Tag Archives: Lena Haecki

Season Review 2019/20: The Women!

As a responsible citizen I have recycled the photo from last season! 😉

What can you say about season 2019/20 in biathlon! Obviously it got cut short by the corona virus but that also gave us a thrilling end to what has been another great season of biathlon on the women’s side.

Everything came down to the last race – the pursuit in Kontiolahti. There were two women in the running for the overall title Dorothea Wierer the defending champion (expected) and Tiril Eckhoff (totally unexpected)!

We are used to Eckhoff having some great races but they are usually few and far between. This season however it was like she was a different biathlete altogether. She has always been a brilliant skier but this season she finally discovered how to shoot! What I mean by that is hitting targets on a consisitent basis and not having some of the meltdowns and disasters on the range that have characterised her career up to now.

It was fantastic to see Eckhoff finally showing her true biathlon potential and not just having a few exceptional days in a season. In fact this season she won 7 races including 3 pursuits which won her the small crystal globe for topping the standings in that event.

We know all about Hanna Oeberg’s talent and sometimes forget she is still just 23 (great age!). She proved it again this season winning the individual title and claiming 1 win in the Pokljuka mass start and a bronze at World Champs also in the mass start.

The sprint globe was won by Denise Herrmann at the last minute! She was second in the standings heading into the final race in Kontiolahti which she won. Dorothea Wierer who was leading the standings could only finish 19th and that gave the German the small crystal globe. Herrmann had an amazing end to the season winning three races including a perfect individual in Pokljuka. If she had started better she could have had a shot at winning the overall.

The mass start globe went to Dorothea Wierer. She had an extremely consisitent season with her worst result being 24th! She won 4 races in total although none in the mass start!

The rookie of the season award went to Elvira Oeberg who announced her arrival on to the World Cup with a 12th place finish in the sprint in the opening round in Oestersund. She followed that up with 13th in the sprint at World Championships and then got her best result so far of 8th in the Nove Mesto sprint. It seems she likes the sprint! 😉

At the World Championships in Antholz it was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who was the big winner. She won an unprecedented 7 medals in 7 races, 5 gold and 2 bronze. She won all three relays, the women’s, mixed and single mixed as well as the sprint and the mass start. She took bronze in the individual and the pursuit. It was an incredible achievement.

Wierer also had a terrific home World Champs winning the pursuit and individual gold medals in her back garden! She also picked up silver in the mixed relay and showed everyone just how easy the standing shoot is rattling 5 targets down in the women’s relay! 😉

We had only one first time winner this season and it came in the very last race when Julia Simon took victory in the Kontiolahti pursuit. Making on to the podium for the first time were Lena Haecki who was third in the Annecy pursuit, Linn Persson who was third in the Annecy mass start and of course Lucie Charvatova who picked up a bronze medal in the World Championships sprint!

Back to the World Cup and the outcome of that final race for the big crystal globe. Up until the final shoot Eckhoff was the virtual champion but in the final standing she missed three targets to Wierer’s one which ruined her chance. She would finish 10th and with Wierer in 11th it meant the Italian took the title by just 7 points! She is the first women to defend the overall title in 18 years since Magdalena Forsberg. Quite incredible!

The women’s relay was totally dominated by Norway who won every single race! They are a strong team but there are many thing that can go wrong in relays and to win six out of six is astonishing although it does help to have Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland in your team!

The single mixed relays on the other hand were shared out. Sweden won the first race in Oestersund with Hanna Oeberg and Sebastian Samuelsson. France won in Pokljuka with Anais Bescond and Emilien Jaquelin and Norway took World Championship gold in Antholz with Roeiseland and Johannes Boe.

Last but certainly not least the end of the season saw the retirement of a legend! Kaisa Makarainen decided to call it a day at home in Kontiolahti. It seems like she has been around forever and will be sorely missed. She won three overall titles and raced against some of the greats of biathlon. She has been a fantastic ambassador for Finnish biathlon and biathlon in general and was universally popular. Hopefully she will return in some capacity like a coach or commentator. Good luck Queen Kaisa!

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Antholz 2020: The Single Mixed Relay!

It wouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist to predict the winner of the single mixed relay! When Norway name Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Johannes Thingnes Boe as their team you know they were after the win and another gold medal.

And that’s exactly what happened – the won and got the gold medal! However it wasn’t the procession that you may have expected, they had to work for this one.

With a tricky wind again in the range it was Hanna Oeberg and Franziska Preuss who took an early lead both hitting 5/5 in the first prone. Roeiseland needed 1 spare which put her behind. She caught up the front two by the stand though and cleaned to tag Norway in the lead. The Swiss were second with Lena Haecki, Sweden third and France fourth with Anais Bescond.

