Tag Archives: Martin Ponsiluoma

Season Review 20/21: MEN

This year’s battle for the crystal globe was like a viking war! It was the experienced warrior from Stryn against the young upstart from Geilo trying to overthrow him and steal his kingdom. Or in simpler, less dramatic terms it was Johannes Thingnes Boe versus Sturla Holm Laegreid!

It went down to the final shoot of the final race and at the end there was just 1 missed target between them. It was Johannes Boe who came out on top with third place in the Oestersund Mass Start securing his third big crystal globe in a row with 1052 points.

Laegreid was just 13 points behind in second place and Quentin Fillon Maillet was third with 930 points.

Laegreid took the individual globe after winning two of the three races and coming second in the other! The sprint globe went to Johannes Boe. The pursuit and mass start globes were secured in the final races with Laegreid topping the pursuit rankings and Tarjei Boe winning the mass start globe which was his first in ten years!

The IBU introduced the blue bib for the best biathlete under-25 and that honour obviously went to Sturla Laegreid after his stellar season. In second place was Johannes Dale with 843 points and Sebastian Samuelsson was third with 817.

Jakov Fak was the winner of the silver bib with 693 points. Created by Clare Egan and Susan Dunklee and knitted by Dunklee it is an unofficial award for the best athlete who is 33 or over.

We had five debut winners this season which is pretty rare in the men’s field. Sturla Laegreid burst onto the World Cup winning the very first race the individual in Kontiolahti. Sebastian Samuelsson got his first win in the Kontiolahti pursuit in magnificent style coming from 18th to win. Johannes Dale grabbed his maiden victory in the Hochfilzen sprint. Martin Ponsiluoma won the sprint in Pokljuka to make his first ever win a World Title! And finally Simon Desthieux won his first race in the Nove Mesto sprint after nine long years of trying!

The relay globe went to Norway. They won the first race of the season in Kontiolahti and later went on to win gold at the World Championships in Pokljuka. However the wins were shared around this season with Sweden winning in Hochfilzen, France in Oberhof and Antholz and Germany in Nove Mesto.

As in almost every season someone surprising wins the sprint World Title. In Pokljuka it was Martin Ponsiluoma. Emilien Jacquelin did the pursuit double winning the title again in spectacular fashion. Sturla Laegreid was outstanding to win the individual and mass start. It takes real talent to win in two such different disciplines in the same two weeks.

There were only three single mixed relays this season with France winning two. The were winners in Oberhof before taking the World Title in Pokljuka. Sweden won the other race with victory in Nove Mesto.

Norway repeated their World Cup domination in the IBU Cup too by winning the overall title and all the individual globes. The Total Score went to Filip Fjeld Andersen who also won the sprint rankings. The pursuit title went to Sivert Bakken and the individual to Endre Stroemsheim. Germany took the relay title to prevent Norway winning everything!

The Open European Championships in Poland saw the gold medals go to Andrejs Rastorgujevs in the individual, Martin Jaeger in the sprint and Artem Pryma in the pursuit.

The Juniors had one big competition the World Championships. Philipp Lipowitz was the champion in the individual while Emilien Claude won the sprint and pursuit double as well as helping France to relay gold.

Denis Irodov was the big winner at the Youth World Championships in Obertilliach. He won all three events; the individual, sprint and pursuit. Poland took relay gold.

Sadly we has some big name retirements this season with Simon Schempp, Arnd Peiffer and Ondrej Moravec all calling it a day. All three were excellent professionals and very successful biathletes and will be much missed by the biathlon family and the fans alike.

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Oestersund 2021: Pursuits!

CARNAGE! That’s the best way to describe the women’s pursuit race today – utter carnage! It was the wind that did the damage gusting and changing direction constantly in the range. Let’s just the say the penalty loop has rarely been so busy!

Norway led the race from start to finish just not with the same athlete! Eckhoff was out the gate first but that was the only time she led the race. After the first prone it was teammate Ingrid Tandrevold who took over in the front hitting all 5 with Eckhoff missing 1.

At the second prone Tandrevold missed 3 and was overtaken by teammate Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. Somehow she managed to hit 10/10 in the prone in horrible conditions and gave herself a healthy lead that she wouldn’t give up despite the wind trying it’s best to stop her!

