Tag Archives: Martin Fourcade

Spring Things 2019!

It’s summer! Not a biathlon fans favourite season is it? But it means there is only autumn between now and winter! Before the biathlon23 summer season of interviews starts it’s time to remind you what things happened in spring. That’s right -it’s Spring Things!!!

Retirements:

Well we all got a shock in May when Laura Dahlmeier announced her retirement at the age of 25! (How dare she!!) It was pretty well known that she wouldn’t be a Bjoerndalen and carry on forever but we thought we could get another Olympics out of her at least! Gabriela Koukalova who hasn’t raced for 2 seasons confirmed that she won’t be coming back and so is another biathlon pensioner!

Other retirements in spring included Henrik L’Abee Lund who joins Bjoerndalen and Svendsen in putting his feet up on the Norwegian sofa. Canada’s Erin Yungblut also ended her career as did Finland’s Laura Toivanen.

Relationships:

It was a spring of weddings this year with Eva Puskarcikova tying the knot. Russian pair Nikita Porshnev and Anastasiia Morozova also got married to each other. Monika Hojnisz married another Polish nordic star cross-country skier Maciej Starega.

Anais Chevalier will miss the season after she announced that she is pregnant with her first child. Congratulations to all of them!

In tragic news young Russian biathlete Artemii Khasankaev passed away.

Coaching carousel:

As usual we had the annual swapping of biathlon coaches. Sometimes I think they just put all the names in a hat and then the countries pick them out like a raffle!

Michael Greis left the US men’s team and is now coaching the Polish women’s team after Nadiya Bilova stepped down for health reasons. Norwegian Vegard Bitnes takes over the US men’s team.

Also in North America Mathias Ahrens is no longer coaching the Canadian national team but will coach for Biathlon Alberta.

Wolfgang Pichler retired from Sweden and was replaced by Anders Byström who will be the National Team Manager and Johannes Lukas who takes over the position of National Team Coach.

Russia have added another coach with the appointment of Maxim Maksimov as assistant to the head coach.

Simon Fourcade is the new coach of the French Junior team.

And if you have followed all that you deserve a medal! Not an Olympic one of course maybe just a bronze from a World Cup round! 😉

Injuries:

The bike strikes again this time with Erik Lesser falling off and breaking his collarbone. Vetle Christiansen had surgery to correct an issue with his left knee. Anna Magnusson also had an operation on a ligament in her left hand. Tiril Eckhoff had a rollerski accident ending with an enormous lump on her hip.

Other things of spring:

Martin Fourcade announced that he will be hosting a nordic festival over the weekend of the 31st of August in Annecy. He has ingeniously called it the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival! How did he come up with that! 😉
Most of the big stars in biathlon will be there including Johannes Boe! Imagine if he beats Fourcade in his own competition!!!

Kaisa Makarainen, Liza Vittozzi and Dorothea Wierer will be competing along with many of the French biathletes amongst others.

We also had the excitement of the Giro d’Italia finishing a stage in the Antholz biathlon arena watched on by all the Italian biathletes. It was nice to see but we don’t really want to encourage other sports that are not as good as biathlon, do we!

Dorothea Wierer also put in an appearance at the Moto GP race in Mugello getting a photo with some guy called Marquez. Better still she also got a photo with Herbert Cool the former Dutch biathlete and now biathlon commentator who is moonlighting at the Moto GP in the summer!

The IBU announced a few changes with prize money now being awarded to the top 20 finishers instead of the top 15. Why stop there? Shouldn’t it be the Top 40 – if you get a point, you get a prize!

They have also introduced a “season opening” to open the 2020/21 season in Kontiolahti. (They get their naming ideas from Martin Fourcade!) I think this is basically just an extra World Cup round that they can’t call World Cup 1 as Oestersund was already given the title!

The IBU also held a gender equality conference in Poland which is an excellent initiative. Biathlon is one of the most gender equal sports when it comes to the athletes but has a long way to go with a lack of female coaches and women in leadership positions.

