Tag Archives: Erlend Bjoentegaard

Kontiolahti 2020: The Pursuits!

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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Nove Mesto 2020: The Mass Starts!

It was a sunny day for the mass starts in Nove Mesto for the final day of action but unfortunately that made the tracks soft and tough to ski on.

The women raced first and it was Dorothea Wierer who held the lead after the first prone shoot. She looks tired though after her heroics at World Champs and couldn’t stay at the front. She missed 1 at the second prone which let the clean shooting Tiril Eckhoff hit the front and she wouldn’t give up the lead.

She also hit 5/5 in the first stand to build a nice lead over Justine Braisaz who was making up places quickly after a miss in the prone. Hanna Oeberg was doing the same and was up to fourth after the third shoot behind Fialkova in third.

At the final shoot Eckhoff missed 1 shot but her lead was enough for it not to make a difference and she went on to win the race and her second mass start of the season. The fight was for the other two spots on the podium and Hanna Oeberg hit 5/5 to take second place. Franziska Preuss did the same to move into third.

Justine Braisaz was 4th, Dorothea Wierer 5th and Monika Hojnisz Starega 6th.

It was more points lost to her main rivals for Dorothea Wierer but she still holds on to yellow for Kontiolahti.

In the men’s race Johannes Boe set out at a very fast pace but then missed on his first prone to let his teammate Vetle Christiansen and his brother Tarjei come out of the range in first and second place.

Johannes made up all the ground before the next shoot where he again missed a shot! Christiansen cleared again to stay in the lead but now he was followed by the German pair Kuehn and Peiffer.

Johannes Boe did the same again making up time on the leaders only to miss another shot in the first stand! That left Emilien Jacquelin out front with Dominik Windisch and Peiffer.

Finally in the last shooting JT Boe hit 5/5 and left the range just 4 second behind Jacquelin who had hit 20/20! It didn’t take long for him to pass the Frenchman and take the win. It was a crazy way to win but typical Johannes I think!

Jacquelin took second and Arnd Peiffer was third after battling with Pidruchnyi and Bjoentegaard for the last podium spot. Johannes Dale was 6th.

If you are wondering what happened to Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade they finished 8th and 14th respectively after problems with the way their skis were waxed in the tricky conditions.

Fourcade still has the yellow bib for the lead in the overall but Boe is closing the gap!

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Antholz 2020: The Pursuits!

We can always rely on the pursuits for a bit of action and we were not let down today at the world championships. It was a beautiful sunny day in Antholz as usual and not much wind in the range.

The women raced first and it was a win for home favourite Dorothea Wierer! It’s always good to see the home nation getting a gold medal and it’s extra special for Wierer as she is literally at home! It’s not just in her country it’s her home town!

It wasn’t easy for her starting 7th with 39 seconds to make up on Marte Olsbu Roeiseland at the start. At the first prone it was Roeiseland who made the first mistake and it was Susan Dunklee who took advantage hitting 5/5. Wierer also hit 5/5 and was already up to third place.

At the second prone it was Dunklee who missed but Roeiseland and Wierer both hit 5. By the third shoot these two were close together and both hit 5/5 again. Behind them Denise Herrmann was moving up the field despite a couple of misses.

It all came down to the final shoot and all of the top three had misses however Wierer just had 1 and Roeiseland 2. She left the range and headed out on her way to victory all alone for a celebratory final lap. Herrmann also missed 1 and came out with Roeiseland from the penalty loop. These two would race for silver and it was Herrmann who was too strong for Roeiseland who had to settle for bronze.

Hanna Oeberg finished 4th, Vanessa Hinz 5th and Ivona Fialkova was 6th getting her personal best in the process.

Further back in the field there were some big moves with Ingrid Tandrevold going from 57th to 14th, Tiril Eckhoff from 59th to 20th, Elisa Gasparin from 50th to 16th hitting 20/20, Irina Starykh from 53rd to 24th and Larisa Kuklina from 48th to 23rd.

The only other woman to hit the perfect 20 was Karoline Horchler taking bib 23 to 15th!

The men raced next and it was a very close finish at the end which saw Emilien Jacquelin take his first ever win and first world title!