She missed 2 in the first standing and another 2 in the second standing but the wind was so unkind to everyone that nobody could take advantage. Eckhoff did much better in the standing hitting 9/10 to put her back into second place.

Behind her Hanna Sola and Julia Simon would fight for third. Sola missed 3 on her first stand but missed just 1 on the second to put her back in the running. Simon had come from bib 22 up to third hitting 15/20 but Sola was able to pass her on the tracks with the Frenchwoman looking ready for her holidays.

Sola took her second career podium with third, Simon was 4th and Emilie Kalkenberg was 5th with a personal best moving from 21st and hitting 18/20, the best shooter of the day. Franziska Preuss went from 23rd to finish 6th.

The biggest mover of the day was Karoline Knotten who went from 54th to 13th with 16/20. The pursuit globe went to Eckhoff with another perfect score of 360/360 points after races were dropped rounding off a great day for the Norwegian women.

It was also a great day for the Norwegian men in the afternoon. The wind was still a big issue but maybe slightly kinder than it was for the women. Lukas Hofer led out the pack but it was Sebastian Samuelsson who was out front after the first prone. Hofer missed 1 and Samuelsson cleaned. Johannes Boe surprisingly hit 5 and Sturla Laegreid missed 1.

After the second prone it was Hofer in the lead again when Samuelsson missed 2 and he hit all 5. Again Boe hit 5/5 and was right up at the front.

The first standing was brilliant from Boe cleaning all the targets and giving himself a good advantage. It looked like the old Johannes was back. Laegreid missed another and with Hofer missing 2 it gave Erik Lesser the chance to move up after he hit all 15 shots.

The final shoot changed everything. Boe was alone on the range. Actually he wasn’t alone as he had our old friend the wind for company. It was bad company helping him to miss 3 shots. As he took off for the penalty loop Hofer, Lesser and Laegreid came into the range. Hofer missed 1, Lesser missed 2 but Laegried showed his shooting prowess and hit all 5.

That won him both the race and the pursuit crystal globe! Boe was too far behind to try and chase him down but he did hang on to second. All of which means the race for the overall goes right down to the wire in the mass start! Just the way we like it!

Hofer took third place, Samuelsson overtook Lesser for 4th with the German in 5th moving up from 33rd with 18/20. Martin Ponsilouma was 6th also with 18/20.

The biggest mover was Fabien Claude who even with 3 misses went from 47th to 17th. His brother Florent was the best shot hitting 19/20 to go from 44th to 25th. It was Simon Eder’s 400th World Cup start and he finished 11th!

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Nove mesto #2 2021: Mixed Relays!

It was an eventful final race day in Nove Mesto to say the least! First came the news that one of the Swedish coaches had tested positive for Covid-19 meaning all the coaches had to isolate. That meant a new coaching team for Sweden with Mona Brorsson and Gabriel Stegmyar stepping in behind the scope.

The races were mixed and I don’t just mean the format! The Mixed Relay was an uncontested procession at the front whereas the Single Mixed went right down to the final straight!

Norway were the worthy winners of the Mixed Relay. They had Tiril Eckhoff on leg 1 and she can do no wrong at the moment. She hit 10/10 and handed a 27 second lead over to Marte Olsbu Roeiseland.

Russia were in second after a good leg from Uliana Kaisheva and Italy were third despite Lisa Vittozzi using 4 spares. Roeiseland needed only 1 spare and gave Tarjei Boe a lead of 50 seconds. Some vintage Wierer put Italy into second place and France were into third thanks to fast skiing from Justine Braisaz-Bouchet.

Tarjei Boe extended Norway’s advantage to over a minute and 14 seconds with just 2 spares in the stand. Dominik Windisch held on to second just in front of Sweden’s Jesper Nelin who passed France after Simon Desthieux went on the penalty loop.

Johannes Boe on the final leg could take it easy. He used one spare in the prone but cleaned the stand to finish in style. A great leg from Lukas Hofer gave Italy a clear second place and Martin Ponsiluoma gave his new coaches something to smile about bringing Sweden home in third.

