Tag Archives: Karin Oberhofer

Season 2016/17 Preview: Women

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It’s almost time! Just a few days until the start of the brand new biathlon season and it’s time for the women’s preview!
Unlike the predictable Men’s World Cup the Women’s World Cup is really exciting! It’s very hard to choose a winner this season and it should be a great one to watch.

Last season saw Gabriela Soukalova win her first ever Overall Title but I’m sorry to say there is no chance of Soukalova winning this season. Why not? Only because she has changed her name to Koukalova!!! She has every chance of winning again but it will be far from easy.

This season they are lining up to win the big Crystal Globe. With Darya Domracheva missing the start of the season after giving birth to her first child in October the race for the title will be between five or six biathletes.

As defending champion Koukalova will be the favourite this season. However it is often said that retaining a title is more difficult than winning the first one. She will have a lot more expectation on her shoulders this time and that means added pressure. Her committments outside of training may also play a factor if she hasn’t had enough time to prepare properly for the races.

Challenging Gabi will be of course Kaisa Makarainen who happily decided to continue her biathlon career. She is the most experienced of all the contenders and has won the overall title twice before. However she was the favourite last season and she didn’t deliver struggling with her shooting. She is still the fastest skier though and that will give her a big chance.

After the experience of Kaisa we have the youth of Laura Dahlmeier. She had a great season last year on the World Cup and at the World Championships. She is a fantastic shot and copes well under pressure. The biggest barrier to Laura however is her health. She usually misses one or two World Cup rounds through illness and you can’t give away that many points if you want to win the overall.

Marie Dorin Habert was amazing last season and pushed Gabi all the way coming second in the Total Score just 46 points behind. If she repeats her success then she possibly has the best chance of winning the overall title. If she can add a little more consistency she could make it a double World Title for France alongside Fourcade.

Trying to stop all of these ladies will be Dorothea Wierer. She won the small Crystal Globe for the Individual last season and was third overall on the World Cup. She was however over 100 points behind the winner. This means she needs to improve her points scoring over the whole season. Even if she doesn’t win the races she has to finish ahead of her main rivals as often as possible. The Mass Start was probably her weakest event last season but if she can improve her head to head racing she will have an opportunity to take the title.

There are others who we expect to do well like Tiril Eckhoff. She didn’t have a great World Cup last time and finished 11th overall. She will need to work on her shooting to move forward as we know she is a great skier. Franziska Hildebrand will be hoping to better her 5th place in the Overall and if she has a similar season this year she just might do it.

Further down the field Susan Dunklee will be hoping to win her first World Cup race after coming second in Presque Isle last time. Rosanna Crawford will be doing her best to get that elusive first podium finish to improve her personal best of 4th.

Looking to see a big improvement in results will be the Russian women’s team who had a hard time last season. Teja Gregorin and Valj Semerenko will also be hoping for better results this season.

Keep an eye out for the youngsters doing well this season. Galina Vishnevskaya, Lucie Charvatova, Julia Schwaiger, Paulina Fialkova, Ingrid Tandrevold and Lisa Vittozzi will all be out to impress.

There are a lot of others biathletes who will want to have a good season like Karin Oberhofer, Julia Dzhyma, Krystyna Guzik, Olena Pidhrushna, Veronika Vitkova, Anais Bescond and Franziska Preuss and others who will be missing like Weronika Nowakowska and Vita Semerenko but it should be a really exciting season for the women and I can’t wait for it to start!

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Karin Oberhofer: The Interview!

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Karin Oberhofer is an Italian biathlete who was born on the 3rd of November 1985 in Brixen. She made her international debut in 2005 and her best result to date on the World Cup is second place from the Sprint race in Hochfilzen 2014. She has an World Championship bronze medal from the Mass Start in Kontiolahti 2015 and also won bronze in the relay there. She has another bronze medal in the Mixed Relay from the Sochi Olympics.

Like her Facebook Page: Karin Oberhofer (sportsperson)
Check out her website: http://www.karinoberhofer.com/en/

Why did you become a biathlete?

In the beginning I liked cross country skiing and I decided to go the Sport Oberschulzentrum in Mals to do it. When I was there in Mals I was at school with some biathletes and thought I would like to try to do it. I have loved this sport since the beginning and it became my big passion.

