Tag Archives: Erik Lesser

Oestersund 2019: The Relays!

Bjorn Borg and Stefan Edberg would have been very happy with today’s rallies…..what I am talking about!!! It was the relays and they won’t be happy at all since they were both won by their neighbours and great rivals Norway!

The women raced first and it was Italy as usual who handed over first at the exchange. Lisa Vittozzi is a first leg legend! She did use 3 spares today unusually for her but she still skied herself into the lead!

She gave Nicole Gontier a five second lead over the Ukraine, the USA and home team Sweden after 10/10 shoots from Anastasiya Merkushyna and Linn Persson and just the 1 spare from Susan Dunklee. Germany with Vanessa Hinz went on the penalty loop but Norway were not too far off with a solid leg from Synnoeve Solemdal with 2 spares used.

Gontier had a great leg hitting all 10 targets as did Clare Egan for the USA leaving them neck and neck at the exchange. They were followed by Vita Semerenko, Mona Brorsson and Ingrid Tandrevold who hit 10/10 for Norway.

The third leg saw Joanne Reid hold the lead for the USA after the prone ahead of Alexia Runggaldier, Anna Magnusson, Yuliia Dzhima and Tiril Eckhoff.

Magnusson cleaned the stand to put Sweden in the lead, Reid needed 1 spare, Dzhima 2 and Eckhoff and Runggaldier went on the penalty loop!

That gave Hanna Oberg a 17 second lead at the final exchange. She was followed out by Emily Dreissigacker, Valj Semerenko and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. Oberg needed 2 spares in the prone, the USA were clean and Ukraine and Norway took 1 spare each.

Roeiseland and Semerenko passed Dreissigacker on the tracks to move into second and third place for the final crucial shoot. Oberg was first in but needed all her spares. Roeiseland threw caution to the wind and went for it hitting all 5 and skiing to the gold medal for Norway. Sweden took silver and Semerenko needed 1 spare to safely claim the bronze medal. Unfortunately Dreissigacker went on the penalty loop twice and eventually finished in 9th but it was an amazing race from the US ladies.

Germany were 4th, Russia 5th and Slovakia 6th.

The day was tinged with sadness however as it was Rosanna Crawford’s final race for Canada who finished 14th. She will be greatly missed on the World Cup. 😦

The men raced later and victory again went to Norway who have won gold in every single relay at the World Championships!

The first leg was very close between a lot of the teams with some good shooting on the range. It was Matvey Eliseev who handed over first though for Russia with Lukas Hofer and Antonin Guigonnat close behind. The top ten teams were all within around 10 seconds of each other with Erik Lesser and Lars Birkeland keeping Germany and Norway in the mix.

The gaps stared to appear after leg 2 with France taking the lead thanks to Quentin Fillon Maillet. However he was followed closely by Vetle Christiansen in second and Jesper Nelin in third. Roman Rees for Germany (3 spares) and newcomer Nikita Porshnev for Russia (2 spares) both had solid legs.

On the third leg Tarjei Boe did really well using just 2 spares in the stand to give his brother a 43 second lead for the last lap. Simon Desthieux went on the penalty loop but still managed to tag Martin Fourcade in second place. He left at the same time as Bendikt Doll after a great leg from Arnd Peiffer moved Germany into third. Martin Ponsiluoma used 2 spares to put Sweden in fourth. Dmitry Malyshko kept Russia in the hunt also with 3 spares.

Johannes Boe shot clean on the prone to extend his lead. Fourcade cleaned and Doll needed 1 spare but they were still locked together in the podium positions. Samuelsson used 3 spares and was passed by Rok Trsan who put Slovenia into 4th!

Boe used all 3 spares in the stand but it was enough to seal victory and yet another gold for Norway. Doll used 1 spare but Fourcade ended up with 2 penalty loops. That left Germany in a comfortable silver medal position. Bronze was still up for grabs and with a perfect leg from Alexander Loginov it went to Russia.

The Czech Republic moved up to 4th, Slovenia were 5th and France 6th.

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Oestersund 2019: Single Mixed Relay!

As explosive as experiment day in Alfred Nobel’s laboratory, the first ever Single Mixed Relay at the World Championships went off with a bang!

It was Norway (surprise, surprise) that were the history makers today in Oestersund taking the first gold medal in this event at a major Championships. Johannes Boe and Marte Olbsu Roeiseland proved a great combination mainly of ski speed and sometimes of shooting.

