Tag Archives: Matvey Eliseev

Season Review 2019/20: The Men!

Since when did the men’s overall title go down to the last race and be decided by 2 points! Never! (Well maybe it has but I am too lazy to actually check!) Normally it’s the women who take the total score right down to the wire but this season thanks to baby Boe it was the men who gave us the closest of finishes!

Little did we know back in December that this would be Martin Fourcade’s final season. Well maybe he didn’t either but guess what I haven’t checked! 😉 That made the battle between the Frenchman and Johannes Thingnes Boe even more special as it would be the last.

It looked like it would be another convincing win for Boe in the overall at the start of the season. Honours were even in Oestersund with Boe taking the sprint and Fourcade winning the individual but then Boe won 4 of the 5 next races with Fourcade not making the podium in any.

However after Christmas Boe took parental leave for the birth of his son Gustav (biathlon overall title winner 2043) and then Fourcade came alive. Without Boe racing he won all 4 events in Germany! The psychological effect on Fouracde was marked as with no Johannes he became the best again and showed it.

In Pokljuka Boe returned and won the individual beating Fourcade into second place and taking the mental advantage back.

After a win each at World Champs it was on to Nove Mesto where Boe won both races to close the gap in the total score. Then came Kontiolahti and the news that it would be final round of the World Cup and the final two races would determine the champion.

Boe won the sprint ahead of Fourcade which meant it would all come down to the pursuit. If Fourcade could win then Boe had to finish at least 4th to take the title. That’s exactly what happened. Boe was nervous and it showed in his shooting. Basically if he had missed just one shot in the final standing Fourcade would have been an 8-time world cup winner but somehow he hit all five and made it home in 4th place to take the big crystal globe by just 2 points! It was un-boe-lieveable! That makes it two in a row for the super talented Norwegian.

I am sure Fourcade would have loved to go out on the ultimate high of winning the overall but it was not to be! He did win the race which was a fitting end to a truly outstanding career. He won his first race in the Kontiolathi pursuit and his last both on the 14th of March!

He will be sorely missed on the World Cup next year but he has handed the French baton over to Emilien Jaquelin! It was a remarkable season for the 24-year-old. He won his first ever race which just happened to be at the World Championships in Antholz! He took gold in the pursuit and then went on to win gold in the men’s relay, bronze in the single mixed and bronze again in the mass start! He would also go on to collect the pursuit crystal globe after topping the standings in that event and finished 5th in the total score.

Martin Fourcade took home two small globes this season winning the sprint title and the individual. Johannes Boe was the winner of the mass start title.

Apart from Jacquelin there were no other first time winners on the men’s world cup but we had a couple of first time podiums. Matvey Eliseev was third in the Oestersund sprint and Fabien Claude was third in the Pokljuka individual. Maybe without Fourcade there will be more space on the podium steps for some new faces next season.

New faces like rookie of the season Nikita Porshnev. In Annecy he got his first top 20 finish coming 18th in the mass start and at World Championships he was 21st in the sprint but then set an new personal best in the individual of 11th.

Speaking of World Championships the men decided to share out the medals this year. Each race was won by a different biathlete which is unusual on the men’s side. Alexander Loginov won the sprint, Jacquelin took the pursuit, Fourcade the individual and Johannes Boe the mass start!

Relays

The men’s relay was a big fight between Norway and France all season long! Norway dominated the early exchanges winning the first three races of the season. France took the win in the fourth race in Ruhpolding and more importantly won at World Champs. It was their first relay win in 19 years and completed Fourcade’s collection of medals! Norway won the final race in Nove Mesto and they won the men’s relay world cup title.

The mixed relay was a bit more competitive across the teams with Italy winning the opening race in Oestersund, France on top in Pokljuka and Norway taking gold in Antholz.

Retirements

Sadly this season there were more retirements than just Martin Fourcade. Michal Slesingr decided to end his career at his home World Cup in Nove Mesto. It was such a shame that there was no crowd there to send him off but he will be remembered as trail blazer for Czech biathlon of course as a fantastic biathlete. Also hanging up his rifle is Mario Dolder. His best finish came in 2017 when he was 6th in the Oestersund sprint and he was a great servant to the Swiss team. As a biathlon23 interviewee he will obviously be missed more than the other two! 😉

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Open Euro Champs: Minsk 2020!

Don’t worry you haven’t woken up back in 2019! The Open European Championships were meant to be in Otepaa, Estonia but due to lack of snow there they were switched to Minsk which held them last year too. Coincidentally Minsk doesn’t have any snow either but they do have a magic bag of snow that they can sprinkle out to resemble a track!