Boe skied away from the chasers but then quickly lost all his lead needing a spare on the prone. That meant Benjamin Weger and Erik Lesser could catch up and leave the range together with Boe. At the stand Boe used 2 spares while Weger and Lesser cleaned. That left the Swiss and Germans ahead with Norway playing catch up.

It didn’t take long for Roeiseland to make up for Boe’s errors and she was with Haecki and Oeberg after the prone shoot. They had been joined by golden girl Dorothea Wierer but not for long. In the stand she would take a penalty loop while Roeiseland, Preuss and Haecki cleaned. Oeberg needed two spares.

Lesser took over in the lead and in the prone both he and Boe cleaned but Weger needed two spares. This meant that clean shooting Sebastian Samuelsson moved into third.

Boe put the pressure on Lesser skiing hard and opening up a gap before the final shoot. He hit all five while Lesser used 1 spare. That was enough to give him a comfortable ski to take the victory. Behind them Samuelsson had to use two spares and that gave Emilien Jacquelin a chance. He hit all five and went on to secure the bronze medal for France behind Germany in silver and Norway in bronze.

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

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Oestersund 2019: The Relays!

Norway’s men won the battle in the sprints and the French men won the battle in the individual! Saturday’s men’s relay would decide who won the war of Oestersund!

OK that might be a little dramatic but we love a bit of drama and that’s what we got in the relay! The first leg was won by Germany with a great start from Erik Lesser. He shot well to hand over ahead of Italy’s Lukas Hofer and France’s Emilien Jacquelin. Norway were 5th with Johannes Dale having a solid first leg using just 2 spares.

Sweden came out on top in the second leg thanks to Jesper Nelin. He coped best in the conditions to give Martin Ponsiluoma a 10 second lead. Behind Nelin came Norway and Italy after good legs from Erlend Bjoentegaard and Thomas Bormolini. Quentin Fillon Maillet went on the penalty loop but skied very fast to make it into third at the exchange ahead of Bormolini.

Tarjei Boe took over for Norway and caught Ponsiluoma before the first prone. Boe needed just one spare which put him into the lead. Simon Desthieux was chasing after Sweden went on the penalty loop and 22-year-old Daniele Cappellari had a great leg for Italy putting them in third.

Tarjei handed over an 11 second lead to his brother Johannes and it was all he needed to take the win for Norway. Fourcade did his best to chase him down with a faultless shoot to Boe’s 2 spares but it wasn’t enough. Dominik Windisch held on to third place for Italy after a fight with Russia.

Russia were 4th, Sweden 5th and Ukraine 6th.

So Norway won the war then? No of course not the wind always wins in Oestersund!

On Sunday it was the women’s turn to race and it was another great relay.

The first leg was once again dominated by Lisa Vittozzi. She cleaned the prone and used 1 spare in the stand to give Italy a 15 second lead at the first exchange. Behind her were Norway with Karoline Kntten and Sweden’s Linn Persson.

Nicole Gontier took the second leg for Italy but she incurred a penalty loop on the prone and put them out of contention. Elvira Oeberg took over the lead for Sweden and held it to the second exchange despite the close attention of Justine Braisaz. Norway came next with Ingrid Tandrevold and then Selina Gasparin for Switzerland and Germany’s Denise Herrmann.

Mona Brorsson took the third leg for the home team but was caught by Tiril Eckhoff and they came into the range together. They both shot 5/5 as did Aita Gasparin. In the stand the Swede cleaned while Eckhoff needed 2 spares. Gasparin cleaned again for the perfect leg.

By the exchange Brorsson had a three second lead to hand to Hanna Oeberg who was closely followed by Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. Next came Franziska Preuss and Lena Haecki. The three chasers all cleaned the prone but Oeberg needed all 3 of her spares.

Roeiseland took the lead on the track but had to use 2 spares in the final stand. However it was enough to secure the lead and take Norway to victory again matching the men’s relay team.

The battle was on for second with Oeberg storming back with a clean stand and Haecki using a single spare. They were neck and neck until Haecki made a decisive break and Oeberg just couldn’t catch her. It was an historic second place for the Swiss women’s team with the three Gasparin sisters and Haecki getting their country’s first podium in the women’s relay needing just 4 spare rounds to do it!

Sweden were third with another good result. Germany were 4th, Russia 5th and France 6th.

The action now moves to Hochfilzen for round 2 of the World Cup.

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Oestersund 2019: The Individuals!

Mon Dieu, Zut alors, tres bien, restaurant and other French words!!! What a race in the Oestersund Individual for the French Men’s team! They took the top four places in one race which hasn’t been done since 2009.