The action was non stop and left everyone breathless as team after team took the lead and then lost the lead and then regained the lead again!!

After the first lap Italy were in first place with Dorothea Wierer using only 1 spare. There was nothing in it though with Austria and Ukraine right behind and by the first prone for the men there were 7 teams together on the range.

There were quite a few spares required by the boys including 3 for Johannes Boe on the stand, 2 for Lukas Hofer and 3 altogether from Sebastian Samuelsson. Dmytro Pidruchnyi cleaned the stand, as did Antonin Guigonnat, Simon Eder and Erik Lesser.

They exchanged to the women in that order but it soon changed with Denise Herrmann taking the lead out on the tracks. Wierer, Hauser and Merkushyna cleaned the prone but Herrmann, Oberg and Roeiseland needed 1 spare each.

Herrmann again passed on the tracks to lead into the stand but needed 2 spares as did Hauser, Wierer used 1 but crucially Roeiseland and Oberg cleaned.

That left Italy in the lead at the last exchange but just 1 second ahead of Norway and 6 ahead of Sweden. All three cleaned the prone and so it would come down to the stand to decide the medals. Boe, who has had problems in the stand here in Oestersund, hit all 5 and skied off to take the gold. Hofer needed 1 spare but was safe in second place.

Sweden took the bronze with Samuelsson also needing just the 1 spare to hold off the charging Erik Lesser who hit 10/10 in his leg and 20/20 overall.

It was an action packed race all the way to the final shoot and a great addition to the World Championships. Germany were 4th, Ukraine 5th and Russia 6th.

Poor Austria who have never finished off the podium in this race on the World Cup were 8th.

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Oestersund 2019: The Pursuits!

“The winner takes it all
The loser’s standing small”

A perfect summary of today’s women’s pursuit by ABBA. It was absolute joy for one and utter heartbreak for another!

We started off in nice conditions then the wind got up and a snow storm blew in. It was Anastasiya Kuzmina who went off first after her sprint win but her lead only lasted until the first shoot when she missed 2 in the prone.

That left Denise Herrmann and Mona Brorsson out ahead with Laura Dahlmeier and Tiril Eckhoff just behind after all four hit 5/5.

It was a similar story after the second prone with all four hitting 5/5 again. Denise Herrmann pulled put a lead on the tracks from Brorsson in second and arrived in the range first for the standing shoot. Herrmann missed 2 and Brorsson cleaned to leave her out in the lead by over half a minute. Behind them Dahlmeier missed 1 and Eckhoff missed 2.

At the final stand it was not to be for home favourite Brorsson. She missed her first shot and couldn’t recover eventually missing 4 targets in all. It was horrible to watch her fall apart at her home World Championships but it is the first time she has been in this position and there was a lot of pressure on her. I think leading the penultimate loop by herself gave her too much thinking time about the consequences of the last shoot and it got to her.

She is such a nice person and deserved better but hopefully this experience will help her in the future to win races and get podiums. Fingers crossed it is in the next two races!

Back on the range Denise Herrmann was cleaning her five targets and heading off for her first ever World Championship gold medal after just three seasons in biathlon. Quite an amazing feat.

There was a big battle on the tracks for silver and bronze with Dahlmeier and Eckhoff also hitting all 5 on the final shoot. The German was just ahead but Eckhoff was strong on the skis and caught up to her heading to the finish line. Eckhoff was clever and took a tight line into the home straight to make sure Dahlmeier couldn’t get ahead and she took the silver medal for Norway. Dahlmeier got her second bronze in a row.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 4th coming from 25th even with 4 misses! Hanna Oberg was 5th and Kuzmina 6th.

Anna Magnusson went from 43rd to 11th and Lena Haecki from 53rd to 14th.

The men’s pursuit showed exactly why we love biathlon. The main man who has been winning all season and had a big lead coming into the final shoot looked unbeatable, and then he was beaten! And he was beaten by someone who has never won a race before, in fact he has never made the podium before today!

Johannes Thingnes Boe almost had the gold medal around his neck for most of this pursuit. He cleaned the first prone and set about building on his lead. Martin Fourcade also cleaned and was joined by Alexander Loginov despite his 1 miss for the second loop.

