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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