Tag Archives: Dorothea Wierer

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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Oberhof 2020: The Mass Starts!

It was very windy in Oberhof for the Mass Starts on Sunday which is good if you are watching biathlon but not if you are doing it! Let’s just say the penalty loop was a busy place!

The women raced first and Tiril Eckhoff took an early lead after some impressive shooting in the prone. It wasn’t so impressive in the first standing however when she missed three! That left Iryna Kryuko and Kaisa Makarainen in the lead.

Trying to keep pace with Kaisa was difficult for Kryuko and the wind was very difficult in the range for the final shoot. Makarainen was unbelieveable however waiting and waiting and then hitting 5/5! She went on to win the race which is her first victory since Hochfilzen last year. It was her birthday yesterday so it was a nice present!

Kryuko didn’t do as well missing 4 targets. That gave Eckhoff the chance to get back on the podium and also her teammate Marte Roeiseland despite both missing 1 target on the final stand. They had to race each other on the tracks on the final loop but it was Eckhoff who proved stronger taking second place with Roeiseland settling for third.

Dorothea Wierer was 4th with 4 misses, Denise Herrmann 5th with 6 misses and Hanna Oberg was 6th with 5 misses. It just shows how good Kaisa was today as she hit 19/20.

The men raced in the afternoon and in the first prone many of the top names cleaned 5/5 like Fourcade and Tarjei Boe. At the second prone however nearly everyone missed except Arnd Peiffer who went into the lead on his own.

Unfortunately for him he missed 2 in the first stand and lost the lead to the two Frenchmen Fourcade and Desthieux who were neck and neck leaving the range.

It all came down to shoot 4 and despite missing 1 target Martin Fourcade came out in the lead. Mainly because nearly everyone else missed too! He had a comfortable ski to the line to take his 79th win on the World Cup and the yellow bib.

It wasn’t a comfortable ski for Desthieux though. He was second leaving the range but was caught and passed by Arnd Peiffer in the final straight before the finish line. He did look very tired though so did well to get third place.

Johannes Dale was 4th with 4 misses and Jakov Fak was 5th with 3 misses. A special “toot toot beep beep” goes to Philipp Horn for getting his personal best in front of his home fans in 6th place!

We are back racing on Wednesday in Ruhpolding with the Women’s Sprint.

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Oberhof 2020: The Sprints!

It was a beautiful sunny day that greeted the biathletes for the first race of the season! Of course it wasn’t!!! It’s Oberhof! It was foggy and damp! Just the way it’s supposed to be!

The women started off 2020 with the sprint and the Norwegians continued their domination of the World Cup so far. However this time it was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who won. She shot the perfect 10/10 in difficult conditions on the range and skied very well to win by 33 seconds.

Denise Herrmann finally gave the German women’s team something to cheer about and pleased the home crowd by finishing second. She missed one shot in the stand. Third place went to Julia Simon who missed one in the prone but skied well to finish on the podium ahead of Dorothea Wierer who also missed 1.

Tiril Eckhoff was 5th with 2 misses and Paulina Fialkova was 6th with 1 miss.

Canada’s Emma Lunder got a new personal best in 7th shooting clean.

There were also a number of debuts with her teammate Emily Dickson who was 46th, Austria’s Tamara Steiner 71st, Italy’s Michaela Carrara 76th, Czech Tereza Vobornkova 84th and American Hallie Grossman 80th.

The men’s sprint on Friday had less fog but heavy rain overnight destroyed the tracks and left just the 2.5km loop available for the race. That meant the men had to ski 2.5 km, shoot prone, ski 5km and then shoot stand and then ski the final 2.5km. The man who coped best with this was Martin Fourcade. He hit 10/10 and skied well to take his second win of the season. With Johannes Boe at home awaiting the birth of his first child they were valuable points for the Frenchman.

Second place also went to France with Emilien Jacquelin getting his third podium of the season. He missed 1 shot but if he had hit 10 he would have been very close to the win. Third place went to Johannes Kuehn who also missed 1 target.