Last but certainly not least the IPC have announced that Para-biathlon will have it’s own World Championship this season for the first time! They will take place in Oestersund from the 11th to 15th March 2020 without a cross-country skier in sight!!!
(Up until now cross-country and biathlon have had combined World Championships.)

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Season Review 2018/19: The Men!

Well, well, well you didn’t expect that at the start of the season did you? After 7 years of total domination Martin Fourcade’s reign as Overall champion is over. Johannes Boe is the new champion finally living up to his potential!

However we have basically just swapped one dominant biathlete for another as no one got near Boe in the Total Score.He accumulated 1262 points to win his first big crystal globe. Second place went to Alexander Loginov with 856 points and third to Quentin Fillon Maillet with 843 points.

There were only 8 men who even won a race this season including Boe but we did have 4 brand new victors which is always good to see.

At the start of the season in Pokljuka it looked like business as usual for Martin Fourcade as he won the first race of the season taking victory in the individual. It didn’t continue that way as we know with Boe winning both the sprint and pursuit.

It was still pretty even in Hochfilzen with Boe taking the sprint but Fourcade the pursuit. Yes we thought – a proper battle for number one! Alas we were to be disappointed on that front but Boe gave us some amazing races to enjoy along the way.

He really turned the screw in Nove Mesto winning all three races and taking a lot of points from the others. In Oberhof we got our first new winner of the season with Alexander Loginov taking the sprint for his debut win on the World Cup. I imagine it might have come sooner if he had decided to be a clean athlete and didn’t miss two years with a doping ban.

Johannes came back to win the pursuit and did the double in Ruhpolding with sprint and pursuit victory. He won the same two races in Antholz but in the mass start the biathlon gods finally looked down on Quentin Fillon Maillet and gave him his first ever World Cup win. After 5 second place finishes in his career he really deserved it.

In Canmore there was just the short individual which Boe won but in Soldier Hollow he didn’t get a victory for the first time at a World Cup round!! Instead it was teammate Vetle Christiansen who got his maiden World Cup win in the sprint. The pursuit went to Fillon Maillet who waited ages for his first win and then gets another one shortly after. I wonder if he takes the bus! 😉

In Oestersund at the World Championships there was no such domination from one athlete with four different winners in the individual events (hurrah!). The sprint of course went to Johannes Boe but Dmytro Pidruchnyi won the pursuit which was his first ever win, Arnd Peiffer took the individual and the mass start went to Dominik Windisch in a race we won’t forget for a long time.

At the final round in Holmenkollen it was the Boe show! He won all three races; the sprint, pursuit and mass start with some fantastic performances. He also broke the record for the most wins in a single season. He won 16 races!!! Unboelievable!!! The previous record was 14 which Martin Fourcade did last year to match Magdalena Forsberg. I’m sure he was delighted it was broken so quickly!!! 😉

It was a clean sweep of all the small globes for Boe in the sprint, pursuit, individual and mass start unsurprisingly.

Rookie of the year went to another Norwegian called Johannes but this time it was Mr. Dale who won it!

Relays
In the four relays before World Championships Sweden won the first in Hochfilzen, Russia won in Oberhof and Norway triumphed in both Ruhpolding and Canmore. In Oestersund it was Norway who took the gold with Lars Helge Birkelund, Vetle Christiansen and the Boe brothers making up the team.

There were just two mixed relays before the Worlds and both were won by the French. In Oestersund it was Norway who took the gold. The team of Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Vetle Christiansen and Johannes Boe were too strong for the other teams.

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Holmenkollen 2019: The Sprints!

All the talk before the final World Cup round in Holmenkollen was about the two Italian women Vittozzi and Wierer but in the sprint it was two Slovakians who made the podium!