Leading them was Martin Fourcade who took his first win of the season shooting 19/20. He looks in much better shape than last year thank goodness! Second place went to Simon Desthieux who also shot 19/20 but was 12.7 seconds behind Fourcade. Skiing like the wind in third was Quentin Fillon Maillet who missed 3 targets!

Fourth went to Emilien Jacquelin which is also his personal best with 2 misses. In fact 5 of the the top 7 were French with Fabien Claude coming home in 7th place with 18/20. We won’t mention the 6th member of the team though! We will mention the wax team however who prepared some excellent skis which worked really well in warming conditions.

Benjamin Weger had an excellent race in 5th and Tarjei Boe was 6th. Johannes Boe looked tired today but still finished 10th shooting 18/20. I hope he hasn’t got what Martin had last season!

There were only two men who shot clean and they were Anton Babikov in 14th and Krasimir Anev in 15th. China’s Fangmeng Cheng got a huge personal best in 22nd improving by around 60 places!!! I wonder if it has anything to do with his new coach! 😉

Jakub Stvrtecky was 32nd getting a personal best with 3 misses. Junior Champion Alex Cisar from Slovenia made his World Cup debut at 19 years old and was 92nd.

Unluckily for me I used up all my french words for the men but I should have saved some as the Women’s Individual also went to France. Justine Braisaz who had an awful sprint race on Sunday was fantastic missing 2 shots but still winning by just over 11 seconds. She came from nowhere to take her second World Cup win.

The only woman in the whole field to shoot 20/20 was Yuliia Dzhima and it was good enough for second place. Julia Simon got another podium for France and a personal best for herself in third with 2 misses.

Ingrid Tandrevold was 4th, Larisa Kuklina 5th with her personal best and Lena Haecki was 6th despite 3 misses.

Dorothea Wierer finished 7th, two places ahead of teammate and rival Lisa Vittozzi who was 9th.

There were also personal bests for Tamara Voronina in 14th, Grete Gaim in 27th and Anastassiya Kondratyeva in 34th.

Next races in Oestersund are the men’s relay on Saturday and the women’s relay on Sunday. Man the Swedes must really love a relay as they are getting 4 this week! 🙂


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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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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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Ruhpolding 2019: The Mass Starts!

WOW! What can I say about the Ruhpolding mass starts! It was a fantastic reminder (not that we need it) that biathlon is by far the greatest sport in the world! 🙂

The men raced first and what a race it was going right down to the wire! It was Johannes Boe who came out on top but he had to work very, very hard for this win.

It was tight from the start with Boe, Martin Fourcade and Tarjei Boe clearing the first 15 shots and staying together on the track. Julian Eberhard was there too skiing hard to make up for an earlier miss.

These four came to the final shoot together and the pressure was huge. Tarjei missed two and was out of it, then Eberhard missed 1, Fourcade missed 1 and then Johannes missed 1!!!

That gave the following athletes the chance to take the lead with Benjamin Weger, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Vetle Christiansen all on the range while the others were on the penalty loop. They all cleaned the last shoot to head out in the lead. The only problem was they only had 8 seconds on the chasers. With Boe and Eberhard and Fourcade behind them it wasn’t enough.

They were soon caught and then it came down to three men with Fourcade not being able to keep the pace. In the final straight there was a small incident with Eberhard and Fillon Maillet but Boe was already in front and couldn’t be stopped. It was another great race from Johannes extending his lead in the overall. Eberhard took second and Fillon Maillet third.

Fourcade was 4th, Christiansen 5th and Simon Desthieux 6th.

The women’s race was even closer! It was decided by just 0.2 seconds on the line in a sprint finish between Franziska Preuss and Ingrid Tandrevold. It was Preuss who had more energy at the end and sent the massive home crowd wild taking her first ever World Cup win. Tandrevold put up a great fight and got her first podium as a reward.

It was a close race all the way with 18/30 women going clean on the first shoot. Dorothea Wierer was fastest on shoot 1 and 2 but Lena Haecki was with her all the way at the front.

At the first stand Wierer missed 2 and Haecki 1 to let Preuss, Tandrevold and Linn Persson go ahead all three hitting 15/15. Vittozzi was also there after an early miss in the first prone as was Denise Herrmann.

The final shoot was decisive with Preuss and Tandrevold going clear. Vittozzi and Herrmann missed and so it was a ski race to the finish. Home girl Preuss took it on the line with a strong skiing performance. Paulina Fialkova leapt up to third after a clean final shoot and a great ski on the final lap.

Hanna Oberg was 4th, Lena Haecki 5th and Iryna Kryuko 6th. Linn Persson shot clean and was 7th getting her personal best result.

The action moves to Antholz now with the women’s sprint on Thursday.