Matvey Eliseev was 4th with perfect shooting, Alexander Loginov was 5th and Simon Desthieux 6th both missing 1.

There were personal bests for Raman Yaliotnau in 14th and Vytautas Strolia in 20th. There were also a couple of crashes for Simon Bartko and Kalev Ermits but both were unhurt.

Tarjei Boe managed to forget his penalty loop and had to ski back up the hill to take it! OOPS!

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Oestersund 2019: The Individuals!

Mon Dieu, Zut alors, tres bien, restaurant and other French words!!! What a race in the Oestersund Individual for the French Men’s team! They took the top four places in one race which hasn’t been done since 2009.

Leading them was Martin Fourcade who took his first win of the season shooting 19/20. He looks in much better shape than last year thank goodness! Second place went to Simon Desthieux who also shot 19/20 but was 12.7 seconds behind Fourcade. Skiing like the wind in third was Quentin Fillon Maillet who missed 3 targets!

Fourth went to Emilien Jacquelin which is also his personal best with 2 misses. In fact 5 of the the top 7 were French with Fabien Claude coming home in 7th place with 18/20. We won’t mention the 6th member of the team though! We will mention the wax team however who prepared some excellent skis which worked really well in warming conditions.

Benjamin Weger had an excellent race in 5th and Tarjei Boe was 6th. Johannes Boe looked tired today but still finished 10th shooting 18/20. I hope he hasn’t got what Martin had last season!

There were only two men who shot clean and they were Anton Babikov in 14th and Krasimir Anev in 15th. China’s Fangmeng Cheng got a huge personal best in 22nd improving by around 60 places!!! I wonder if it has anything to do with his new coach! 😉

Jakub Stvrtecky was 32nd getting a personal best with 3 misses. Junior Champion Alex Cisar from Slovenia made his World Cup debut at 19 years old and was 92nd.

Unluckily for me I used up all my french words for the men but I should have saved some as the Women’s Individual also went to France. Justine Braisaz who had an awful sprint race on Sunday was fantastic missing 2 shots but still winning by just over 11 seconds. She came from nowhere to take her second World Cup win.

The only woman in the whole field to shoot 20/20 was Yuliia Dzhima and it was good enough for second place. Julia Simon got another podium for France and a personal best for herself in third with 2 misses.

Ingrid Tandrevold was 4th, Larisa Kuklina 5th with her personal best and Lena Haecki was 6th despite 3 misses.

Dorothea Wierer finished 7th, two places ahead of teammate and rival Lisa Vittozzi who was 9th.

There were also personal bests for Tamara Voronina in 14th, Grete Gaim in 27th and Anastassiya Kondratyeva in 34th.

Next races in Oestersund are the men’s relay on Saturday and the women’s relay on Sunday. Man the Swedes must really love a relay as they are getting 4 this week! 🙂


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Season Preview 2019/20: The Women!

The women’s World Cup is the best, isn’t it?! Year after year it has been producing the best racing and the closest title fights of any sport around. The last two seasons have both gone down to the final races and this season could well be the same.

Maybe the fact that it is so tough is why our ladies keep retiring! This year we will be without Anastasiya Kuzmina and Laura Dahlmeier who leave a big gap in the field. Luckily there are plenty of people to fill it!

Last year it was Dorothea Wierer who came out on top of an epic battle with fellow Italian Liza Vittozzi. Vittozzi faded at the end of last season but that experience will have made her stronger and more dangerous this time around. This season seems to be on course for another Italian head to head but for one thing – the World Championships! They are being held in Antholz and of course both women would dearly love to do well there. It could take their focus off the big crystal globe and on to home gold medals.

Looking to take advantage of this will be Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. Since adding a new surname she has gone from strength to strength having the best season of her career last year. She finished in fourth place but only 69 points behind the winner.

Hanna Oberg and Paulina Fialkova were fifth and sixth and will also be hoping to move up the ranking although they lack the consistency of the Italians for now. A good season for Fialkova would be taking her first World Cup win.