Anastasiya Kuzmina loves the sprint and she loves Oslo so obviously she won the final sprint of the season and with it the small crystal globe. Unfortunately it was also her last ever sprint as she has announced her retirement from the sport. With her little brother Anton Shipulin also having retired this season we have lost a whole family!!! 😦

She had a great last sprint though despite missing 1 shot in the prone she skied way better than anyone else to secure her fifth win in Oslo in her career. She finished 21 seconds ahead of second placed Franziska Pruess who shot clean to get her second podium of the season.

Third place went to Paulina Fialkova who also shot clean. Celia Aymonier achieved her personal best in 4th with 10/10. Denise Herrmann was 5th and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 6th.

It was a bad day for the overall leader Lisa Vittozzi who missed 5 shots in total and finished in 68th place meaning she got no points and didn’t qualify for Saturday’s pursuit. Her main rival Dorothea Wierer missed 1 target to finish 11th and took the lead in the total score outright.

It was a better day for Emma Lunder shooting 10/10 to get her career best result in 9th. Elena Kruchinkina got her PB in 18th with 1 miss.

You will never guess who won the men’s sprint! Oh wait you will because it was Johannes Thingnes Boe again! He already has the sprint crystal globe but now he also has 14 wins in one season to match the MF mafia of Magdalena Forsberg and Martin Fourcade. However he still has two races left to try and break it and make a bit of biathlon history.

He won today by 31.7 seconds despite missing a target in the stand. I think he doesn’t like the stand so much these days! 😉

Second place went to Lukas Hofer who hit 10/10 and had a fantastic race but Boe out skied him by a mile so there wasn’t much else he could have done. Third place went to Quentin Fillon Maillet who also hit 10/10 continuing his amazing season.

In the absence of Martin Fourcade who isn’t racing in Oslo, Fillon Maillet is fighting for second place in the Overall Score and has a chance to win the pursuit crystal globe too.

Julian Eberhard had a super fast ski finishing 4th with 2 misses. Tarjei Boe was 5th with 9/10 and Benedikt Doll had a great ski time too in 6th with 8/10.

Felix Leitner got his personal best in 10th with the perfect shoot. Lucas Fratzscher got his PB in 31st even with 2 misses.

The pursuit races are on Saturday with Dorothea Wierer and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland battling it out for the small crystal globe for the women and Johannes Boe and Quentin Fillon Maillet for the men.

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Oestersund 2019: The Relays!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Oestersund 2019: 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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Oestersund 2019: Men’s Sprint!

As reliable as a Volvo in the sprint races it was of course Johannes Thingnes Boe who took the gold medal for the second time in his career. He won the same race back in Kontiolahti in 2015 with exactly the same shooting score. He loves the sprint, doesn’t he! Even though he missed a shot in the stand he still out skied everyone else to take a comfortable victory.

It’s lucky that he is such an amazing skier because the biathletes in 2nd to 8th all hit the perfect 10. The fastest of those taking the silver medal was Alexander Loginov. Even with the perfect shoot he finished 13 seconds behind Boe.

The bronze medal went to Quentin Fillon Maillet. He normally performs better in the 4 shoot races and with such a good starting position for the pursuit watch out for him tomorrow.

Dmytro Pidruchnyi was 4th with a fabulous performance beating the French pair Simon Desthieux and Martin Fourcade into 5th and 6th respectively. In fact he was only 0.3 of a second from the bronze medal which is pretty tough to take at a World Championships.

There was personal best for Vytautas Strolia in 26th and a fun result for the Slovenia pair Jakov Fak and Klemen Bauer who finished with exactly the same time to both finish in 17th place!

Tomorrow’s pursuit will see Johannes Boe chased down by the French who have 3 in the top 6, the Germans who have 4 in the top 12 and of course big brother Tarjei who is coming from 13th but is a bit of a pursuit specialist!

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Antholz 2019: The Pursuits/Mass Starts!

The pursuit races were held on Saturday in Antholz and it was home glory for the Italian team in the women’s race.