The race began with Alexander Loginov in full control of things. He hit 15/15 and it looked like the race was his. Quentin Fillon Maillet missed 4 on the first prone and was completely out of the race straight away. Martin Fourcade was hanging in there in second place until he missed at the third shoot. Johannes Boe missed one on both prone shoots.

Meanwhile Jacquelin was hitting all his targets and after the third shoot had moved up to second place. Everthing hinged on the final shoot. Loginov missed one but Boe and Jacquelin cleaned and so it would be a ski race to the finish! It was Jacquelin who was stronger and after hitting 20/20 he fully deserved the win.

Loginov was third, Martin Fourcade 4th, Arnd Peiffer 5th and Tarjei Boe 6th.

Simon Eder was the only other man to hit 20/20 to move from 37th to 12th, Vetle Christiansen went from 33rd to 10th and Erlend Bjoentegaard from 35th to 15th. Jakov Fak moved from 45th to 21st and Ondrej Moravec from 46th to 22nd.

There is a rest day on Monday and then it’s the women’s individual on Tuesday!

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Pokljuka 2020: The Mass Starts!

The last day in Pokljuka was for the mass starts and they were worth waiting for! The men got us underway and it was a tight race all the way through.

At the first shoot all the favourites hit 5/5 except Johannes Boe! It didn’t stop him though as he had almost caught the leaders before the second prone.

Again all the top runners went clear including Boe with Quentin Fillon Maillet, Martin Fourcade, Vetle Christiansen and Johannes Dale all up front. Missing 1 and dropping back a little were Benedikt Doll, Tarjei Boe and Erlend Bjoentegaard.

At the third shoot it was Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade who both missed a shot which left Boe and Christiansen out front themselves.

However their lead was not too big and the Frenchmen were catching before the final shoot. The two Norwegians missed this time and the two Frenchmen cleaned but Fillon Maillet was faster and left the range with a clear lead. Behind him Benedikt Doll hit 5/5 and was in second but chased hard by Boe, Christiansen and Fourcade.

It was a fantastic final lap with Doll pushing hard all the way. It was cat and mouse behind him with the other three but it would come down to a four way sprint for the podium spots.

In the end Doll held them all off to finish second. Third went to Johannes Boe and Vetle Christiansen nipped in ahead of Fourcade to snatch 5th. There was only 0.8 of a second between the four guys!

It was Fillon Maillet’s second mass start victory after he won the same race in round six last season although it was in Antholz. He thoroughly deserves his first win of the season.

There were two men who shot the perfect 20/20 and they were Simon Eder in 8th and Matvey Eliseev in 11th.

The women raced later and with Tiril Eckhoff already tucked up in bed back in Norway after she got sick the race was wide open.

Denise Herrmann started fast but it didn’t pay off after she missed 1 on the first prone. That left Hanna Oeberg and Justine Braisaz at the head of an 11 stong group of clean shooters.

At the second prone Oeberg hit all 5 again as did Marte Roeiseland and they opened a small gap over Lisa Vittozzi and Kaisa Makarainen.

Oeberg and Roeiseland skied together and shot together and also missed together! Makarainen missed two but Lisa Vittozzi hit all five to take the lead.

The final shoot was decisive with Oeberg shooting fast and accurately to leave the range ahead of Vittozzi who hit all 5 again to make it 20/20. Behind them Anais Bescond emerged out of the chasers hitting 20/20 to move into third.

That was the way it would finish with Oeberg skiing so well that she couldn’t be caught. It was her first win this season and Vittozzi’s first podium of the season. Bescond made it three races in a row on the podium here in Pokljuka.

Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 4th hitting 19/20, Justine Braisaz missed 3 in 5th as did Marte Roeiseland in 6th.

Now we have a short break before the first race of the World Champinships begins in Antholz on the 13th of February but don’t forget the Youth/Junior World Champs is on now and the IBU Cup continues too.

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Season Preview 2019/20: The Men!

The light bulbs in the floodlights have all been replaced in Oestersund, the fog machines have been serviced in Oberhof (you didn’t think that was real fog ,did you?) and the Kontiolahti Wall has been made a little bit steeper. All of which can only mean one thing – the biathlon season is about to start!