France were 4th, Ukraine 5th and the USA 6th.

The Single Mixed Relay was a lot closer but then it’s shorter so it is usually that way. It was World Champions France who took the early lead through Julia Simon. She was followed by Italy with great shooting from Michela Carrara. Canada were third with Emma Lunder.

By the end of leg two it was Sturla Laegreid in front. The wind in the range was really tricky and he handled it best. Austria were up to second with 10/10 from Simon Eder and the USA were third with Sean Doherty using just 1 spare. France dropped back with 2 penalty loops in the stand from Antonin Guigonnat.

After the third leg Norway were still holding on to a slender lead with Ingrid Tandrevold tagging just ahead of Susan Dunklee who loaded and shot her spare in the stand in lightning quick time. Austria were now in third with Sweden nipping at their heels after good work from Linn Persson.

In the prone it was Laegreid who kept the lead with 1 spare. Sebastian Samuelsson took advantage of spares need by the USA and Austria to move into second. In the stand Laegried hit all 5 but Samuelsson needed a spare and was 5 seconds behind heading onto the tracks for the final loop. Meanwhile Doherty used 1 spare to Eder’s 2 to give him the lead in the battle for third.

Samuelsson followed Laegreid right until the final uphill before launching his attack. He caught and passed the Norwegian in the straight to take a fantastic win for Sweden! Who needs coaches when the athletes can do it themselves! 😉

Laegreid had to settle for second place but it secured the Mixed Relay title for Norway. Doherty brought the USA home for a magnificent third place which is their first relay podium 2017 and it’s their 7th in all.

Austria were 4th, Russia 5th and France 6th.

And if that wasn’t enough for you it was Ondrej Moravec’s final race. He is retiring to spend more time with his family who were waiting for him at the finish line for an emotional farewell. I’m not crying there is just something in my eye!

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Pokljuka 2021: Men’s Sprint!

The men’s sprint was the first individual race of the World Championships and with Norway having won all the races on the World Cup so far this season surely one of them would win it, right? WRONG!

We always get surprises at the major championships and today was no exception. It was Sweden who took the gold medal and it was Martin Ponsiluoma who gave it to them! He shot clean and skied very fast to win his first ever race! The guy has good timing! At the start of the season he was skiing really fast but not shooting so well, then he started to shoot well and his ski times dropped off but today he put them both together and is the World Champion. See what I mean about timing!

Going out in bib number 6 it was a long time before he could start to celebrate but no one could get close to his time winning in the end by 11.2 seconds. Actually Sweden have had to wait a really long time to celebrate as the last man to win a World Title was Adolf Wiklund in 1958!

His closest challenger was Simon Desthieux who also hit 10/10 to take the silver medal and his best result of the season. Teammate Emilien Jacquelin was third despite a miss in the prone. He is obviously skiing well coming only 13 seconds behind the winner and setting himself up well to defend his pursuit title on Sunday.

What about the Norwegians? Well they didn’t make the podium but they all finished in the top 10! Johannes Dale was the best of them today in 4th (9/10), Johannes Thingnes Boe was 5th (8/10), Sturla Laegreid was 7th (10/10) and Tarjei Boe was 9th (9/10). Another Frenchman was 6th with Quentin Fillon Maillet hitting 9/10. It’s going to be quite the pursuit so don’t miss it!

Elsewhere there were personal bests for Eduard Latypov in 10th, Jake Brown in 12th, Bogdan Tsymbal in 30th, Mihail Usov in 42nd, Trevor Kiers in 48th and Niklas Hartweg in 50th.

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Antholz 2021: Men’s Individual!

There was an unusual sight today in Antholz -FOG! It is more customary in Oberhof of course but as there wasn’t much there this season some was allocated to Antholz!

It was the men’s turn to race in the individual and the win went to someone who managed to shoot 20/20. Not an easy feat in the longest race being held at the highest altitude. It was Alexander Loginov who conquered the course and he must like Antholz as his last win came here in the World Championship sprint.

He finished 58 seconds ahead of second place which went to Sturla Laegreid. He missed two shots but after winning the first individual of the season and coming second here he is well on his way to winning his first crystal globe.