Dorothea Wierer won her first pursuit race in front of friends and family. It didn’t go all her way at the start of the race however. It was Laura Dahlmeier who took the early lead with some excellent prone shooting hitting all 10 targets. Wierer and Vittozzi both missed on the first prone leaving Dahlmeier out front with Lisa Hauser in second.

It was in the standing where the race was won and lost. Dahlmeier missed on the first stand and Wierer and Vittozzi cleaned to give themselves a lead. At the final shoot Wierer and Vittozzi missed 1 each while Dahlmeier cleaned. Wierer had a big enough time cushion to get around the penalty loop in the lead but it wasn’t so easy for Vittozzi. She and Dahlmeier were together on the final loop but the German was too strong and took second with Vittozzi third.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was 4th, Anastasiya Kuzmina was 5th and Lisa Hauser was 6th getting her best result for a while. Caroline Colombo got her first point scoring finish in 22nd.

The men’s race basically turned into Johannes Boe vs. France. Johannes led the whole race despite missing three targets. He missed one in each prone and another in the final standing. Luckily for him his skiing is so good he had a cushion each time and was always out front.

Behind him it was Antonin Guiggonat who was his closest challenger. He hit 19/20 to get another podium here in Antholz.

Third place went down to a sprint finish between Quentin Fillon Maillet and Simon Desthieux. They both hit 18/20 but it was Fillon Maillet who just snatched the final podium place on the line in a photo finish. Martin Fourcade was 5th missing three and with his skiing still below his usual standard it was the best he could do.

Arnd Peiffer was 6th. Tomas Krupcik got a PB in 18th and Thomas Bormolini equalled his PB in 19th.

The mass starts were on Sunday and the sun was still out for the biathletes. The women’s race was won by Laura Dahlmeier who has made an amazing recovery after she was so exhausted in the sprint race. It was her first win this season.

It didn’t go according to plan for her at the start missing 1 in the first prone. That meant it was Kaisa Makarainen and Justine Braisaz in the lead with Wierer and Vittozzi too.

Wierer missed 1 in the second prone and Vittozzi 2 leaving Braisaz and Makarainen ahead. The third shoot was crucial with the leading group all missing and Dahlmeier cleaning to take the lead. She was followed out by Vanessa Hinz and Iryna Kryuko.

Kryuko missed 1 on the final shoot with the two German’s going clear. Marketa Davidova meanwhile had also cleaned and moved up to third. She chased down Hinz and passed her before the finish to take second place.

Hanna Oberg was 4th, Wierer 5th and Makarainen 6th. That result leaves Wierer in the yellow bib 34 points ahead of Vittozzi heading to the next race in Canmore.

In the men’s race we had a brand new winner! Quentin Fillon Maillet finally got his first World Cup win. He has been really close with several photo finishes putting him in second but today the victory was all his. It was a perfect race hitting all 20 targets.

At the start of the race 18 men went clear after the first prone with fast shooting Simon Eder leading out of the range. After the second shoot it was Antonin Guigonnat who was in the lead. However out on the tracks it was Johannes Boe who was controlling the pace and getting back to the lead.

That was until Fillon Maillet decided to go with him and they created a small gap on the rest of the chasers. It was a risky tactic for the Frenchman but it paid off in style when Boe missed a shot and he cleaned to take a decisive lead.

He remained calm and when he cleaned the final stand no one could stop him. Not even a charging Boe who after missing another shot in the final stand had to chase down Arnd Peiffer to take second place but was too far behind Fillon Maillet to catch him. Peiffer also had a perfect shoot with 20/20.

Martin, new name, Fourthcade was 4th again! Guigonnat was 5th and Benjamin Weger was 6th. That now leaves Boe with a massive 282 point lead in the overall ahead of Fourcade who is now in second.

There is a short break now but battle resumes in Canmore on the 7th of February with the individual races.

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