The first day was for the Super Sprint. If you don’t follow the IBU Cup you may not be familiar with this newer format. Basically there are two races – a shortened sprint race (3km) which all the biathletes start and then a shortened mass start (5km) with the top 30 finishers from the sprint. In both the qualification and the final you can use one spare round per shoot and the penalty loop is 75 metres.

Topping the men’s qualifying sprint was Anton Smolski and the final qualifier was Vasilii Tomshin in 30th place. In the final it was Sergey Bocharnikov who took gold at home in an exciting finish. It was a sprint for the line between 3 biathletes with Adam Vaclavik taking silver and Dmytro Pidruchnyi taking bronze. The top two both hit 20/20 but Pirdruchnyi had one miss.

In the women’s qualification it was Dzinara Alimbekava who was fastest and Natalja Kocergina who got the last spot in 30th. In the final it was Evgeniya Pavlova who took the win and the gold medal ahead of Olena Pidhrushna in second and Chloe Chevalier in third. All three women hit 20/20.

Thursday was relay day and we had the Single Mixed followed by the Mixed. The Single Mixed gold medal went to Norway with the team of Karoline Erdal and Endre Stroemsheim. They used 12 spares but were fast on the skis. The silver medal went to Germany with Stefanie Scherer and Justus Strelow who used just 5 spares. Bronze went to Ukraine’s Anastasiya Merkushyna and Ruslan Tkalenko with 7 spares required.

The Mixed Relay saw the very experienced Ukraine team take gold. Valj Semerenko, Yuliia Dzhima, Artem Pryma and Dmytro Pidruchnyi used 9 spares to take the win. Silver went to Russia with a team of Kristina Reztsova, Victoria Slivko, Eduard Latypov and Said Khalili also with 9 spares used. Norway eventually took bronze after a protest from Belarus saw them disqualified and reinstated on appeal! The team of Aasne Skrede, Ida Lien, Sivert Bakken and Aleksander Andersen used just 4 spares.

Friday was a day off for Minsk sightseeing! Saturday was Sprint day and it was Matvey Eliseev who struck gold for Russia. He hit 9/10 to take the win by just 4 seconds ahead of Andrejs Rastorgujevs who also hit 9/10 to take the silver medal. Bronze went to Aleksander Andersen who also missed one target.

In the women’s sprint it was Elisabeth Hoegberg who took the win with 9/10 to claim gold for Sweden. She finished 14 seconds ahead of the clean shooting Ida Lien. Home favourite Iryna Kryuko won bronze with 9/10.

The final medals were decided on Sunday in the two pursuit races. The Championships finished off how they started with gold for Belarus but this time it was double!

In the men’s pursuit Sergey Bocharnikov came from 5th to claim his second gold after winning the Super Sprint. He hit 18/20 to finish ahead of the Norwegian pair of Sturla Laegreid and Sivert Bakken. Laegreid came from 12th also hitting 18/20 for silver and Bakken came from 20th to take bronze with 18/20 too!

In the women’s pursuit it was Elena Kruchinkina who took gold for the home nation. She hit the perfect 20/20 to move from 11th all the way to first. Kristina Reztsova was second with 18/20 to take silver and Elisabeth Hoegberg stayed on the podium dropping to third and a bronze medal with 17/20.

The action now moves to erm… Minsk for the last IBU Cup of the year on the 4th of March! Not too far to travel for that one! 😉

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Pokljuka 2020: The Mass Starts!

The last day in Pokljuka was for the mass starts and they were worth waiting for! The men got us underway and it was a tight race all the way through.

At the first shoot all the favourites hit 5/5 except Johannes Boe! It didn’t stop him though as he had almost caught the leaders before the second prone.

Again all the top runners went clear including Boe with Quentin Fillon Maillet, Martin Fourcade, Vetle Christiansen and Johannes Dale all up front. Missing 1 and dropping back a little were Benedikt Doll, Tarjei Boe and Erlend Bjoentegaard.

At the third shoot it was Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade who both missed a shot which left Boe and Christiansen out front themselves.

However their lead was not too big and the Frenchmen were catching before the final shoot. The two Norwegians missed this time and the two Frenchmen cleaned but Fillon Maillet was faster and left the range with a clear lead. Behind him Benedikt Doll hit 5/5 and was in second but chased hard by Boe, Christiansen and Fourcade.