First and second were pretty clear cut but third place was a titanic battle which unfortunately left two people with a sinking feeling. Lukas Hofer found himself in third after hitting 18/20 but then Quentin Fillon Maillet hit the same score and just snatched third place by 0.1 of a second! Incredibly close over 20km!

It wasn’t over yet! With bib 77 Anton Dudchenko hit 20/20 and was on course to challenge for the podium. Despite his best efforts he fell just short by 0.3 of a second. He would finish fifth but it was a personal best for him and his first chance to attend a flower ceremony. Hofer was 4th and being knocked off his home podium by so little must have been hard to take but he is holding on to his good shape from Oberhof.

Martin Ponsiluoma was 6th with 18/20. Only two other men were able to hit the perfect twenty and they were David Komatz in 12th and Kosuke Ozaki who got a big PB in 24th.

There were also personal bests for home biathlete Didier Bionaz in 13th (19/20), Alex Cisar in 36th (18/20), Milan Zemlicka in 39th (19/20), Adam Runnalls in 41st (17/20) and Raul Flore in 42nd (19/20).

Making his World Cup debut in an individual race (not a relay) was Pjotr Dielen who finished 96th and Ilia Gavrilov who was 91st.

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Oberhof #1 2021: Sprints!

Welcome to the first biathlon races of 2021 in Oberhof! There was fresh snow, light winds and very little fog which continues the strange times we are living in! I did have to double check it was Oberhof!

Two sprints were on the cards today and the women raced first with nice conditions for shooting but there was fresh, deep snow and a new track to contend with which made the skiing tough.

Tiril Eckhoff wasn’t bothered by that though! She took the win today with perfect shooting and a magnificent ski. She was composed on the range and then after all the targets went down flew around the final lap to back up her sprint win from Hochfilzen. She is the form biathlete with 3 wins in the last 4 races.

Hanna Oberg matched her on the range with 10/10 but finished close to 30 seconds behind in second place. Third place went to Lisa Hauser who despite missing one shot in the stand skied really well to get her first ever World Cup podium and personal best result.

Julia Simon was 4th with 2 misses but again she is skiing super fast. A clean shoot from her and she could have won the race and she will when she sorts out her issues on the range. 5th went to Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who also hit 8/10. Fresh from her win at the World Team Challenge Evgeniya Pavlova hit 10 to finish in 6th with her personal best.

Maria Zdravkova hit all 10 for a PB in 46th.

It seems there was not a lot of eating, drinking and making merry in Norway this Christmas because after Tiril’s win the men made it a clean sweep of the podium in the afternoon! Looks like they have all been training hard in the holidays.

It was Johannes Boe who was back on top despite missing 1 in the stand and breaking a pole. He still managed to take his 50th career win and finish 10 seconds ahead of brother Tarjei.

The elder Boe has kept his good form this season and hit 10/10 in second place. He also showed a clean pair of heels to the young whippersnapper Sturla Laegreid who also hit all 10 but was 11 seconds behind Tarjei in third.

After him came Lukas Hofer in 4th with one miss. It was by far his best race this season.5th place went to another Norwegian with Johannes Dale shooting 9/10. Martin Ponsiluoma was 6th despite missing two.

There was a personal best for Raman Yaliotnau in 10th with no misses. Eduard Latypov was 11th for his PB with 9/10. Two debutants on the World Cup also got impressive results first time out with Sivert Bakken in 24th (10/10) and Emilien Claude in 33rd (10/10).

It will be a first WC pursuit race tomorrow for Alexandr Mukhin after his PB in 51st and for Pavel Magazeev with his PB in 59th.

It was good to see Italy’s Tommaso Giacomel back on the World Cup in 43rd place after struggling with his health after contracting corona virus in the summer.

Don’t miss the pursuit races tomorrow they should be a lot of fun but will Norway do the double again, will the fog come back? Tune in and see!

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HOCHFILZEN 2020 #2: The Mass Starts!

Sunday saw the final day of biathlon action in 2020. We were treated to two exciting mass starts and an unexpected winner!

Not many people would have put money on Arnd Peiffer to win the men’s mass start but that’s exactly what he did! It was his first ever win in a mass start (can you believe that?) and also Germany’s first win of the season.