Boe missed 1 on his second prone but had a big margin and held the lead. Fourcade and Loginov also hit 5/5 as did Erik Lesser and Benajmin Weger who were on their tails.

At the third shoot Johannes missed another but again kept out in front. Behind him Fourcade, Loginov, Lesser and Weger all missed 2 and Boe’s lead was maintained. However next in the range were Tarjei Boe, Quentin Fillon Maillet, Dmytro Pidruchnyi, Antonin Guigonnat and Evgeniy Garanichev who all cleaned and found themselves fighting for the silver and bronze.

At the final shoot it all went wrong for Boe missing 3 targets. Even if he had missed just 2 he probably would have won but not 3. Pidruchnyi was the only one of the chase group who held his nerve and cleaned while the others all missed 1.

By this time Pidruchnyi was gone and Johannes was off the penalty loop into second but third was still up for grabs. It went down to a ski race between Fillon Maillet and Tarjei Boe with the Frenchman just that bit faster claiming his second bronze medal in two days.

It was an unbelievable race from Pidruchnyi who is probably not so upset about missing the bronze in the sprint by 0.3 of a second now that he is the pursuit World Champion!!!

Martin Fourcade finished 5th and Andrejs Rastorgujevs was 6th.

Elsewhere Michal Krcmar went from 44th to 25th,Thomas Bormolini from 43rd to 27th and Matvey Eliseev from 51st to 35th.

Tomorrow is a rest day which is lucky as there are a few biathletes who won’t be getting much sleep tonight for very different reasons!!!

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Soldier Hollow 2019: The Relays!

The final day’s racing in America was relay day! Really? Yes, relay! (try not to groan too much!)

It was the first time in the World Cup that the men raced the first legs and the women the second which is awesome! It made for great relays too so it’s a change that should stay with alternate starts M-W and W-M.

The single mixed relay was first. There were some strong teams in this one and it was the strongest who won. Lukas Hofer and Dorothea Wierer took gold for Italy with some great shooting with only 6 spares needed.

The first leg was tight with no one breaking away for the men. The second leg saw Wierer take the lead ahead of Julia Simon and Regina Oja.

The men’s leg was close once again with Lukas Hofer, Simon Eder and Rene Zakhna all together. Hofer needed a spare while the other two shot clean but at the exchange it was Eder ahead by a few seconds from Italy and Estonia.

The final leg came down to Wierer and Hauser who are both excellent shots. Hauser cleaned all 10 and Wierer needed a spare but her superior ski speed and super fast standing shoot meant she could give Italy the victory. Austria were second using just 2 spares (amazing!) and France were third despite a penalty loop from Antonin Guigonnat.

Germany were 4th, Norway 5th and Ukraine 6th.

The mixed relay was a battle between Norway, France and Germany the whole way. The men started first and Germany took an early lead with Erik Lesser shooting clean along with Quentin Fillon Maillet. Vetle Christiansen needed 2 spares for Norway. Luckily he had Johannes Boe on the second leg who made up all the time and shot clean to turn the race in Norway’s favour.

Simon Desthieux used 2 spares to keep France in touch and Bendikt Doll needed 3. Boe handed a good lead over to Tiril Eckhoff who managed to lose it all at her first shoot using all three spares letting a clean shooting Celia Aymonier catch her. The stand was even worse for Eckhoff who went on the penalty loop. Aymonier used 2 spares but Franziska Hildebrand shot clean to make up time for Germany.

The final leg saw Anais Chevalier shoot perfectly and ski home for a French victory. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland did all she could to catch up but after skiing too hard she also had a penalty loop to complete. Vanessa Hinz who was a late replacement held her nerve using only 2 spares to take second for Germany leaving Norway in third.

Switzerland were 4th, Sweden 5th and the Czech Republic 6th.

That concludes the North American World Cups. The next competition is the European Championships in Minsk which start on the 20th of February and then there is the small matter of the World Championships in Oestersund on the 7th of March!!!

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Soldier Hollow 2019: The Pursuits!

It’s the penultimate round of the World Cup here in the USA and it was the turn of the pursuit races on Saturday.

The women were first up and what a race it was! At the first prone Marte Olsbu Roeiseland missed and so did Kaisa Makarainen! That let Anastasiya Kuzmina take the lead.