It was a fantastic final lap with Doll pushing hard all the way. It was cat and mouse behind him with the other three but it would come down to a four way sprint for the podium spots.

In the end Doll held them all off to finish second. Third went to Johannes Boe and Vetle Christiansen nipped in ahead of Fourcade to snatch 5th. There was only 0.8 of a second between the four guys!

It was Fillon Maillet’s second mass start victory after he won the same race in round six last season although it was in Antholz. He thoroughly deserves his first win of the season.

There were two men who shot the perfect 20/20 and they were Simon Eder in 8th and Matvey Eliseev in 11th.

The women raced later and with Tiril Eckhoff already tucked up in bed back in Norway after she got sick the race was wide open.

Denise Herrmann started fast but it didn’t pay off after she missed 1 on the first prone. That left Hanna Oeberg and Justine Braisaz at the head of an 11 stong group of clean shooters.

At the second prone Oeberg hit all 5 again as did Marte Roeiseland and they opened a small gap over Lisa Vittozzi and Kaisa Makarainen.

Oeberg and Roeiseland skied together and shot together and also missed together! Makarainen missed two but Lisa Vittozzi hit all five to take the lead.

The final shoot was decisive with Oeberg shooting fast and accurately to leave the range ahead of Vittozzi who hit all 5 again to make it 20/20. Behind them Anais Bescond emerged out of the chasers hitting 20/20 to move into third.

That was the way it would finish with Oeberg skiing so well that she couldn’t be caught. It was her first win this season and Vittozzi’s first podium of the season. Bescond made it three races in a row on the podium here in Pokljuka.

Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 4th hitting 19/20, Justine Braisaz missed 3 in 5th as did Marte Roeiseland in 6th.

Now we have a short break before the first race of the World Champinships begins in Antholz on the 13th of February but don’t forget the Youth/Junior World Champs is on now and the IBU Cup continues too.

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Oberhof 2020: The Sprints!

It was a beautiful sunny day that greeted the biathletes for the first race of the season! Of course it wasn’t!!! It’s Oberhof! It was foggy and damp! Just the way it’s supposed to be!

The women started off 2020 with the sprint and the Norwegians continued their domination of the World Cup so far. However this time it was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who won. She shot the perfect 10/10 in difficult conditions on the range and skied very well to win by 33 seconds.

Denise Herrmann finally gave the German women’s team something to cheer about and pleased the home crowd by finishing second. She missed one shot in the stand. Third place went to Julia Simon who missed one in the prone but skied well to finish on the podium ahead of Dorothea Wierer who also missed 1.

Tiril Eckhoff was 5th with 2 misses and Paulina Fialkova was 6th with 1 miss.

Canada’s Emma Lunder got a new personal best in 7th shooting clean.

There were also a number of debuts with her teammate Emily Dickson who was 46th, Austria’s Tamara Steiner 71st, Italy’s Michaela Carrara 76th, Czech Tereza Vobornkova 84th and American Hallie Grossman 80th.

The men’s sprint on Friday had less fog but heavy rain overnight destroyed the tracks and left just the 2.5km loop available for the race. That meant the men had to ski 2.5 km, shoot prone, ski 5km and then shoot stand and then ski the final 2.5km. The man who coped best with this was Martin Fourcade. He hit 10/10 and skied well to take his second win of the season. With Johannes Boe at home awaiting the birth of his first child they were valuable points for the Frenchman.

Second place also went to France with Emilien Jacquelin getting his third podium of the season. He missed 1 shot but if he had hit 10 he would have been very close to the win. Third place went to Johannes Kuehn who also missed 1 target.

Matvey Eliseev was 4th with perfect shooting, Alexander Loginov was 5th and Simon Desthieux 6th both missing 1.

There were personal bests for Raman Yaliotnau in 14th and Vytautas Strolia in 20th. There were also a couple of crashes for Simon Bartko and Kalev Ermits but both were unhurt.

Tarjei Boe managed to forget his penalty loop and had to ski back up the hill to take it! OOPS!

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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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European Champs 2019: Raubichi!

We are back in Belarus for the Open European Championships! Minsk-Raubichi is the location which held the Youth/Junior World Championships back in 2015.

A lot of the World Cup athletes who skipped the North American World Cup races were there to prepare for World Championships so there was a good mix of World Cup, IBU Cup and Junior biathletes.

The first races were the individuals held on Wednesday in windy, snowy conditions. The men raced first and master of the individual Bulgaria’s Krasimir Anev took the gold medal. He missed just one shot to claim the title ahead of Tarjei Boe in second and Endre Stroemshiem in third. Boe missed 3 targets and Stroemshiem 2.