The first two shoots in the prone was really just a whittling down of the field. After the first time in the range there were 16 men who shot clean. After shoot two is was down to 13 and so it would be in the standing where the winner would emerge.

Shoot three saw the on form Sturla Laegried steal a march on the field hitting 5/5 while his closest challengers missed. It was the 4th and final shoot that was decisive however.

The normally calm and reliable Laegreid was the one to miss but behind him Martin Ponsiluoma, Peiffer, Benedikt Doll, Emilien Jacquelin and Tarjei Boe all hit 5/5. It was Ponsiluoma and Peiffer who were in and out quicker from the range and it was between them for the win leaving the other three to fight for third.

Ponsiluoma led most of the final lap but he looked tired and couldn’t make the break from Peiffer. It was the German who was fresher and passed the Swede to snatch the victory by just over a second. He hit 20/20 today a feat matched only by Simon Eder in 11th.

It was Ponsiluoma’s personal best result so far but he was so close to a win it was heartbreaking for him. The race for third was very close. Jacquelin looked like he was going to make a move just before the tunnel but fell and had to settle for 5th. It was Tarjei Boe who made sure Norway were on the podium here again skiing away from Doll who was 4th.

Sixth place went to Laegried who can’t be disappointed after a fabulous few days for him in Hochfilzen. Johannes Boe eventually finished 7th. He cleaned the prone this time around but missed three in the stand and there was no way back from that. Aleksander Andersen got his PB in 12th with 19/20.

The women’s race was another good battle with the yellow bib worn by Marte Olsbu Roeiseland coming out on top. It wasn’t easy for her though. She cleaned the first prone and was joined by Dorothea Wierer and Tiril Eckhoff at the front of the race.

Roeiseland missed 1 in the second prone to give the lead to Eckhoff with Wierer and Elvira Oberg chasing. There was pressure at the front of the race as all three missed one shot in the first stand and that gave the lead to Marketa Davidova who was 15 for 15.

Roeiseland also hit all the targets in the first stand putting herself back in touch at the front and in fact passed Davidova to arrive in the range first for the crucial final shoot.

Davidova missed one and Roeiseland cleared her targets to take the win and enjoy an easy ski to the finish line. Eckhoff and Wierer both hit 5/5 and would have to race each other to the finish. It was Eckhoff who was the stronger on skis and she took second place but Wierer looked to be finding better ski pace in third.

Davidova was 4th, Denise Herrmann hit 18/20 in 5th and Elvira Oberg was 6th also with 18/20. Her sister Hanna missed 4 shots today and finished 14th.

There was a personal best for Janina Hettich in 10th place and she was the only woman to hit 20/20 today.

It’s now time to burst the biathlon bubble and head home for Christmas. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland will take the yellow bib back to Norway and so will Johannes Thingnes Boe.

The IBU have done a great job this season so far and hopefully when we return in Oberhof on the 8th of January it will continue to be safe and we can look forward to more great racing!

Thank you to everyone this year for reading the blog! Biathlon23 wishes you a Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and healthy New Year!

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HOCHFILZEN 2020 #2: The Pursuits!

Saturday was pursuit day in Hochfilzen and we were treated to two crackers right before Christmas!

The men raced first and Sturla Laegreid led from the front to win his second race in a row. He only missed 1 shot in the first standing but he already had a good lead and after cleaning the final shoot he was home and dry taking his third win of the season.

All the action came behind Laegreid. His teammate Johannes Dale was with him right up until shoot 3 where he missed 3 and put himself out of contention for the win.

Johannes Boe continued with his prone shooting issues missing 2 on the first shoot which left him playing catch up. Charging through the field with impeccable shooting were the ‘Prince of the Pursuit’ Emilien Jacquelin, Martin Ponsiluoma and Vetle Christiansen.

All three men hit 20/20 today and after the final stand it came down to a four way race between them and Johannes Boe for the final two podium spots.

Jacquelin and Ponsiluoma had a small lead out of the range but were quickly caught by the two Norwegians. However it was Jacquelin and Boe who were stronger and broke away from the other two.