At the second prone Kuzmina missed 2 but Franziska Hildebrand and Monika Hojnisz cleaned and left the range together. They both hit 10/10 in the prone as did Denise Herrmann who found herself in third.

At the first stand it was Hojnisz who missed 2 but Hildebrand cleaned to take the lead by herself. Herrmann missed 1 but Lisa Vittozzi cleaned for 15/15.

At the final shoot Hildebrand missed 1, then Herrmann missed 1 and Vittozzi missed 2! It was then a ski race to the finish with Herrmann making up 12 seconds from the range to the finish line to pass her teammate to take her first win this season. Hildebrand took second. The final shoot saw Makarainen, Kuzmina and Roeiseland all shoot clean so we had three of the fastest skiers all going for third place. It was Makarainen who took it and Roeiseland just pipped Kuzmina on the line for 4th.

Lisa Vittozzi was 6th and with Wierer missing 8 and finishing 20th it means Vittozzi is the new Overall leader and takes the yellow bib to the World Championships next month.

There were some big moves behind the top 6 with Marketa Davidova going from 32nd to 12th hitting 20/20, Nicole Gontier went from 39th to 18th and home favourite Susan Dunklee went from 45th to 26th.

The men’s race was more straight forward. At the first shoot Vetle Christiansen and Simon Desthieux shot clean but Roman Rees missed. Erik Lesser, Johannes Boe and Quentin Fillon Maillet also cleaned as did a lot of the field in fact.

At the second shoot it was Christiansen and Desthieux who both missed 1 but Boe, Fillon Maillet and Lesser hit all five.

Shoot three was pivotal with Fillon Maillet the only one to clear the targets with Boe and Lesser both missing 2. That gave Christiansen and Desthieux the chance to get back into the race.

Fillon Maillet was perfect today hitting his final five targets to go 20/20 to take his second win of the season by 26 seconds. Christiansen also hit his last five to take second comfortably from Desthieux who missed another but kept third place with Boe missing 3 and Lesser 2 on the final stand.

In the end Johannes Boe was 4th, Erik Lesser 5th and Benjamin Weger 6th.

Christian Gow was amazing going from 44th to 8th hitting 20/20 to get a PB and Sean Doherty got his PB in 10th at home in the US.

The final races here are the Single Mixed and Mixed Relays on Sunday and the men will be starting first with the women finishing the race!

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Soldier Hollow 2019: The Sprints!

I know what you are thinking. Soldier Hollow – that is such a cool name for a venue! It must have some interesting history from the days of the old west where soldiers maybe made their last stand in a hollow or something like that. Well no – they just made it up for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics! Still a cool name though!

In fact biathlon hasn’t been back here since 2002! But now it is and we kicked off with the women’s sprint on Thursday – Valentine’s Day! So who would feel the love? It was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland which is appropriate as she just got married last year.

It was her third win of the season and she shot clean and skied really well to win by 11.5 seconds. Behind her in second place was Kaisa Makarainen who missed one shot but also skied super fast. It was a surprise after her huge journey to get from Canmore to Utah which took her via Toronto and Atlanta after her initial flight to Seattle was cancelled.

Third place went to biathlete23!!! It was Franziska Hildebrand who got on the podium shooting clean for a great result. Flowers for bib23 on Valentine’s Day – how romantic! 😉

4th place went to Monika Hojnisz, 5th to Anastasiya Kuzmina and 6th to Kamila Zuk which was her best World Cup result to date shooting 10/10.

There were also personal bests for Tuuli Tomingas in 14th and Thelka Brun-Lie in 26th.

Dorothea Wierer stretched her lead in the Overall finishing 8th with teammate and rival Lisa Vittozzi in 12th.

The men’s sprint on Friday was also won by a Norwegian! No not him! It was Vetle Christiansen! After his second place finish in the Canmore Individual he went one better here taking his first ever World Cup win. He shot clean and won the race by just 1.3 seconds.

Simon Desthieux finally got on the podium after being in great form all season. He missed 1 but skied really well to get so close but it wasn’t enough to get the win. Third place went to Roman Rees with his first podium on the World Cup also missing 1.

Erik Lesser was 4th hitting 10/10, Johannes Boe was 5th after missing 4 on the standing shoot and Quentin Fillon Maillet was 6th with 9/10. Boe skied super fast as usual to get 5th and it was enough to give him the small crystal globe in the sprint.

