FOG! It is more customary in Oberhof of course but as there wasn’t much there this season some was allocated to Antholz!

It was the men’s turn to race in the individual and the win went to someone who managed to shoot 20/20. Not an easy feat in the longest race being held at the highest altitude. It was Alexander Loginov who conquered the course and he must like Antholz as his last win came here in the World Championship sprint.

He finished 58 seconds ahead of second place which went to Sturla Laegreid. He missed two shots but after winning the first individual of the season and coming second here he is well on his way to winning his first crystal globe.

First and second were pretty clear cut but third place was a titanic battle which unfortunately left two people with a sinking feeling. Lukas Hofer found himself in third after hitting 18/20 but then Quentin Fillon Maillet hit the same score and just snatched third place by 0.1 of a second! Incredibly close over 20km!

It wasn’t over yet! With bib 77 Anton Dudchenko hit 20/20 and was on course to challenge for the podium. Despite his best efforts he fell just short by 0.3 of a second. He would finish fifth but it was a personal best for him and his first chance to attend a flower ceremony. Hofer was 4th and being knocked off his home podium by so little must have been hard to take but he is holding on to his good shape from Oberhof.

Martin Ponsiluoma was 6th with 18/20. Only two other men were able to hit the perfect twenty and they were David Komatz in 12th and Kosuke Ozaki who got a big PB in 24th.

There were also personal bests for home biathlete Didier Bionaz in 13th (19/20), Alex Cisar in 36th (18/20), Milan Zemlicka in 39th (19/20), Adam Runnalls in 41st (17/20) and Raul Flore in 42nd (19/20).

Making his World Cup debut in an individual race (not a relay) was Pjotr Dielen who finished 96th and Ilia Gavrilov who was 91st.

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HOCHFILZEN 2020 #2: The Pursuits!

Saturday was pursuit day in Hochfilzen and we were treated to two crackers right before Christmas!

The men raced first and Sturla Laegreid led from the front to win his second race in a row. He only missed 1 shot in the first standing but he already had a good lead and after cleaning the final shoot he was home and dry taking his third win of the season.

All the action came behind Laegreid. His teammate Johannes Dale was with him right up until shoot 3 where he missed 3 and put himself out of contention for the win.

Johannes Boe continued with his prone shooting issues missing 2 on the first shoot which left him playing catch up. Charging through the field with impeccable shooting were the ‘Prince of the Pursuit’ Emilien Jacquelin, Martin Ponsiluoma and Vetle Christiansen.

All three men hit 20/20 today and after the final stand it came down to a four way race between them and Johannes Boe for the final two podium spots.

Jacquelin and Ponsiluoma had a small lead out of the range but were quickly caught by the two Norwegians. However it was Jacquelin and Boe who were stronger and broke away from the other two.

On the final big climb (Landertinger hill!) it was Jacquelin who pushed hard and was able to gain an advantage over Boe which he wasn’t able to catch. The Frenchman took second and Boe third. Maybe if Boe hadn’t done 3 penalty loops he may have had some extra energy on the last lap but good shooting paid off today for Jacquelin.

Christiansen passed Ponsilouma for 4th and Johannes Dale hung on for 6th despite 4 misses.

It was also a good day for Didier Bionaz who moved from 40th to 19th for a big personal best. Antonin Guigonnat hit 20 to go from 43rd to 16th, Eric Lesser moved from 46th to 20th and Dominik Windisch from 58th to 27th.

The women’s pursuit was quite similar. Tiril Eckoff started first, led the whole way, missed just 1 shot and won the race by over 20 seconds. It was behind her were all the excitement lay.

After the first shoot Eckhoff was followed by Preuss and Tandrevold. However after the second shoot she was chased by Hanna Oberg. After the third shoot it was Wierer who was her closest challenger and by the final shoot it was again Oberg in second place!

The shooting was the big factor in this race with no one hitting all 20 targets despite the great conditions. With first and second place decided it was a big fight for third with Elvira Oberg, Ingrid Tandrevold and Dorothea Wierer fighting for the final podium spot.

Wierer attempted to pass the other two but unfortunately tried to squeeze through a gap that wasn’t really there and fell costing her the chance of a podium. Tandrevold pushed hard and was leading all the way until the final few metres where she was just beaten across the line by Oberg who joined her big sister on the podium.

Hanna, Elvira and Ingrid all hit 18/20, Wierer hit 19/20 for 5th and Franziska Preuss also hit 18/20 in 6th.

Julia Simon went from 49th to 14th, Julia Schwaiger from 52nd to 24th and there was a personal best for Suvi Minkkinen who went from 44th to 25th.

Sunday will see the first mass starts of the season where the top 30 go head to head! Merry ChristMASS starts!

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HOCHFILZEN 2020 #2: The Men’s Sprint!

Welcome back to Hochfilzen for the Norwegian National Championships! Not really but you would be forgiven for thinking that after today’s result!

It is in fact World Cup round 3 and it was a beautiful, sunny day in Austria, great conditions for biathlon.

It was Sturla Laegreid who came out on top today. It was his second win of the season, the only man to have done that so far, and well deserved. He kept his cool on the range hitting 10/10 and skied really well to take the victory by 8 seconds.

He was followed by Johannes Dale in second with his third podium in a row also hitting 10/10. Next came Johannes Boe who despite 2 misses in the prone still finished third making it a Norway 1-2-3.