How do you assess last season? Were you happy with it or a little disappointed that you didn’t get an individual podium?

Last season was quite strange for me for many reasons. Anyway I know that I did my best as always. All the athletes would like to reach the podium but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out as we would like. Even if I didn’t reach the individual podium I won the relay in Hochfilzen with my team and it was absolutely terrific!!!

You won the relay in Hochfilzen last season. Can you describe your leg and how it felt at the end when you won? Are you happy the World Championships are in Hochfilzen?

As I mentioned before, it was extraordinary! I will remember that victory forever. I don’t want to comment only on my leg: all four of us had a great race. I guess that a victory like that in the relay is an huge result also for all our coaches that do an excellent job every day. We were all very satisfied and happy.

Regarding the World Champs in Hochfilzen, I think it will be a great event. But every day is different, especially in biathlon, and if you mean that we will have more chance because we won there last season… no, no more chance than the others!!!

What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan until the season starts?

I have already done a lot of training together with the Italian World Cup Team. Now we are in Ramsau (AUT) for the first training on snow and then, before the start of competitions, we will go to Antholz for some days, Senales and finally to Norway. But you know my training for winter season 16/17 started in the second week of May, every day with no vacation, no weekends except for a couple of days in September. A lot of training with the national team in different venues but also a lot of “hard working days” in my beautiful area: Sud Tirol.

What are your goals for this season?

I would like to be healthy for all the season in order to be constant in my results. My big goal is to improve my performance and myself but also to enjoy my beautiful job: both in skiing and in shooting. All the time my goal is to do my best and improve myself, to reach better results in my body, to touch the limit and to move this limit every season a bit further!

You have an Olympic bronze medal from Sochi in the Mixed Relay and a World Championship bronze medal in the Women’s Relay. Why do you think Italy is now so good at relays?

Because we are a great group and we have worked very hard together every day for some years. Together we grow as athletes thanks to the great support of all our staff.

What kind of food do you eat when you are training?

First of all I like eating healthy! I love good food and I take into consideration a lot the quality of the food. I like to try new food and also to cook new dishes.

I eat all kinds of food and I also have a couple of great food producers from my area that support and supply me with their healthy products all year long: Bakery Profanter and Kiku Apples.

I spend a lot of days away from home but anyway I have always with me, even during the winter season, some typical crispy bread (schüttelbrot) and fresh apple juice. It’s a small part of my kitchen that I bring with me always and I feel like I’m at home 😉

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

Sincerely.. no. I like to change and, as I mentioned before every day is different. I don’t have a special feeling with one specific venue. There are a lot of great places and every venue has something special.

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

I appreciate a lot of biathletes but I can’t say that I have one favourite in particular.

I have great respect for the biathletes that, even after great success and satisfaction, “stay on the ground” and continue to consider that the small things are important and don’t look down on you from the top.

Does your rifle have a name?

After your question, yes 😉 I have just given a name to my rifle: Joy! : )))

Describe yourself in three words.

Natural – Persistent – crazy 😉

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon nation (not your own):NORWAY
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): MINE 😉
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): SWITZERLAND
Favourite shooting range: NONE
Lucky bib number: 13 (from Mass Start of Kontiolahti 2015)
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: BOE BROTHERS
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: I think there are many nice biathletes on the World Cup.
Best thing about being a biathlete: Biathlon is like life, up and down but you have to do your best always and never give up. You don’t know how it will go but this is biathlon and this is what I like!

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Biathlete23: Season Review 2015/16

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For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 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.

In the first year the total for the men and the women was 802 and last year the total was 948. Excellent a bit of progress! Not this season however. Biathlete23 in 2015/16 had a bit of a “Tiril Eckhoff” season. Full of early promise, mostly disappointment but ending in surprising success!

That’s right Biathlete23 got off to a promising start in Oestersund with Quentin Fillon Maillet wearing 23 in the first race. He also shared a photo of his bib and rifle as he was so excited to be number 23! 😉 He was 4th and the other biathletes also did well meaning we left Sweden with 149 points.