The women’s race was won by Olympic champion Hanna Oberg with an evil wind blowing in the range. Despite 3 misses she skied well to take the victory. Yuliia Zhurakov missed just one shot in bib23 to take the silver! Bronze went to home racer Iryna Kryuko with 2 misses.

Thursday was relay day with both the single mixed and mixed relays. They both came down to the final leg.

In the single it was Russia who took the win despite a penalty loop from Evgeniya Pavlova on the third leg. Her teammate Dmitry Malyshko turned it round in the final leg in some tricky shooting conditions. In fact Norway could have won this but Endre Stroemshiem had a nightmare on the final stand and did three penalty loops.

Behind Russia were the Swedish duo of Anna Magnusson and Jesper Nelin using 6 spares to take the silver medal. Bronze went to the young French team of Lou Jeanmonnot and Aristide Begue also with 6 spares required.

In the mixed relay we had a similar situation with home team Belarus in the lead at the final exchange with Germany in second and Sweden 20 seconds behind in third. However Sebastian Samuelsson on the last leg turned it around and gave Sweden the gold medal with teammates Emma Nilsson, Mona Brorsson and Martin Ponsiluoma. They needed 8 spares with Samuelsson using just one of those to take victory.

Philipp Horn anchored Germany to silver with a perfect leg. He wasn’t fast enough to match Samuelsson on the skis but second was a good result with the team of Nadine Horchler, Jannina Hettich and Lucas Fratzscher.

The bronze medal went to the home team Belarus with a team of Dzinara Alimbekava, Hanna Sola, Raman Yaliotnau and Sergey Bocharnikov.

Saturday was the day for the sprints and the men raced first and had the better conditions again with less wind. It was Tarjei Boe who took the title with 1 miss. Luckily his pesky little brother wasn’t here to ruin victory this time!!! He finished 10 seconds ahead of Jesper Nelin who shot 10/10. Also shooting clean in third was Dmitry Malyshko.

He just got the bronze by 0.4 of a second from Aristide Begue who also cleaned the targets and was very unlucky not to podium but it was an impressive race from him considering those who finished ahead of him are all World Cup biathletes. Home racer Sergey Bocharnikov was 5th and Vladimir Iliev was 6th.

The wind picked up a little more for the women’s sprint but was no where near as bad as in the individuals. This race went to Sweden with a fantastic race from Mona Brorsson. She shot clean and skied well to grab the gold medal by 37.5 seconds. The silver medal went to Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht with 1 miss and Hanna Oberg took bronze despite missing twice in the stand.

Svetlana Mironova was 4th, Karoline Knotten was 5th and Fabienne Hartweger 6th.

The final races of the competition were Sunday’s pursuits. With the Swedish team deciding not to race so they could head home for World Championships preparation there were medals up for grabs.

It meant that with no Jesper Nelin in the men’s race Tarjei Boe’s 11 second lead turned into a 35 second lead from Dmitry Malyshko. He made the most of that cushion staying out front the whole race and just missing his very last shot on the final shoot. It was a pretty lonely race for him.

Behind Boe we got some action. There were a few changes of position on the first three shoots but the last stand was decisive. Only two of the top six shot clean and they were Matvey Eliseev and Haavard Bogetveit. After doing one penalty loop Sergey Bocharnikov was in third but Bogetveit’s clean shoot meant he could catch and pass him on the tracks. Eliseev took silver and Bogetveit bronze.

Bocharnikov was 4th, Andrejs Rastorgujevs 5th and Malyshko 6th.

The women’s race was very similar with no Brorsson or Oberg it gave Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht a ten second lead at the front. With her perfect shooting on the first three shoots she build up a lead that no one could catch. She also missed 1 on her final stand but skied home with a 38 second winning margin.

Second and third was also decided on the final shoot. Iryna Kyruko, Nadine Horchler, Dunja Zdouc and Evgeniya Pavlova all hit 5/5 to overtake Karoline Knotten who missed 1 and Fabienne Hartweger who missed 3. Kryuko had a good enough lead to take the silver to the delight of the home crowd. Zdouc left the range in third but was caught by Horchler who took bronze.

Zdouc was 4th, Knotten 5th and Pavlova 6th.

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Oberhof 2018: The Sprints!

Now that I have managed to write 2018 in the title and not 2017 we can get on with the Women’s Sprint from Oberhof!