But wait! They weren’t finished yet! Vetle Christiansen was 4th with 9/10 and gave the top four spots to Norway. They had amazing skis today which is credit to their wax team who obviously know the Hochfilzen conditions very well. Tarjei Boe was 14th and Aleksander Andersen (replacing the injured Bjoentegaard) was 24th so the whole team did a great job.

Sebastian Samuelsson continued his good form hitting 10/10 for 5th but was 45 seconds behind Laegreid with the same shooting score! Dmytro Pidruchnyi was 6th also with 10/10 getting his best result so far this season.

Birthday boy Anton Dudchenko hit all 10 getting his personal best of 20th. A nice present to himself! Didier Bionaz got his first World Cup point with his PB in 40th. Milan Zemlicka made his debut at this level and finished 55th qualifying for Saturday’s pursuit.

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KONTIOLAHTI #1 : The Individuals!

Welcome back everyone – the 2020/21 biathlon season has begun! We all know by now it is going to be a different one as we have already had positive covid tests, people not getting tests done in time to race and possibly a testing error before the first race! While it might be strange times off the track on it we have already had some top performances!

The Individuals got us underway here in Finland and it was nice of the IBU to give the biathletes the toughest race first up! It’s like starting school with an exam!

The men raced first and gave us a brand new winner. Sturla Holm Laegreid took his debut win on the World Cup with some outstanding shooting hitting 20/20. To be fair he doesn’t miss much on the range having missed just one target in his 5 World Cup starts so far. We saw his potential at the end of last season but I don’t think many people expected him to win quite so quickly.

Second place went to Johannes Boe who missed 1 shot. It’s like the summer never happened he is bang on form already. Third place went to Erik Lesser also hitting 19/20 getting his first podium in a while.

Quentin Fillon Maillet was 4th with 19/20, Ondrej Moravec hit 20 for 5th and Sebastian Samuelsson was 6th with 19 hits.

Canada’s Christian Gow was the only other man to hit the perfect 20 finishing 18th. There were personal bests for home racer Tuomas Harjula in 14th, Vytautas Strolia the birthday boy in 16th, Harry Lemmerer in 31st, Didier Bionaz in 42nd and Bogdan Tsymbal in 47th. It was aslo good to see two young Swiss racers take PB’s with debutant Niklas Harweg in 54th and Sebastian Stalder in 60th. Rudis Balodis also did well on his debut for Latvia finishing in 58th.

The women’s race was ridiculous – as usual! 15km, 4 shoots and it was won by 0.8 of a second. Dorothea Wierer took the victory with excellent shooting – 20/20 and a little help from bib23! She just scraped past Denise Herrmann who had one miss in the first prone. Third place went to Johanna Skottheim who had the perfect shoot and took her first ever podium.

Elvira Oberg was 4th with 19/20 getting her personal best, Linn Persson hit all the targets in 5th and Anais Bescond was 6th with one miss. The Swedish team had Hanna Oberg in 7th and Mona Brorsson in 11th too. Watch out for them in next week’s relay!

Anais Chevalier-Bouchet was 9th on her return to the sport after having a baby. There were more personal bests elsewhere in the field for Dzinara Alimbekava in 8th, Ida Lien in 30th and Irina Kazakevich in 54th.

It was not such a good day for the Norwegian women with Tiril Eckhoff missing 7 to finish in 67th and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland in 24th missing 4 shots.

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Kontiolahti 2020: The Sprints!

We are living in crazy biathlon times! Last week we had no spectators in Nove Mesto and now the season has been cut short due to corona virus.

We were supposed to have a crowd here in Kontiolahti but then the Finnish government recommended not to hold public gatherings over 500 people just a few hours before the race so they were not let in. Then we discovered half way through the race that Oslo was cancelled and that this would be the final World Cup of the season. It’s a shame but not much you can do!

The poor US biathlon team had to make a mad dash to the airport to catch flights home before they were suspended by the US government so they could not race here.

So on to the racing. It was Johannes Boe who was again victorious in the men’s sprint. He hit 10/10 and out skied the field by 21 seconds to put himself in pole position to win the overall title. Martin Fourcade also hit 10/10 and put in a fearsome final lap to take second. Well Emilien Jacquelin said he stole it but that’s because he beat him into third place by just over a second.

Jacquelin also shot clean as did 13 out of the top 15!!! Vetle Christiansen finished 4th, Tarjei Boe was 5th and Benedikt Doll was 6th. He was one of those who hit 9/10!

Sturla Laegreid continued his rise with 10th place and another new PB. Said Khalili moved his from 44th to 42nd and Didier Bionaz smashed his from 72nd last week to 48th this week!

In the women’s race the conditions were much more difficult with wind and snow! It didn’t stop Denise Herrmann though! She took her second sprint win in a row with 9/10. Second place went to her teammate Franziska Preuss who also hit 9/10 and is on great form late in the season.

Third place went to Tiril Eckhoff who despite missing 2 shots skied like a demon on the final lap to reach the podium. It was crucial for her hopes in the overall especially as Dorothea Wierer could only finish in 19th place missing 3 targets.

Lisa Vittozzi was 4th with 9/10, Marketa Davidova was 5th also with 9/10 and Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 6th with a perfect shoot.

Chloe Chevalier got her PB in 8th hitting 9/10 and Susanna Meinen got her career best in 31st.

Saturday will see the final races of the season after Sunday’s relays were also cancelled. It will be a showdown in both the men’s and women’s pursuits to decide the overall titles. Wierer and Eckhoff go head to head and so will Johannes Boe and Martin Fourcade. It will be Fourcade’s final race as he has announced his retirement from the sport.

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