On the final big climb (Landertinger hill!) it was Jacquelin who pushed hard and was able to gain an advantage over Boe which he wasn’t able to catch. The Frenchman took second and Boe third. Maybe if Boe hadn’t done 3 penalty loops he may have had some extra energy on the last lap but good shooting paid off today for Jacquelin.

Christiansen passed Ponsilouma for 4th and Johannes Dale hung on for 6th despite 4 misses.

It was also a good day for Didier Bionaz who moved from 40th to 19th for a big personal best. Antonin Guigonnat hit 20 to go from 43rd to 16th, Eric Lesser moved from 46th to 20th and Dominik Windisch from 58th to 27th.

The women’s pursuit was quite similar. Tiril Eckoff started first, led the whole way, missed just 1 shot and won the race by over 20 seconds. It was behind her were all the excitement lay.

After the first shoot Eckhoff was followed by Preuss and Tandrevold. However after the second shoot she was chased by Hanna Oberg. After the third shoot it was Wierer who was her closest challenger and by the final shoot it was again Oberg in second place!

The shooting was the big factor in this race with no one hitting all 20 targets despite the great conditions. With first and second place decided it was a big fight for third with Elvira Oberg, Ingrid Tandrevold and Dorothea Wierer fighting for the final podium spot.

Wierer attempted to pass the other two but unfortunately tried to squeeze through a gap that wasn’t really there and fell costing her the chance of a podium. Tandrevold pushed hard and was leading all the way until the final few metres where she was just beaten across the line by Oberg who joined her big sister on the podium.

Hanna, Elvira and Ingrid all hit 18/20, Wierer hit 19/20 for 5th and Franziska Preuss also hit 18/20 in 6th.

Julia Simon went from 49th to 14th, Julia Schwaiger from 52nd to 24th and there was a personal best for Suvi Minkkinen who went from 44th to 25th.

Sunday will see the first mass starts of the season where the top 30 go head to head! Merry ChristMASS starts!

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HOCHFILZEN 2020 #1: Pursuit/Relay!

It was all change today in Hochfilzen with the women racing pursuit and the men in the relay this time! It was a very snowy day in Austria for both races but luckily the wind was light.

The women gave us another thrilling battle in the pursuit. Dzinara Alimbekava led the way after her maiden win in the sprint. She managed to hold on to her lead after the first shoot but we lost Tiril Eckhoff from the fight as she missed 3 in the prone. I am pretty sure she has two personalities in there as one day she is brilliant and the next not so much!

At the second prone it was Alimbekava’s turn to drop back, a fall on the icy part of the tracks maybe contributed to it, and left Marketa Davidova in the lead.

At shoot three it was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who took over the race lead and didn’t let it go. She did miss one shot in the final standing but had enough of a gap to take her penalty loop and still come out in the lead. From there it was an easy ski to the finish line. It was her first win this season and put her into the yellow bib.

Second place went to Alimbekava who recovered well to get her second podium in as many days. There was a fight for third between Hanna Oberg who hit 20/20 and Julia Simon who hit just 17/20. Oberg left the range in the lead but Simon caught and passed her to grab the bronze medal. Simon’s skiing is excellent at the moment and if she sorts out her shooting the others better watch out!

Oberg was 4th, Karoline Knotten 5th and Dorothea Wierer 6th. Lena Haecki moved up from 38th to 11th and Justine Braisaz-Bouchet from 43rd to 16th.

The men’s relay was billed as a battle between Norway and France after the pursuit results but it didn’t turn out that way. The first leg was close with a lot of teams together led by Norway with Sturla Laegreid, Finland with Tuomas Harjula and France with Antonin Guigonnat.

It was the second leg where thing went wrong for France with Emilien Jacquelin having more problems on the standing shoot. He was on the penalty loop twice although to be fair it was better than three times like in Kontiolahti! Norway also has issues with Johannes Dale needing his spares to avoid a penalty loop himself.

It was Germany who exchanged in the lead with a great leg from Roman Rees. They were followed by Simon Eder for Austria and Sweden with Jesper Nelin.