The year may have changed but the form of Anastasiya Kuzmina has not! She took her third victory of the season in the Sprint and again by a big margin.

The conditions were not too bad after heavy snow on Tuesday and then rain storms on Wednesday. The only issue today was the wind in the range, a common problem in Oberhof, and it ruined a lot of standing shoots for the ladies.

In the end Kuzmina won by 35 seconds. She missed 1 target in the prone and looked very impressive. She has never had a season like this before with such consistent success. Second place went to Kaisa Makarainen who also had 1 miss in the stand for her. It’s not many people who can take that much time from Kaisa with the same shooting score!

Third place went to Veronika Vitkova with her first podium since the 2014/15 season. It’s not such a surprise that she did it here as she now has a win, two seconds and a third place finish in Oberhof. She loves the place!

Franziska Hildebrand was 4th with 9/10, Justine Braisaz was 5th with 8/10 and Weronika Nowakowska was 6th with her best finish since having twins.

There were some personal bests today too with Linn Persson coming home 8th shooting 10/10. Sarah Beaudry was 23rd also hitting all 10. Japan’s Sari Furuya was 29th with 2 misses and Mun Ji Hee of Korea was 30th with 1 miss. The only other person to hit the perfect 10 was Julia Ransom who equalled her personal best of 9th.

Spare a thought for poor Julia Simon of France who had a nasty trip and looked like she suffered an injury.

The men raced on Friday and well it was wet. A bit of a miserable day in Oberhof with some gusts of wind thrown in for good measure. Surprise, surprise Martin Fourcade won this one. It is however just his third victory this season in the 4th World Cup. His overall rival Johannes Boe could have won this too but he missed two shots on the prone when Fourcade hit 10/10 but was just 10 seconds behind. That only left him in third however as teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen took second. He shot clean to finish 8 seconds behind Fourcade.

It’s only Svendsen’s second World Cup this season after missing Hochfilzen and Annecy. Also shooting clean in 4th was Tim Burke! Yes finally Tim is back at the sharp end with a great performance at his home away from home in Oberhof. Tarjei Boe was 5th with 1 miss and Lukas Hofer was 6th also with 9/10.

It will be a tough day for Fourcade in the Pursuit on Saturday with 3 Norwegians chasing him down!

Jakov Fak shot clen today in 7th as did Matvey Eliseev in 21st. Jeremy Finello hit all the targets in 27th, Tuomas Gronman did the same in 45th and Scott Dixon also hit 10/10 in 87th place.

Poor Edin Hodic of Serbia had a problem when his harness came off his rifle after a fall and he couldn’t finish the race.

The Pursuit races on Saturday should be very interesting with a lot of people having trouble shooting in the Oberhof range and with wet tracks it could be a great watch!

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Hochfilzen 2017: The Relays!

Holy s**t! How are you supposed to summarise the Men’s Relay in Hochfilzen?! I went with absolute madness!

Here goes; it didn’t snow but it was very windy and it caused chaos in the range, 8 teams were lapped including the hosts Austria, of the 18 teams that finished the Czech Republic were last, Belgium were leading after the first leg and there were about 103 penalty loops!!!

The Norwegians emerged from the chaos in the best position with Bjoerndalen shooting well to keep the at the front after the first leg. Michael Roesch of Belgium was amazing and passed Ole Einar to hand over in the lead. Belgium that were team 26 were now up to 1st.

Florent Claude continued Belgium’s good start but Henrik L’Abee Lund put Norway into a lead they would not give up. Germany were pretty consisted and came home second with no penalties. Third went to France who did 2 penalty loops with Jean Guillaume Beatrix on the first loop but great legs from Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet brought them back to the podium.

Sweden were great in 4th despite Peppe Femling being mowed down by Beatrix on the first leg! Italy were fourth and their best performer was Thierry Chenal on his World Cup debut weekend showing Windisch and Hofer how to shoot. Ukraine were 6th.

There were also some issues in the range with some very slow reactions by the range officials. Maksim Varabei and Matvey Eliseev both needed assistance and didn’t get it very quickly.

In the end the Belgian team finished 16th with Tom Lahaye Goffart and Thierry Langer doing 3 penaltyy loops each but both are inexperienced at this level and actually performed really well in tough conditions especially when finding themselves at the sharp end of a World Cup race.

The women still had windy conditions to contend with but their shooting was better and the wind maybe not quite as strong. The Germans led after the first leg with a solid performance from Vanessa Hinz. Franziska Hildebrand made it more interesting needing 4 spares and letting the others back into the race.