Obviously we have to mention Kaisa Makarainen. A three time champion she has the experience and the skiing ability to win the overall once more but she wasn’t at her best last season finishing seventh. Denise Herrmann is the surprise package. We knew she could ski fast but she has picked up the shooting very quickly and is a fierce competitor. Whether she can put it together over the course of an entire season remains to be seen.

There is a lot of talent in the women’s side just now so here are some biathletes to look out for as potential first time race winners or podium finishers.

Ingrid Tandrevold got two second places last season including a silver medal at the World Championships so could this be the year she makes it into first place? Monika Hojnisz’s best finish is a second place and she also came 4th twice so could she improve to get her first taste of victory? She married in the summer and is now Monika Hojnisz-Starega so maybe she can emulate Marte Olsbu by having extra surname success! Clare Egan had the season of her life last year getting her first podium finish in the Mass Start in Oslo and three top ten finishes in total. Hopefully she can make it to the top of the podium this year.

Looking to get on any step of the podium this season will be Mona Brorsson. She was so close to winning a gold medal in Oestersund at the World Championships and hopefully she now knows it is possible if she executes a race perfectly. Celia Aymonier was close to a first podium last season coming 4th in the Oslo Sprint. She has a home World Cup in Annecy to look forward too and it would be a great place to break into the top three. Lena Haecki achieved two fifth place finished last season so she is not far from claiming a podium either.

However as we know with the Women’s World Cup anything could happen and anyone could win or get a podium! That’s why it is so exciting.

The ladies start the season on the 1st of December with the Sprint race in Oestersund. The World Cup opens on the 30th of November with the single and mixed relays.

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Nicole Gontier: The Interview!

Nicole Gontier is an Italian biathlete from the Aosta Valley. The 27-year-old made her World Cup debut in 2012 and achieved her personal best result in 2015 when she finished third in the Oberhof Sprint. She has 2 bronze medals from the World Championships in 2013 and 2015 as a member of the Women’s relay team. She has represented Italy twice at the Olympics in Sochi and PyeongChang.

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Why did you become a biathlete?

I started to do biathlon thanks to my father and my grandfather who were in charge of the Aosta valley biathlon and also thanks to the atmosphere and training of the coaches of Aosta valley biathlon.

How do you assess last season? What were you happy with? Was there anything that disappointed you?

Last season I was happy about my shape on skis, I had good feelings but I have to improve my shooting on the range.

The World Championships are in Antholz! How excited are you about that?

I’m really happy that the World Championships will be in Antholz. I really like there and I hope that it will be sunny and it will be perfect. The Italian ambience is the best.

The Italian women have a really strong team at the moment. What are your expectations for the World Championships in particular the women’s relay?

Yes the Italian women are really strong but for the moment I expect nothing. I prefer to concentrate on training and then I will see my shape with the first races!

What have you been doing for summer training?

In summer we train on the shooting range and with the roller ski,running,hiking and with the bike.

What are your goals for this season on the World Cup?

Like I said before I don’t have any goals. My goal is to improve myself and I work for this, then I will see in winter where I am.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strength is that my head is really hard to break so I continue to work hard also in the worst moments because I love what I do. My weakness is that I don’t really trust in me! I will have to trust more in my abilities.

What are your hobbies?

I like to read, to study, to knit and to stay with my dog! The best is to stay on the sofa with him watching the TV. I like to travel in Italy and to discover new little places and eat the special dish and drink the local wine.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

I really like Antholz, it is a hard track but I had good feelings with it.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

I really respect Martin Fourcade, he always has the situation under control and he does what he wants. I like so much Doro(Wierer) and Lisa (Vittozzi)! They are really strong.

Does your rifle have a name?

Ahah.. no for the moment no, we have a relationship of love and hate.

Describe yourself in three words.

Smiling,stubborn,sweet.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): French
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Lukas Hofer – last year’s rifle
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy’s suits of last year’s Championship
Lucky bib number: Mmm… I don’t have one.
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Sarah Beaudry
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Simon Fourcade (but he stopped).
Best thing about being a biathlete: We never get bored!

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Spring Things 2019!