The schedule is a little different this year with Oestersund, Hochfilzen and Annecy before Christmas. Then comes Oberhof, Ruhpolding and Pokljuka. The World Championships are in Antholz and then we have three more World Cup rounds in Nove Mesto, Kontiolahti and Oslo.

The big question on everyone’s mind on the men’s World Cup is which Martin Fourcade is going to show up in Sweden? Will it be 7 times champion Martin Fourcade or 2018/19 Martin Fourcade? Fingers crossed it’s the former. It’s about time we had a proper head to head clash on the men’s World Cup.

Last season was fantastic for Johannes Boe. He won the big crystal globe with 1262 points which was 408 points ahead of his closest challenger Alexander Loginov and almost double the tally of Fourcade. Fourcade had many issues last year but he still had a great season by “normal biathlete” standards. However he is not a normal biathlete as we know and if he comes back with his old form we could have a battle between himself and Boe the likes of which we haven’t seen since Troy.

Of course there is an “Achillies Heel”! Johannes Boe is set to become a father for the first time in January. Obviously baby Boe has priority so it could mean him missing some races which could impact a close title fight. And there is Trojan Horse of injury and illness that could sneak up unexpectedly!

Won’t there be any other challengers for the title I hear you ask? No, probably not! There are many biathletes who ski as fast as Boe and Fourcade and many who shoot as well as them too. However there are none who can do both on such a consistent basis as our two favourites.

It is shaping up to be a fight between Norway and France not just via Boe and Fourcade but also with the rest of the guys too. Last season Quentin Fillon Maillet was excellent and finished third overall and Simon Desthieux was fourth. Tarjei Boe was sixth and Vetle Christiansen took a big step forward winning his first World Cup race. Antonin Guigonnat had a great season and Erlend Bjoentegaard will be looking to impress. So the relays could get very exciting as well as the individual races.

Who else should we be looking out for to do well this season? Who could taste victory for the first time and who could make the jump up onto the podium?

There is always a lot of attention on Sebastian Samuelsson after his Olympic successes but he is yet to win a race. I think people forget that he is still a biathlon “baby” aged just 22. He got his first World Cup podium last season and it would be great to see him make the jump up to the top step.

Johannes Keuhn had a great start last season getting a second place in the first race. However he faded a bit after the initial glory but it could be his chance this time to take a maiden victory.

Remember Michal Krcmar? He disappeared last season along with the rest of the Czech men’s team. The year before though he excelled so if he can get that old form back a win could be his for the first time. And let’s face it his rifle deserves a victory!

A surprise winner at the World Championships, it would be good to see Dmytro Pidruchnyi bring that confidence and attitude with him on to the World Cup this season and hopefully gets some more wins under his belt.

Johannes Dale is one to watch for possible podiums this season. He did really well debuting on the World Cup last year and has the ski speed to get among the top finishers. It would also be good to see Sean Doherty live up to the potential he showed as a Junior. 10th is his personal best so far but after joining the army this summer maybe a bit if discipline and a good haircut can propel him up the field! Attention!

Tero Seppala didn’t have the best season in 2018/19 but he had good results the year before so hopefully he can also take a step forward. Christian Gow had a fantastic season with two Top 10 finishes and he could be a good bet to grab Canada a podium this time round.

The men’s season for the Overall Title begins with the Sprint race in Oestersund on the 1st of December. The World Cup opens on the 30th of November with the single and mixed relays.

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Season Review 2018/19: Biathlete23!

This season has been a pretty good one for biathlete23. We did manage to get a win on the World Cup but better still added a World Championship gold to the collection! The points total went up from last season and is the third best from 6 years of racing. However it also saw the rise of my mortal enemy, my eternal nemesis biathlete24 taking 2 gold medals in Oestersund. I will have my revenge bib24 just you wait!!! 😉

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 (where have you been?!) this blog follows the results of whichever biathlete happens to be in bib23 for each race. It treats them like one athlete and adds up the score to see how this biathlete would have performed over the year.

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 points
Year 5: 774 points

This season the points total was 852, made up of 410 for the men and 442 for the women. That would put biathlete23 in 19th place in the Men’s Overall between Dmytro Pidruchnyi and Henrik L’Abee-Lund and 20th place in the Women’s Overall between Mona Brorsson and Anais Chevalier.