The Swiss were up at the front along with the Ukraine, Sweden, Belarus and Russia but Marie Dorin Habert went on the penalty loop twice in the first lap to put France well behind and Hilde Fenne did 3 to put Norway out of contention.

Coming into the final lap it was Germany with Maren Hammerschmidt and Switzerland with Lena Haecki along with Ukraine’s Valj Semerenko who looked like the podium finishers. Laura Dahlmeier on the last lap was steady and brought her team home in first for their sixth relay win in a row.

The Swiss dropped back with Irene Cadurisch doing 2 penalty loops. Olena Pidhrushna took Ukraine to second place and unbelievably the French got third doing exactly what the men did coming back from 2 penalty loops on the first lap to get on the podium!

Russia were 4th, Switzerland were 5th which is still a great result for them and the Czech Republic were 6th.

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Kontiolahti 2017: The Mixed Relays!

The final races in Kontiolahti were the Single Mixed and the Mixed Relay. Martin Fourcade decided to have a day off and would not compete in either race. To be fair he deserves a bit of a rest!

The Single Mixed Relay contained some strong teams and the team with the top shooters would prove to be the best. It was Italy who took the lead after the first leg with Lisa Vittozzi on great form using just 1 spare. However Lukas Hofer went on the penalty loop 3 times on the prone leaving them no chance. He was great yesterday finishing 6th in the Pursuit and terrible today! He also did a similar thing in PyeongChang. He is possibly the most inconsistent biathlete ever!

That left the USA and Austria in contention for victory with some great shooting from Lisa Hauser, Simon Eder, Susan Dunklee and Lowell Bailey. Dunklee actually had a fall on the downhill but didn’t injury herself or her equipment.

Germany were also in the mix with Laura Dahlmeier and Roman Rees as were France with Anais Chevalier and Jean-Guillaume Beatrix.

In the end it was Eder’s fast and accurate shooting on the last leg that won it for Austria. He hit 10/10 in lightning speed to win by 32 second in the end. The race for second and third came down to a sprint finish with Roman Rees leaving the range in second after a clean shoot in his final stand. Lowell Bailey needed 1 spare and was just behind the German. Bailey stayed behind until the last few metres when he managed to get his ski ahead and take the second place for the USA. Germany were third and France finished 4th. The two top teams both needed just 5 spares with Germany using 6 and France 8.

The Mixed Relay was later in the evening. France got a great start with Marie Dorin Habert taking the first leg. She used 1 spare but handed over in the lead. She was 4 seconds in front of Iryna Varvynets of the Ukraine and 7 seconds ahead of Italy’s Dorothea Wierer. Japan were in 4th with Fuyuko Tachizaki and Austria 5th with Dunja Zdouc. Norway went on the penalty loop twice with Marte Olsbu.

France also controlled the second leg. Germany moved into second with another fantastic relay leg from Maren Hammerschmidt. She needed 2 spares to hand over in front of Slovakia in third after two great legs from Paulina and Ivona Fialkova. The Ukraine were in 4th with Olga Abramova and Russia in 5th with Irina Starykh. After the first prone the USA with Joanne Reid were up to 3rd but after her stand they dropped back to 9th.

The men took over in the third leg. Simon Desthieux for France needed 4 spares and finished with a lead of 25 seconds. He was chased by Benedikt Doll who needed 3 spares. Sergiy Semenov for Ukraine moved into third but Matvey Eliseev for Russia and Tomas Hasilla for Slovakia had bad standing shoots to allow Michal Slesingr to move the Czech Republic up to 4th.

Quentin Fillon Maillet took the final leg for France and he was followed by Arnd Peiffer for Germany, Dmytro Pidruchnyi for the Ukriane, Michal Krcmar for the Czechs and Evgeniy Garanichev for Russia. The top 3 teams all needed 1 spare on the prone. Russia shot clean but the Czech Republic went on the penalty loop.

It all came down to the final standing shoot. Just the way we like it to! France and Germany both missed two shots and Fillon Maillet had some trouble loading his spare rounds. He did really well to keep cool and hit the remaining targets to give France the win. Germany were second. Ukraine needed 1 spare but Russia just avoided going on the penalty loop with the last spare round. Ukraine were third showing they are a great relay team. Russia were 4th ahead of Norway who came back to finish in 5th.

Well that concludes some great racing from Kontiolahti and we only have 1 more World Cup left before the end of the season in Holmenkollen! NO say it’s not true!!! 😦

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