In Hochfilzen Anton Shipulin also got 4th and 2 of the 3 others scored points to make a decent total of 85. Pokljuka wasn’t a great success with 48 points and a top result of 18th from Julian Eberhard.

World Cup 4 in Ruhpolding was better with Susan Dunklee getting a 6th place finish with the others making up 95 points. The second round in Ruhpolding yielded 70 points with another top finish of 6th this time from Evgeniy Garanichev. Antholz was a good round with Anais Bescond in 4th and a points total of 83.

Canmore wasn’t great for bib23 with only 51 points and a best finish of 22nd from Karin Oberhofer. In Presque Isle there was just one more point with 52 and a finish of 15th for Andi Birnbacher.

So biathlete23 went into the World Championships in Oslo with confidence pretty low and in the first 5 races only scored points in one race with Anton Babikov taking 21st place. This led to some pretty desperate action from the coach who decided to change the Twitter hashtag from #biathlete23 to #biathletevingttrois hoping to steal a little of the French success.

It was of course a masterstroke! The coach is a genius! Who got bib23 in the Men’s Individual –Martin Fourcade! I knew there was a very good chance of a medal and Fourcade didn’t let me down! Even though he missed one target he skied his heart out to make sure that biathlete23 would claim their first ever medal at a major Championships and that medal was GOLD!!! Let’s just say there was a lot of celebrating in the biathlete23 camp that evening! 😉

With that success and a few more good results afterwards the points total from Oslo was 113. So it was on to the final World Cup Round in Khanty Mansiysk . Unfortunately things went back to normal there and there was only 1 points scorer from the 4 races which was Alexey Slepov in 27th place!

So in the end the total points score was 760. The Men scored 436 points which would have put them in 18th place in the Total Score between Lowell Bailey and Michal Slesingr. The Women’s points total was 324 making them 25th in the Total Score between Selina Gasparin and Maren Hammerschmidt.

Overall it’s not been a great World Cup season for biathlete23. It’s the tricky third season on the World Cup that all biathletes suffer from! 😉 Fortunately a gold medal can save anyone’s season! Biathlete23 will have a nice holiday and then a hard summer of training to come back better next season! Hopefully we can beat the points total and get some wins on the board. We also have a new unofficial ambassador (unpaid position) Quentin Fillon Maillet to work with Brendan Green! Merci for the photo QFM!!!

For the full results see the biathlete23 page on this blog.

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WC7: Canmore Review 2016!

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Biathlon has swum across the pond this season to take the World Cup across to North America! The first stop is in Canada and we found ourselves in beautiful Canmore. With stunning views and plenty of snow we got to experience biathlon in a winter wonderland.

The first race to take place here was the Men’s Sprint on Thursday. It was won by Martin Fourcade who shot clean to win the race by a comfortable 15.7 seconds. Anton Shipulin came second also shooting clean and Simon Schempp was third with 10/10 too. In fact there were a lot of zero scores on a great day for doing biathlon. Fourth place went to Austria’s Julian Eberhard who missed 2 shots but is skiing amazingly fast. He finished 45 seconds behind Fourcade but if he ever hits all the targets he will be able to beat him. The Austrian Men’s team are in great form at the moment with Simon Eder and Dominik Landertinger in fifth and sixth. Macx Davies was top Canadian in his home race with clean shooting in 25th place.

The Women’s race on Friday threw up a few surprises in part due to the windy conditions. Olena Pidhrushna won for only the second time in her long career. She shot clean and finished 7.5 seconds ahead of Poland’s Krystyna Guzik. Maybe everyone should retire and then make a comeback! It has certainly done Pidhrushna good. It was also Guzik’s second time finishing in second place which is her top finish so far. In third was Dorothea Wierer with yet another podium. The biggest surprise though came in the form of Latvia’s Baiba Bendika who shot clean and finished in 5th place which is a huge personal best for her. Her previous best was 41st so these are also her first ever World Cup points. Germany’s Karolin Horchler also got a personal best in 9th as did France’s Celia Aymonier in 13th.

Saturday began with the Men’s Mass Start and if you thought it was windy on Friday, Saturday was worse! The start of the race had to be delayed due to the strength of the wind. There was a happy ending through the gale though as Italy’s Dominik Windisch won his first ever race on the World Cup. He missed 4 shots but managed to out ski his competitors on the final loop to taste victory for the first time. Second place went to Benedikt Doll who also missed 4 shots and in third was Quentin Fillon Maillet.