The season stared off in Pokljuka this season and at World Cup 1 biathlete23 scored 78 points. They came from just 3 biathletes with Denise Herrmann 29th in the Individual, Thomas Bormolini 27th in the Pursuit and best of all Marte Olsbu Roeiesland 5th in the pursuit.

Then it was on to Hochfilzen where all 4 biathletes scored points! Susan Dunklee was 34th in the sprint and Simon Schempp was 25th. In the pursuits Julia Simon was 10th and Johannes Keuhn 25th. That made a total of 70 points from round 2.

Nove Mesto was very good to biathlete23! Johannes Boe kicked it off with a win in the sprint! The first of the season! Ondrej Moravec and Tiril Eckhoff were both 18th in the pursuits. Yuliia Dzhyma was 20th in the mass start and Erlend Bjoentegaard was 5th. Thank you Norway! That was 167 points from round 3.

Oberhof was next and 3 out of 4 biathletes took points. Susan Dunklee in her second appearance in bib23 was 10th in the sprint and Tarjei Boe was 8th. Andrejs Rastorgujevs was 26th in the pursuit making a points total of 80 from round 4.

Ruhpolding was not a great round with only 24 points scored from the mass starts by Dmytro Pidruchnyi who was 29th and Justine Brasiaz who was 21st.

The action moved to Antholz for round 6 which saw 99 points earned by Dominik Windisch who was 10th in the sprint, Rosanna Crawford was 34th in the pursuit and Tomas Krupcik was 18th. In the mass starts Denise Herrmann was 13th and Dmytro Pidruchnyi was 26th.

We crossed the Atlantic to Canmore for round 7 but with a race cancelled for the cold weather we only got points for the indiviudal where Vanessa Hinz came 6th for 38 points.

Soldier Hollow hosted round 8 and was a good one for bib23. Franziska Hildebrand was third for a podium in the sprint. In the pursuits Eva Puskarcikova was 22nd and Simon Fourcade was 15th. That meant a total of 93 points from the USA.

At the World Championships in Oestersund it was a mixed bag. Johanna Taliharm got her personal best in the sprint when she was 20th but Lukas Hofer finished 52nd and out of the points. The pursuits went better with an 18th place from Celia Aymonier and a 24th from Johannes Kuehn. In the individual Ivona Fialkova was 70th but Tero Seppala was 31st. Finally in the mass starts Lena Haecki was 30th and Tomas Krupcik 20th. The evil bib24 won 2 gold medals so that really ruined the whole thing! Still biathlete23 earned 94 points from Sweden.

Going into the final round the women in bib23 had 371 points and the men had 372 points so it was just like the race for the women’s big crystal globe – only better!!!

In the sprints Baiba Bendika was 34th and Ondrej Moravec was 37th. In the pursuits Veronika Vitkova was 13th and Jakov Fak 19th. The final race of the season really split the men and women with Julia Simon finishing 7th and Emilien Jacquelin 25th.

There was more success this season for biathlete23 in para-biathlon. America’s Daniel Cnossen won the biathlon sprint in Vuokatti in bib23 and then Ukrainian Taras Rad only went and won the gold medal in the biathlon individual at the World Championships in Canada!!! World Champion – YES!

That brings the medal collection to Olympic gold (Laura Dahlmeier Sprint 2018), World Championship gold (Martin Fourcade Individual 2016) and now Para World Champion. All that’s left is Paralympic gold which will have to wait until 2022 at least!!! I may have to invest in a cabinet! 😉

See the full results on the Biathlete23 page of the blog.

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Canmore 2019: The Relays!

Freezing cold and windy, Simon Fourcade looking like a ninja, Evgeniy Garanichev looking like he was on his summer holidays and Michael Rosch flying all the way to Canada to race and getting lapped – the men’s relay ladies and gentlemen!!!

That’s right when everyone is taped literally everywhere (Susan Dunklee even did her toes!) and wrapped up as much as possible, Tyumen resident Evgeniy Garanichev made no adjustments to his normal attire! He took the first leg for Russia and was leading until his standing shoot when ironically he froze!! It took him ages to hit all 5 targets needing all 3 spares and handing Antonin Guiggonat the lead ahead of Lars Hegle Birkeland.

