Biathlon is back after the Christmas break and we find ourselves in Oberhof! Or do we? You might not recognise it because of all the snow but it is in fact Oberhof. After a few years struggling with no snow , you may remember last year’s World Cup was moved to Ruhpolding, now there is too much!
It meant a difficult race for the Men’s Sprint on Thursday afternoon with fresh snow on the tracks making them slower and changing wind and snow conditions throughout the race. Although it’s good for the fans as it throws up some different results.
After his near total domination before Christmas Martin Fourcade didn’t win! (Of course he chooses the race when he is in bib23 to do it but I won’t hold a grudge…..well just a small one!) Instead we saw Austria’s Julian Eberhard win the second race of his career. He is one of the fastest skiers in the field and if he hits the targets he always has the chance to win. It’s just that he doesn’t hit them that often! Today he did and with 9/10, just 1 miss in the prone, he won by almost 11 seconds. I have a theory that the wind makes his bullets hit when they normally miss so if it’s bad conditions put your money on Eberhard! 😉
Second place went to the Czech Republic’s Michal Slesingr who also missed just one target and in third place was Dominik Windisch from Italy also with 1 miss. Martin Fourcade finished in 8th after missing 3 shots in the standing shoot. He was beaten for the first time this season by rivals Simon Schempp in 6th and Emil Svendsen in 7th. It should make for a fun Pursuit on Saturday!
Two biathletes managed to shoot 10/10 in the tough conditions. Lukas Hofer who started in bib 70 cleared the targets to finish 4th just 0.1 of a second from 3rd place and South Korea’s Lee In-bok came 51st, his career best result.
There were more personal best World Cup results from the Czech Republic’s Adam Vaclavik in 17th, Germany’s Matthias Bischl in 22nd, Poland’s Grzegorz Guzik in 26th and Croatia’s Kresimir Crnkovic in 37th. It wasn’t a good race from Klemen Bauer however as a problem with his rifle meant he had to use the team’s spare and missed all 5 prone targets and 2 in the stand eventually finishing in 96th place.
The women were treated to much better conditions on Friday. The sun was out and the wind was calm which made for a lot of good shooting. Gabriela Koukalova started where she finished off in Nove Mesto by taking the win with 10/10. Second place went to Kaisa Makarainen who missed 2 shots in the standing but must be skiing really fast to end up second. Third place went to Marie Dorin Habert who missed 1 shot.
Laura Dahlmeier decided not to race today but should be back for the Mass Start on Sunday. Darya Domracheva made her long awaited comeback and finished 37th with 2 misses. Anais Chevalier continued her good form in 4th and the best German on the day was Maren Hammerschmidt in 5th.
Chardine Sloof who is now racing for Sweden got her personal best result with clean shooting in 10th. Poland’s Gwizdon and Guzik had good races on 8th and 11th places respectively and China’s Jialin Tang made it back into the points in 20th.
It sets up two very exciting Pursuit races tomorrow and who knows what the conditions will be like! I can’t wait!
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