The third leg saw a fight between Sweden, Norway and Germany. Martin Ponsiluoma and Tarjei Boe made up ground on Benedikt Doll. Doll was the only one to shoot clear in the stand however and left the range in front. Unfortunately for him he wasn’t fast enough to hold off the Scandinavian duo and it was Norway first, Sweden second and Germany third starting the final loop.

It would come down to an absolute mess of a standing shoot to decide the winner. Johannes Boe and Sebastian Samuelsson were neck and neck coming into the range but there was an official still sweeping the mat in lane one when Boe arrived. They narrowly missed a collision which is not ideal preparation for a shoot.

Both men then missed targets and needed spares. Samuelsson had difficulty loading his and was losing time and then Boe picked out 2 spares at once and dropped one meaning he only had 2 extra to use instead of 3. He missed and went on the penalty loop. That left Samuelsson free to take the victory after he eventually got all his targets down.

The race for third was equally exciting. Russia with Alexander Loginov overtook Germany’s Philipp Horn on the prone but Horn came back and cleaned the standing. With the Russian missing it gave Germany the final podium spot.

Now it’s time to head off to ……. Hochfilzen! Round three is here too with sprints staring on Thursday, then pursuits and the first mass starts of the season!

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KONTIOLAHTI 2020 #2: Relay/ Pursuit!

It was the final day in Kontiolahti and it played host to the men’s relay and the women’s pursuit.

Norway came out on top in the men’s relay after quite a comfortable race for Sturla Laegreid, Vetle Christiansen and the Boe brothers.

Laegreid was solid in the first leg and Christansen put Norway into a small lead after the second. Tarjei extended that lead with a fine performance and gave his brother a nice cushion at the final exchange.

Johannes did try to make it interesting for us by missing in the prone and the stand and breaking a pole but he had time to correct all these errors (with 4 spares) and still win by 40 seconds.

Sweden took second place after a battle on the final leg between them, Germany and Russia. Sebastian Samuelsson gave his team the silver thanks to just 1 miss in the stand compared to Benedikt Doll’s two and three for Alexander Loginov.

The team of Samuelsson, Martin Ponsiluoma, Jesper Nelin and Peppe Femling used 10 spares compared to 9 for Germany. Their squad of Doll, Arnd Peiffer, Roman Rees and Erik Lesser stayed third ahead of Russia in 4th as well as Italy in 5th and Austria in 6th.

Special mention for Sean Doherty who had the US team in first after the second shoot hitting 10/10 but was overtaken on the tracks before he could make the exchange. It was a day to forget for Emilien Jacquelin who incurred 3 penalty loops on the first leg for France which put them out of contention early on.

After Sweden won both races yesterday it was Norway’s turn to do the double. Tiril Eckhoff surprised everyone (including herself probably!) but hitting 20/20 to win the women’s pursuit.

Starting from 8th she looked back to Eckhoff from last season with some great shooting. Considering how terrible she has been on the range in Kontiolahti and that she effectively lost the World Cup here last season it was something of a redemption for her today.

World Cup leader Hanna Oberg started the race well and looked in control after shoot one. However she missed a target on the second prone and opened the door to Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who shot 0+0 in prone.

They came to shoot three together and both missed one which meant Tiril caught them both leaving the range. It was all down to the final stand and with her rivals both missing 1 again it was a joyful last loop for Eckhoff to take the win.

Olsbu broke a way from a slightly tired looking Oberg on the uphills to make it a 1-2 for Norway with Oberg settling for third.

Dzinara Alimbekava took 4th shooting 18/20 with another personal best for her. She is having an amazing season so far for Belarus. Johanna Skottheim was the only woman apart from Eckhoff to hit all 20 targets moving her from 20th to 5th and Ingrid Tandrevold rounded of the top 6 also hitting 18/20.

Darya Blashko got her personal best in 12th coming from 18th with just one miss in the first prone shoot.

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet went from 37th to 10th, Evgeniya Pavlova from 44th to 13th, Lisa Hauser 43rd to 15th, Julia Simon 56th to 17th and Lena Haecki from 52nd to 19th.

Now it’s time to head down to Austria for two more World Cup stages in Hochfilzen with Johannes Boe and Hanna Oberg packing the yellow bibs in their suitcases!

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