There were some more great performances in the field from Johannes Dale in 10th getting his PB, Scott Gow in 14th equalled his PB from the Olympics, Fabien Claude was 16th his best result so far and Aidan Miller hit 10/10 to move his PB from 81st to 20th!!! Thierry Chenal was 31st for his top World Cup finish.

I don’t know what it is about Norway and North America but they have won all the races here apart from the women’s relay in Canmore when they were second! Maybe because they both start with NOR? 😉

Both pursuit races are on Saturday! Can Norway win them both too?

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Thierry Langer: The Interview!

Thierry Langer is a Belgian biathlete who was born in Malmedy on the 24th of October 1991. He is regular on the IBU Cup and last season raced on the World Cup for the Belgian Men’s Relay Team. Not only is he a biathlete but he also competes in cross-country skiing and is studying chemistry. It’s safe to say he is quite busy!

Like his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thierrylangerbiathlon/

Why did you become a biathlete?

When I was 14 years old a small group practised the sport already for a couple of years. I took part in the cross country events in Belgium every year so they suddenly invited me to try biathlon. That was when I tried it in a summer camp in Winterberg (Germany) for the first time. I liked the sport better than cross country skiing, athletics or football which I was practising back then. I stuck to it until now after I saw some progression and received a lot of support from my parents.

Unusually for the Belgian team you are actually Belgian! How have things changed for you with Roesch and Claude joining the team?

For me personally this is probably why I am still doing biathlon. I got new motivation to become as good as them or probably beat them one day. But also with them joining the whole Biathlon Federation became more professional every year and so did I. I learned a lot in this time and had my first professional winter season last year which was exciting.

The Relays were amazing to watch last season. What were they like from your perspective?

In Hochfilzen I was pretty nervous watching them on the warm up lap when I saw us in front. When I started my race all of this was gone. I was so focused on skiing that the crowd wasn’t really bothering me. In Oberhof it was easier. It wasn’t a new situation, so I knew what to do and I think it also worked out better for me with only one penalty loop in those special conditions.

You made the Belgian Olympic Team but for cross country skiing! How was your experience in PyeongChang?

It was amazing. I already had the chance to take part in every big event in biathlon and cross country skiing, but the Olympics were something special having every nation and almost every winter sport around. I really enjoyed the month in PyeongChang. I hope to qualify in 2022 again, but this time for the biathlon competitions.

How do you manage your season between competing on the IBU Cup, the World Cup and in cross country?

The last season was indeed a hard season. I had several weekends racing in different places which isn’t very ideal, but it was necessary to qualify for the Olympic Games. I raced for example in Campra, Switzerland, travelled seven hours after the race to start the day after in the relay in Oberhof. In the end it all worked out fine, I was fit when I had to be and I also had my best season ever but this is not for every year.

Do you think you will always do both biathlon and cross country or will you concentrate on just one sport in the future?

I will concentrate on biathlon for sure, but this doesn’t mean that I won’t compete at cross country races anymore. If there are some free weeks that I can fill with cross country races I will definitely do that.

What are you doing for summer training?

I like running, roller skiing or mountain biking. Otherwise the usual visits to the gym and the shooting range.

What are your goals for this season?

I want to get some good shooting results again this season. This is something which suffered a bit with all the cross country races. I want to repeat my 15th place at the IBU Cup again and probably get the chance to do some more World Cups beside the relay races. But in general repeating the good results of last season should be my main goal.

You also study chemistry. How difficult is it to balance studying and training? Can you make your own gunpowder? 😉

I better not tell that to anyone 😉 … but I’m more interested in waxing and the skis. This is also the topic of my Masters thesis.
After several years at the University I got used to the rhythm and how I can get free time for the sport. A huge factor is also the German system which makes it a lot easier to be flexible. After all I’m far from training like the pro’s but that’s why every training has to be effective and I think this works quite well so far.


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

Duszniki Zdroj, Poland. I enjoyed the track a lot during the ECH.

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

Raphael Poiree, he was my favourite when I was young for no reason.

Does your rifle have a name?

No

Describe yourself in three words.

Determined , quiet and clumsy.

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Germany
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Anton Shipulin
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Norway
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Lucky bib number: None
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Michael Rösch
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Erik Lesser / Arnd Peiffer
Best thing about being a biathlete: Unforgettable moments during this time.

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