It proved to be a fight between France and Norway until the end. Vetle Christiansen got the better of Emilien Jacquelin on leg two despite the Frenchman using 1 spare to the Norwegians 2. The third leg saw a fantastic race from biathlon ninja (black face tape!) Simon Fourcade using 1 spare to Erlend Bjoentegaard’s 3. However the Norwegian got the better of the French thanks to their faster skiing and gave Johannes Boe a nice lead to take into the final leg.

Of course he smashed it hitting 10/10 and cruised to victory by over a minute from Quentin Fillon Maillet. Russia held on for third with Eduard Latypov, Alexander Loginov and Alexander Povarnitsyn along with Garanichev using 9 spares.

Austria had the chance to go for a podium but on the final leg Julian Eberhard had a nightmare with 3 penalty loops letting Germany into 4th. Austria were 5th and the Czech Republic 6th.

Home team Canada were 10th but after the first two legs from the Gow brothers they were in 4th which is a good sign for the future.

The women’s relay was another good one. Italy as usual started well with Lisa Vittozzi on the first leg shooting clean and taking the lead. Emilie Kalkenberg had a tough leg for Norway with 2 penalty loops. Vanessa Hinz and Anais Chevalier did well as did Estonia’s Regina Oja.

Nicole Gontier had a great second leg for Italy only needing one spare and maintained the lead. Justine Braisaz and Franziska Hildebrand kept their teams in it with good legs too. Ingrid Tandrevold started Norway’s comeback with a great leg using only 1 spare.

On the third leg Dorothea Wierer had a lead over Anais Bescond and Denise Herrmann. However after using 2 spares on the stand she left the range with a 26 second lead which incredibly Herrmann made up and passed her to put Germany in the lead with Dahlmeier on the last leg. Tiril Eckhoff put Norway back into contention with just 1 spare needed from her.

At the first prone Dahlmeier need 2 spares but left the range before Sanfilippo got her first shot away. Julia Simon had problems using all 3 spares. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland had no issues hitting all 5 and moving into third behind Italy.

The wind had a massive influence on the final stand. Dahlmeier went on the penalty loop but still came out in the lead after the others also had issues having to shoot carefully. Sanfilippo also went on the penalty loop. Julia Simon came out best moving from second to fourth and Roeiseland stayed in third.

Dahlmeier skied home for first place but unfortunately for Simon she couldn’t hold off Roeiseland who overtook her to give Norway second with France getting third.

Italy were 4th, Switzerland were 5th and Austria were 6th.


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Antholz 2019: The Sprints!

Biathlon has returned to beautiful Antholz. It’s a favourite with many of the biathletes for the scenery, weather and food! It also provides some great racing for the fans and that was true again in the women’s sprint on Thursday.

It was won by unicorn power! That’s right Marketa Davidova with her unicorn covered rifle took her first ever win. She shot clean for the first time in her career and skied really well to keep the lead all the way to the final finisher. That final finisher was Laura Dahlmeier who also shot clean and gave Davidova a nervous wait to see if she could hold on.

Dahlmeier gave it everything in the last loop but it wasn’t enough. She struggled in the last 200 metres and collapsed at the line and had to be helped away by her coach. She finished 4th in the end just 4.2 seconds from the win and happily she is fine now. Kaisa Makarainen took second with one miss finishing just 1.7 seconds behind the Czech. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was third 3.5 seconds back also with 9/10.

Lisa Vittozzi was 5th and Monika Hojnisz 6th. The top six were only separated by 10 seconds which means we are in for a great pursuit on Saturday.

Svetlana Mironova was 7th her personal best. Megan Bankes was fantastic in 26th for her PB, Caroline Colombo set yet another PB for her in 42nd as did Larisa Kuklina in 43rd and Yelizavta Belchenko in 44th.

The men raced on Friday and you won’t be surprised by the winner. Yes Mr. Johannes Boe won again. He has won 5/6 sprint races so far this season. What are the odds that he wins all the rest of them except the one he really wants at the World Championships? Funny things like that always happen in sport!