The ladies race was slightly calmer although not for Italian fans as they were very excited to see an Italian double as Dorothea Wierer claimed victory! She missed one shot and finished ahead of her rivals for the overall title. Marie Dorin Habert was second and Gabriela Soukalova third. Gabi has certainly enjoyed her time in Canmore as she had time to cross the line backwards to entertain the fans!

The weather was kinder on Sunday for the Relays. We began with Single Mixed Relay and France put out their World Team Challenge winners Martin Fourcade and Marie Dorin Habert. They won by a comfortable margin of 45 seconds and led the race from start to finish. In fact it would have been more surprising if they hadn’t won. Austria also put out a strong team of Lisa Hauser and Simon Eder their best shooters and it paid off as they finished second. Completing the podium in third were the Norwegian duo of Hilde Fenne and Lars Helge Birkeland proving that you don’t need the A team!!

The final race in Canada was the Mixed Relay and similar to the Single Mixed Relay it was dominated by one team. This time it was the German team of Hildebrand, Preuss, Peiffer and Schempp. They only required 4 spare rounds and won by over a minute. Second place was taken by the Italians who have had a remarkable round in Canmore. Wierer, Oberhofer, Hofer and Windisch even survived a penalty loop to finish ahead of third placed Norway. Olsbu, Solemdal, Os and Bogetveit just beat the American team by 2 seconds. It was a great performance from the US Team who head to their home race next week. Home team Canada also had a great race ending their home World Cup round in sixth place.

It has been a good few days in Canmore with great organisation and facilities. There have also been good supportive crowds and all that was missing really was a home podium. The weather was difficult with the unpredictable wind which biathletes hate but we spectators love and it threw up some different results and winners. We leave Canmore with Martin Fourcade and Gabriela Soukalova still in the yellow bibs and now we move across the border to the USA to Presque Isle in Maine and I am sure they will do a great job just like Canmore did. When are we coming back?!!! 🙂

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WC4: Ruhpolding Review 2016: Part 1!

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So we found ourselves in Ruhpolding for round 4 of the World Cup. As you know there is not much snow around so the organisers in Oberhof were forced to cancel the races there. All of which means we have 8 races in 10 days just like a biathlon version of the Tour de Ski!

Coincidentally just like the Tour de Ski we had an all Norwegian podium in the first race in the men’s sprint. Johannes Boe managed to beat his brother Tarjei into second and teammate Emil Hegle Svensen into third. All three shot clear but Johannes just had enough ski speed to defeat the other two. Some might suggest that it was karma as earlier in the week Johannes chose his big brother as his favourite biathlete while Tarjei went for Dorothea Wierer! Sven Grossegger finished 5th, his personal best result, leading an Austrian charge with Eder, Landertinger and Julian Eberhard all making the Top 20.

In the Women’s race Franziska Hildebrand became the first woman this season to win 2 Sprint events by winning her home race. It was a bit surprising as the Top 3 all shot clear but Hildebrand skied a little faster than Gabi Soukalova in second and Kaisa Makarainen in third. However Soukalova was unlucky dropping a ski pole which cost her the chance of victory as she only finished 0.3 of a second behind Hildebrand.

The Men’s Pursuit raced promised to be a great one with Boe,Boe, Svendsen and Fourcade all starting one after the other battling for the victory. So of course Simon Eder won! In a dazzling display of shooting he claimed the third victory of his career. Shooting hampered the others although Fourcade still finished second with 2 misses and Michal Slesingr shot clean to complete the podium.

New Dad Evgeniy Garanichev came from 40th to finish 9th! Simon Fourcade or should we call him Mr. Pursuit this season came from 29th to 13th, teammate Antonin Guigonnat went from 51st to 31st and Alexander Os came from 45th to finish 32nd.

The Women’s race also promised excitement and didn’t disappoint even with Makarainen and Hildebrand bowing out quickly with misses. That left a race long head to head between Soukalova and Dahlmeier. In the end Dahlmeier won by 7 seconds and Dorothea Wierer took her chance to get on the podium in third. Paulina Fialkova made up 9 places to finish a personal best 6th.