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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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Oestersund 2016: The Pursuits!

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Like a spoonful of Lingonberry jam the end of the weekend was surprisingly good! We ended a great start to the World Cup season in Oestersund with the Pursuit races and they didn’t disappoint.

First off was the women’s race with Marie Dorin Habert staring first. That only lasted until the first shoot however when she missed 2 shots and blew her chances of winning. Circling like sharks behind her were Makarainen, Koukalova and Dahlmeier. Only Laura and Gabi shot clear however and the win from then was between those two.

In the end it was the cool head of Koukalova who kept it together on the range. She missed only 1 target on the third shoot but never lost the lead. Surprisingly Dahlmeier missed two targets and so couldn’t fight for the win. She did have to fight for second though as Dorothea Wierer came from 19th place shooting the perfect 20/20 to finish third. They left the final shoot together but Dalmeier managed to pull away on the final lap. Makarainen came home in 5th missing 4 shots in total and Dorin Habert was 7th missing 6 targets after shooting so well in the Sprint the day before.

In fourth place was Switzerland’s Lena Haecki who had an outstanding race. She shot 20/20 and moved from 12th to 4th to get her personal best result on the World Cup.

Other great gains were made by Yuliia Dzhima who went from 21st to 9th, Veronika Vitkova from 35th to 18th, Anastasia Zagoruiko from 43rd to 29th and Clare Egan from 44th to 30th.

Unexpectedly the men’s race was even better. Thanks to Martin Fourcade missing 4 shots we got a new winner. The beneficiary was Russian’s Anton Babikov who got his first ever World Cup victory coming from 7th and missing just 1 shot. His teammate Maxim Tsvetkov moved from 11th into second with a perfect shoot. Fourcade still came third despite his misses.

Anton Shipulin made it 3 Russians in the top 10 finishing 8th and Simon Schempp finally turned up getting 9th place. Michal Krcmar had a fantastic racing starting in 38th he finished 7th, and Johannes Boe went from 30th to 10th. Jean Guillaume Beatrix went from 23rd to 11th, Henrik L’Abee Lund from 58th to 19th, Evgeniy Garanichev from 49th to 30th and Roman Rees from 57th to 36th.

So the first World Cup round in Oestersund is over already! Too quick! We move to Pokljuka next week with Martin Fourcade and Laura Dahlmeier in the yellow bibs leading the overall title race.

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Oestersund 2016: The Sprints!

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Like eating pickled herring for breakfast, the Sprint races in Oestersund were ridiculous! Ridiculously good I mean -that’s the biathlon not the herring! 😉

Sweden definitely served up some great entertainment today. Without the wind the shooting was much easier and saw a lot more biathletes shoot clean. In the women’s race Marie Dorin Habert went off like a rocket taking time out of most of her rivals on the tracks. She also had the composure to shoot clean which took her a bit longer than she might have liked on her standing shoot taking plenty of time over her final target.

She won by 11.4 seconds in the end but it could have been different if Kaisa Makarainen hadn’t missed 1 target. She skied faster than Dorin Habert but the miss meant she couldn’t win. In third was reigning champion Gabriela Koukalova whose shooting was good but her skiing wasn’t as good as the first two.

Fourth place went to Laura Dahlmeier who also missed 1 target which meant she couldn’t challenge for first either. Another impressive display from Lisa Hauser saw her finish fifth and Lena Haecki also had a great race in 12th. Sweden has another two ladies in the Top 25, with Anna Magnusson in 14th and Emma Nilsson, in 24th to please the home crowd.

The home crowd were even more pleased in the Men’s Sprint when Freddie Lindstroem finally got back on the podium after 3 years! He shot clean to finish in second but unfortunately for him so did Martin Fourcade and he won the race by a ridiculous 41.5 seconds! Third place went to Arnd Peiffer who also shot clean.

Teammate Benedick Doll was fourth with one miss and Julian Eberhard was fifth with two misses just 46 seconds behind Fourcade. Simon Desthieux was 8th and Simon Fourcade 10th making it a good day for the French team. Fourcade’s main rivals all finished outside the Top 20 except for Svendsen who was 14th making it an even better day for the French!

There was however another ridiculous result this time from Sweden’s Sebastian Samuelsson making his World Cup debut aged 19. He shot clean and came 19th just 1 minute and 9 seconds behind Fourcade! I told you to watch out for him!

So tomorrow is the final day in Oestersund and whatever you do, DO NOT miss the Women’s Pursuit! Marie, Kaisa, Gabi and Laura starting within 25 seconds of each other!! It has the makings of another ridiculous race! There is the men’s race too but Martin Fourcade will probably win again! Has he won the World Cup already?

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