He missed a target today but his skiing is still way better than everyone else. It was a 1-2 for Norway with Erlend Bjoentegaard finishing second shooting 10/10. Antonin Guigonnat completed the podium with a lightning final loop after he missed 1 in the standing.

Martin Fourcade shot clean in 4th, Simon Eder missed 1 in 5th and Simon Desthieux was 6th despite 2 misses. Quentin Fillon Maillet was 7th meaning there were 4 Frenchmen in the Top 7 – shame there is no relay in Antholz!

Martin Jaeger got a personal best in 14th as did Roman Yeremin in 18th. American Jake Brown got his first World Cup point in 40th.

There is just over 30 seconds between the Top 6 for the pursuit tomorrow so hopefully it will be a good one.

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Season Review 2017/18: Biathlete23

WOW what a season it has been for Biathlete23! Wins, podiums and the small matter of an Olympic Gold medal!!! A return to Annecy the scene of our first ever victory and finally recognition from the IBU of the awesomeness of bib23 (see photo above). To top it all off there were three British biathletes in bib23 in the same season! You see hard work pays off in the end kids!

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 (where have you been?!) this blog follows the results of whichever biathlete happens to be in bib23 for each race. It treats them like one athlete and adds up the score to see how this biathlete would have performed over the year.

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 Points

This season the points were down. With a total of 774 made up of 431 for the men and 343 for the women. That would put biathlete23 in 19th place in the Men’s Overall and 22nd place in the Women’s Overall.

However that doesn’t really tell the tale of biathlete23 this season. Last year there were no wins, this year there were two on the World Cup courtesy of Anastasiya Kuzmina in the Annecy Sprint and Martin Fourcade in the Ruhpolding Individual. There was also a podium from Antonin Guigonnat in the Ruhpolding Mass Start.

Great results but then came the Olympic Games in PyeongChang and Laura Dahlmeier. She only went and won gold in bib23 in the Women’s Sprint! AMAZING!!!

As an extra bonus for me Scott Dixon, Amanda Lightfoot and Scott Meenagh (at the Paralympic Games!) all wore bib23 this season! 🙂

I did seriously consider retiring biathlete23 after all that as I don’t think it will get much better, but then I guess I am more of a Bjoerndalen than a Neuner! The bib will be back!

This season started in Oestersund with Darya Domracheva the first biathlete to wear 23. She was 14th in the Individual. Volodymyr Siemkov was 78th in the Men’s Individual. In the Sprints Hilde Fenne was 18th and Maxim Tsvetkov 35th. In the Pursuits Marie Dorin Habert was 14th and Lukas Hofer 11th! Biathlete23 left Sweden with 113 points (men 36, women 77).

Next stop was Hochfilzen. It was a very exciting time for me with Scotland’s own Scott Dixon in bib23. He was 105th in the Sprint but I was just happy to see him in 23! Mona Brorsson was 81st in the Sprint and in the Pursuits Justine Braisaz was 35th and Sean Doherty 17th. That meant just 30 points (men 24, women 6).

The third round took place in the spiritual home of biathlete23, Annecy. Having won both Sprint races there 4 years ago hopes were high. Those hopes were not disappointed! Anastasiya Kuzmina won the Sprint race and secured the first win of the season and 60 points! In the men’s Sprint Vytautas Strolia was 49th. In the Pursuits Paulina Fialkova was 43rd and Sebastian Samuelsson was 36th. The Mass Starts saw Tatiana Akimova finish in 18th and Timofey Lapshin in 28th. That meant a points total of 101 (men 18, women 83).

After Christmas it was time for Oberhof. It wasn’t the best start to 2018! Galina Vishnevskaya was 70th in the Sprint and George Buta was 83rd. Sarah Beaudry was 51st in the Pursuit and Alexander Loginov was 18th. Biathlete23 got 23 points- how ironic!

You can’t keep a good bib down though and Ruhpolding was a triumph! Martin Fourcade won the Individual for win number two of the season. Iryna Kryuko was 11th. In the Mass Starts Synnoeve Solemdal was 11th and Antonin Guigonnat was 3rd!! Points galore – 152 to be exact (men 108, women 44).