Tiril Eckhoff came from 17th to 4th, Lisa Hauser went from 27th to 12th, Karin Oberhofer from 35th to 16th, Valj Semerenko from 41st to 17th, Lucie Charvatova from 42nd to 20th, Olga Abramova from 44th to 25th and Yan Zhang from 51st to 32nd.

The final races of this round were the Mass Starts. In the men’s race Martin Fourcade took victory over Ondrej Moravec in a battle of the new fathers! Despite Moravec being the only biathlete to shoot clean Fourcade was just too quick on the skis. In third was Tarjei Boe with an impressive last lap to deny Simon Fourcade, Dmytro Pidruchnyi and Arnd Pfeiffer who all had a chance at claiming the final podium position. Svendsen was in a good position coming into the final shoot alongside Fourcade but had a nightmare missing 3 shots – very un-Svendsen-like!

The women’s race was dominated by Laura Dahmeier. She shot clean to see off the challenge of Marie Dorin Habert who missed 1 and finished 15 seconds down. The fight for third went right to the line- literally! In a photo finish Tiril Eckhoff beat Anais Bescond by a toe nail to get onto the podium. Japan’s Fuyuko Tachizaki (formerly Suzuki) shot clean in 10th to get her best ever result in an individual race.

So that’s it for Ruhpolding we now set off for…..Ruhpolding!! Round 5 involves a crazy schedule with the Men’s Individual on Wednesday and the Women’s on Thursday followed by the Men’s Relay on Friday, the 2 Mass Starts on Saturday and the Women’s Relay on Sunday!

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WC2: Hochfilzen 2015 Review!

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The weekend in Hochfilzen started with some biathletes voicing their concerns over climate change and it was a timely reminder that once again there is no snow in December! The races were held on limited tracks surrounded by grass and sunshine!

Still the races went ahead and first off were the Women in the Sprint. The race was dominated by the Germans which probably didn’t please their Austrian hosts very much! Franziska Hildebrand was fantastic getting her first ever win on the World Cup with some cool shooting on the range. In second was newcomer to the World Cup Maren Hammerschmidt. With a start bib of 106 she managed to push teammate Miriam Goessner into third. It’s really good to see Goessner looking back to her old self again. In fact overall the 6 Germans in the race all finished in the TOP 21. The Czech Republic’s Lucie Charvatova came 5th to get her personal best finish since changing to biathlon from cross country.

In the Men’s Sprint another German won and this time it was Simon Schempp recovering from a horrific Sprint race in Oestersund to stand on top of the podium. Second place went to Martin Fourcade with one miss denying him another victory. In third was Tarjei Boe who also looks back to his old form.

The Pursuits were held on Saturday and unsurprisingly a German won the Women’s race but this time it was a different one! Laura Dahlmeier was great on the shooting range and her third shoot is really what made the difference on the day. Maren Hammerschmidt held on to second place and in third was yellow bib wearer Gabriela Soukalova. It was a disappointing weekend for Kaisa Makarainen who was 28th in the Sprint and 23rd in the Pursuit.

For the men Martin Fourcade was outstanding on his final shoot hitting five targets so quickly that the others didn’t stand a chance, even if he tried his best to finish the race after 3 shoots! Schempp hung on for second and Anton Shipulin made his first visit of the season to the podium in third.

Other impressive displays in the Pursuit races came from Tiril Eckhoff who went from 30th to 5th, Weronika Nowakowska 41st to 26th, Teja Gregorin 44th to 27th, Elisabeth Hoegberg 59th to 17th, Benjamin Weger 40th to 24th, and Erik Lesser 43rd to 25th.

The Relays came on Sunday and provided some great racing. Both the Men’s and Women’s races were much more competitive than the Mixed Relay in Oestersund and more entertaining to watch. The Women went first and history was created as the Italian Team of Karin Oberhofer, Federica Sanfilippo, Lisa Vittozzi and Dorothea Wierer won their first ever Relay. It was a close battle with the Germans in second but Wierer beat Franziska Preuss on the last leg by only 0.2 of a second. The Ukrainian Team were third with Olena Pidhrushna fighting off Poland, Belarus and France to take the last podium position.