It’s summer! Not a biathlon fans favourite season is it? But it means there is only autumn between now and winter! Before the biathlon23 summer season of interviews starts it’s time to remind you what things happened in spring. That’s right -it’s Spring Things!!!

Retirements:

Well we all got a shock in May when Laura Dahlmeier announced her retirement at the age of 25! (How dare she!!) It was pretty well known that she wouldn’t be a Bjoerndalen and carry on forever but we thought we could get another Olympics out of her at least! Gabriela Koukalova who hasn’t raced for 2 seasons confirmed that she won’t be coming back and so is another biathlon pensioner!

Other retirements in spring included Henrik L’Abee Lund who joins Bjoerndalen and Svendsen in putting his feet up on the Norwegian sofa. Canada’s Erin Yungblut also ended her career as did Finland’s Laura Toivanen.

Relationships:

It was a spring of weddings this year with Eva Puskarcikova tying the knot. Russian pair Nikita Porshnev and Anastasiia Morozova also got married to each other. Monika Hojnisz married another Polish nordic star cross-country skier Maciej Starega.

Anais Chevalier will miss the season after she announced that she is pregnant with her first child. Congratulations to all of them!

In tragic news young Russian biathlete Artemii Khasankaev passed away.

Coaching carousel:

As usual we had the annual swapping of biathlon coaches. Sometimes I think they just put all the names in a hat and then the countries pick them out like a raffle!

Michael Greis left the US men’s team and is now coaching the Polish women’s team after Nadiya Bilova stepped down for health reasons. Norwegian Vegard Bitnes takes over the US men’s team.

Also in North America Mathias Ahrens is no longer coaching the Canadian national team but will coach for Biathlon Alberta.

Wolfgang Pichler retired from Sweden and was replaced by Anders Byström who will be the National Team Manager and Johannes Lukas who takes over the position of National Team Coach.

Russia have added another coach with the appointment of Maxim Maksimov as assistant to the head coach.

Simon Fourcade is the new coach of the French Junior team.

And if you have followed all that you deserve a medal! Not an Olympic one of course maybe just a bronze from a World Cup round! 😉

Injuries:

The bike strikes again this time with Erik Lesser falling off and breaking his collarbone. Vetle Christiansen had surgery to correct an issue with his left knee. Anna Magnusson also had an operation on a ligament in her left hand. Tiril Eckhoff had a rollerski accident ending with an enormous lump on her hip.

Other things of spring:

Martin Fourcade announced that he will be hosting a nordic festival over the weekend of the 31st of August in Annecy. He has ingeniously called it the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival! How did he come up with that! 😉
Most of the big stars in biathlon will be there including Johannes Boe! Imagine if he beats Fourcade in his own competition!!!

Kaisa Makarainen, Liza Vittozzi and Dorothea Wierer will be competing along with many of the French biathletes amongst others.

We also had the excitement of the Giro d’Italia finishing a stage in the Antholz biathlon arena watched on by all the Italian biathletes. It was nice to see but we don’t really want to encourage other sports that are not as good as biathlon, do we!

Dorothea Wierer also put in an appearance at the Moto GP race in Mugello getting a photo with some guy called Marquez. Better still she also got a photo with Herbert Cool the former Dutch biathlete and now biathlon commentator who is moonlighting at the Moto GP in the summer!

The IBU announced a few changes with prize money now being awarded to the top 20 finishers instead of the top 15. Why stop there? Shouldn’t it be the Top 40 – if you get a point, you get a prize!

They have also introduced a “season opening” to open the 2020/21 season in Kontiolahti. (They get their naming ideas from Martin Fourcade!) I think this is basically just an extra World Cup round that they can’t call World Cup 1 as Oestersund was already given the title!

The IBU also held a gender equality conference in Poland which is an excellent initiative. Biathlon is one of the most gender equal sports when it comes to the athletes but has a long way to go with a lack of female coaches and women in leadership positions.

Last but certainly not least the IPC have announced that Para-biathlon will have it’s own World Championship this season for the first time! They will take place in Oestersund from the 11th to 15th March 2020 without a cross-country skier in sight!!!
(Up until now cross-country and biathlon have had combined World Championships.)

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