The last round before the Olympics was of course Antholz. It got off to a great start with Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht finishing 6th in the Sprint and Simon Desthieux in 11th. Eva Puskarcikova was 30th in the Pursuit but Timofey Lapshin didn’t finish the race. Henrik L’Abee Lund was 11th in the Mass Start and Anais Chevalier was 26th. Total points were 119 (men 60, women 59).

The Olympics didn’t count towards World Cup points unfortunately but the team did well. Laura got gold in the Sprint and Vladmir Chepelin was 34th. In the Pursuits Jessica Jislova was 23rd and Jakov Fak 47th. In the Individuals we got another Brit in bib23 with Amanda Lighfoot who finished 73rd. Then came Fourcade. Just had to hit the last two targets for an easy win and a second gold but he missed two and finished 5th! Disappointing for him and me! The Mass Starts saw Lena Haecki in 23rd and Antonin Guigonnat in 19th.

Next was Kontiolahti where Simon Schempp was 8th in the Sprint and Federica Sanfilippo 46th. In the Mass Starts Freddie Lindstrom was 15th and Celia Aymonier 24th. The points from Finland were 77 (men 60, women 17).

Holmenkollen was round 8 and Norwegians made up 3 of the 4 biathletes in 23. Synnoeve Solemdal was 48th in the Sprint but Arnd Peiffer was 6th! Ingrid Tandrevold was 23rd in the Pursuit and Erlend Bjoentegaard was 34th. The points were 52 (men 45, women 7).

The final round was in Tyumen and half the team were Russian. Kalev Ermits was 78th in the Sprint but Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht was 21st. Evgeniy Garanichev and Katherina Innerhofer were both 23rd in the Pursuits! Spooky! Anton Babikov was 15th in the Mass Start and Galina Vishnevskaya was the final biathlete23 of the season and she was 25th. The total points were 80 (men 30, women 50).

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Tyumen 2018: The Mass Starts!

WOW! What a final race day in Tyumen! The World Cup finished with a bang! With a first time winner, personal best podium finishers and the Overall Title going to the last lap of the last race it begs the question – why are we ending the season? It just got good! 😉

The men raced first in what was a very tasty starter before the main event of the women’s showdown for the Overall Title. It was a fabulous Mass Start with 11 men still in contention for victory at the final shoot. It was necessary to shoot clean to have a chance of winning this one and Erlend Bjoentegaard, Maxim Tsvetkov, Jakov Fak and the Boe bros did just that.

It was Tsvetkov with the support of the home crowd who managed to grab a lead and held it to the line. It was his first ever World Cup win and to do it on home soil in that style was great. He hit 20/20 as did Bjoentegaard who got his personal best finish and third went to Johannes Boe with 2 misses.

Benedikt Doll was 4th, Henrik L’Abee Lund 5th and Tarjei Boe 6th. Martin Fourcade had a day off missing 4 targets and finished in 19th place. He missed the chance to finish on the podium in every World Cup race he started this season. Maybe he isn’t so good after all!!! 😉

If you thought that was good the women’s race was amazing! All eyes were on Anastasiya Kuzmina and Kaisa Makarainen to see who would lift the big crystal globe. However with that kind of pressure neither of them could take the win.

That went to Darya Domracheva. She missed 1 target but was too strong on the skis for Paulina Fialkova and Anais Chevalier who had left the final shoot in the lead. She skied past them both to take the win. Fialkova held on for second hitting 19/20, her best finish on the World Cup, and Chevalier was third hitting 20/20.

Vanessa Hinz was 4th, Franziska Pruess 5th and Kaisa took 6th.

It was an incredible race from the Finn. She was close to Kuzmina throughout the race until the third shoot when she missed 2 shots and Kuzmina 1. On the final shoot Kuzmina missed again but Kaisa cleaned. They were neck and neck when Kaisa left the range and Kuzmina came off the penalty loop.

It was there that Kaisa took off. She had too much strength for Kuzmina who eventually finished 11th. Makarainen pushed herself to the limit and beyond to take the Overall Title, her third, but just 3 points! She also won the small globe for the Mass Start.

That brings the season to an end but look out for my season reviews for the men, women and biathlete23 as well as a little item I like to call THE BIATHLON23 AWARDS!!!

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