The Men’s race was equally exciting as Russia took victory over Norway by 3.1 seconds. It all came down to the last lap were Anton Shipulin came from behind to beat Emil Hegle Svendsen. Martin Fourcade brought the French Team home in third. This meant that over the 2 Relays there were 6 different nationalities on the podiums which is great for the sport.

Now attention turns to Pokljuka for the final World Cup round before the Christmas break. Martin Fourcade and Gabriela Soukalova continue in the yellow bibs but there are more and more people determined to chase them down. A Sprint, Pursuit and the first Mass Start of the season await us in Slovenia!

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Aiming for the Top: Season Preview Women 2015/16

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After the news that last season’s champion Darya Domracheva has decided to take the season off to recover from mononucleosis we have been denied the chance to see her go head to head again with Kaisa Makarainen. Bad news for us but good news for Kaisa as she is the now the clear favourite to regain the Overall Title. It will be difficult for the other female biathletes to challenge her due to her superior ski speed but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be trying their best to beat her.

The main competition to Kaisa will come from the Ukraine, Germany, The Czech Republic, Italy, France and hopefully Norway. Last season’s third place biathlete in the Total Score was Valj Semerenko. It was her best season to date and it seems she did better without her twin sister Vita who might miss another season due to injury.

The biggest challenge to Kaisa could come from Germany and not just from 1 biathlete but possibly from 3. Franziska Hildebrand was 5th in the Total Score last season, Laura Dahlmeier was 8th and Franziska Preuss was 9th. They are all young, hungry biathletes and if they can produce their form from last season and put some more consistent points scoring races together they will be a real threat. Dahlmeier looks the most dangerous as she has shown she is capable of winning races but her inexperience may count against her.

Veronika Vitkova and Gabriela Soukalova were 4th and 6th respectively last season and both have the talent to improve their positions. If Soukalova has a better start to the season we could see her on the podium much more often and hopefully she has concentrated more on her summer training this year than her commercial deals. Vitkova will be looking for more wins and more podiums and could end up on the Overall podium at the end of the year although I’m not sure it will be on the top step.

Dorothea Wierer, 7th last season, and Karin Oberhofer,10th, constitute the danger from Italy. Both had fantastic seasons and with a few more good results they could both move up the rankings. They can challenge Makarainen in individual races but I am not sure if they can sustain it over an entire season.

Someone with possibly the best chance of stealing the crystal globe from the clutches of Makarainen is France’s Marie Dorin Habert. She finished 15th in the Total Score but didn’t compete in all the races after having her first child. However when she did turn up she was on the best form of her life. Strangely she won her first race just last season so it may be a bit premature to call her a title contender but she has what it takes to outscore Kaisa if she maintains last season’s form and can consistently be on and around the podium.

Another first time mum is making her way back into biathlon and Selina Gasparin will be hoping to copy the success of Habert. You may also note that the Russian biathletes are completely absent from the Top 10 with Ekaterina Glazyrina their best biathlete in 13th. I can’t really see any of the Russian women in the hunt for the crystal globe this season either.

Tiril Eckhoff is Norway’s big hope in the Total Score. She was 11th last year and she will be under pressure to perform this season. She has the talent to win races and be very competitive but seems to lack the consistency required to compete for the Overall Title. She may also be focussing her season on her home World Championships.

It will also be a big year for the North American ladies. They get to race at home this season with World Cups in Canmore and Presque Isle. The likes of Rosanna Crawford, Megan Tandy, Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissigacker will be desperate to do well in front of their home crowd.

Away from the Overall winner there is some young talent to keep an eye on. Ukraine’s Iryna Varvynets looks like a good prospect along with the French pair Enora Latuilliere and Justine Braisaz. Germany’s Luise Kummer and Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser were impressive last season and Elisa Gasparin will be looking to build on her good form as will Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi.

It’s hard to see past Makarainen for the Overall Title but it is biathlon and anything can happen. It should be an exciting season in the women’s races with lots of new young talent coming through who will be trying to get a podium or break into the Top 10 or Top 20. We can look forward to a lot of fantastic women Aiming for the Top!

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