Tag Archives: Monika Hojnisz-Starega

Kontiolahti 2020: The Pursuits!

And deep breath! Wow what a day of biathlon that was! Both overall titles going down to the last lap of the season and two huge retirements from the sport!

It started with the men’s pursuit and with it being Martin Fourcade’s final ever race it was always going to be special. The overall was on the line and Fourcade needed to win to have a chance of taking it and of course he did. Unfortunately for him if Johannes Boe finished 4th he would claim the title an he did just that!

It was a careful start for Johannes who had a 21 second lead but he took a long time on the windy range. He hit all 5 in the first prone but so did Fourcade and Jacquelin who made up a lot of time with faster shooting. At the second prone both Frenchmen again hit all the targets but Boe missed one and left them in the lead.

At the third shoot Boe missed 3 and it looked like Martin could maybe take the big globe afterall. Both he and Jacquelin missed 1 shot but had a clear lead over Boe. Arnd Peiffer meanwhile moved into 3rd place and Quentin Fillon Maillet into 4th.

At the final shoot it was Fourcade’s turn to miss 2 and Jacquelin 3! This time Boe hit all 5 and found himself in a battle with Jacquelin and Fillon Maillet for the podium. Fourcade went on to win his last race – very Fourcade! – but Boe knew he just needed to be 4th. Lucky for him there were only 2 Frenchmen ahead of him as he was tiring towards the end but won the overall in the end by just 2 points.

Fillon Maillet was second and Jacquelin third making it a French clean sweep! Arnd Peiffer was 5th and Erlend Bjoentegaard 6th. It was a fitting way for Martin Fourcade to end such an amazing career. His first win was in the Kontiolahti pursuit and so was his last, his 83rd career victory! Astonishing!

Elsewhere Anton Smolski improved his PB to 14th and Said Khalili was 25th with 20/20 for a big personal best!

Just before the start of the women’s pursuit Kaisa Makarainen announced that she would also be retiring after the race! I mean how much do they think we can take in one day!

To the race itself and it was another showdown for the overall this time between Tiril Eckhoff and Dorothea Wierer. Eckhoff started in 3rd and Wierer in 19th so the advantage was with the Norwegian. At the first shoot she missed 2 and Wierer 1 but it was Franziska Preuss who hit 5/5 to take the lead on her own. Behind her came Denise Herrmann and Lisa Vittozzi.

The second prone was a disaster in a windy range for Preuss. She missed 4 but Marketa Davidova hit all 5 to take over at the front of the race. Vittozzi moved into second place and Julia Simon up to third. Eckhoff was into 4th while Wierer was 10th.

The first stand saw Eckhoff hit 5/5 and move into the lead followed by Simon and Vittozzi. Wierer missed 2 to leave the range in 16th place.

At the final shoot Eckhoff had a lot of problems and missed 3 targets! Julia Simon cleaned as did Selina Gasparin. Vittozzi missed 1 to find herself in second place behind Simon and just in front of Gasparin. Wierer missed 1 and was on the penalty loop with Eckhoff.

She came out ahead and just had to stay with Eckhoff for the final loop to take the overall. At the front Simon was taking her first ever win and Selina Gasparin passed Vittozzi to finish second with the Italian third.

Kaisa Makarainen in her final race had moved from 18th to 4th but just couldn’t manage one last podium! Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 5th and Mona Brorsson was 6th from a start of 25th!

Emilie Kalkenberg got a PB in 15th and weirdly the Oebergs finished in 18th (Hanna) and 19th (Elvira) and the Gasparins in 37th (Aita) and 38th (Elisa)! Sisters racing together!

In the end Eckhoff came home in 10th but with Wierer was 11th so it meant the big crystal globe was Doro’s once more winning by 7 points!

That is the end of the 2019/20 biathlon season! It has been one to remember and we will need the extra long break to recover I think!……can’t wait until next season though! Roll on November!

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Kontiolahti 2020: The Sprints!

We are living in crazy biathlon times! Last week we had no spectators in Nove Mesto and now the season has been cut short due to corona virus.

We were supposed to have a crowd here in Kontiolahti but then the Finnish government recommended not to hold public gatherings over 500 people just a few hours before the race so they were not let in. Then we discovered half way through the race that Oslo was cancelled and that this would be the final World Cup of the season. It’s a shame but not much you can do!

The poor US biathlon team had to make a mad dash to the airport to catch flights home before they were suspended by the US government so they could not race here.

So on to the racing. It was Johannes Boe who was again victorious in the men’s sprint. He hit 10/10 and out skied the field by 21 seconds to put himself in pole position to win the overall title. Martin Fourcade also hit 10/10 and put in a fearsome final lap to take second. Well Emilien Jacquelin said he stole it but that’s because he beat him into third place by just over a second.

Jacquelin also shot clean as did 13 out of the top 15!!! Vetle Christiansen finished 4th, Tarjei Boe was 5th and Benedikt Doll was 6th. He was one of those who hit 9/10!

Sturla Laegreid continued his rise with 10th place and another new PB. Said Khalili moved his from 44th to 42nd and Didier Bionaz smashed his from 72nd last week to 48th this week!

In the women’s race the conditions were much more difficult with wind and snow! It didn’t stop Denise Herrmann though! She took her second sprint win in a row with 9/10. Second place went to her teammate Franziska Preuss who also hit 9/10 and is on great form late in the season.

Third place went to Tiril Eckhoff who despite missing 2 shots skied like a demon on the final lap to reach the podium. It was crucial for her hopes in the overall especially as Dorothea Wierer could only finish in 19th place missing 3 targets.

Lisa Vittozzi was 4th with 9/10, Marketa Davidova was 5th also with 9/10 and Monika Hojnisz-Starega was 6th with a perfect shoot.

Chloe Chevalier got her PB in 8th hitting 9/10 and Susanna Meinen got her career best in 31st.

Saturday will see the final races of the season after Sunday’s relays were also cancelled. It will be a showdown in both the men’s and women’s pursuits to decide the overall titles. Wierer and Eckhoff go head to head and so will Johannes Boe and Martin Fourcade. It will be Fourcade’s final race as he has announced his retirement from the sport.

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Nove Mesto 2020: The Mass Starts!

It was a sunny day for the mass starts in Nove Mesto for the final day of action but unfortunately that made the tracks soft and tough to ski on.

The women raced first and it was Dorothea Wierer who held the lead after the first prone shoot. She looks tired though after her heroics at World Champs and couldn’t stay at the front. She missed 1 at the second prone which let the clean shooting Tiril Eckhoff hit the front and she wouldn’t give up the lead.

She also hit 5/5 in the first stand to build a nice lead over Justine Braisaz who was making up places quickly after a miss in the prone. Hanna Oeberg was doing the same and was up to fourth after the third shoot behind Fialkova in third.

At the final shoot Eckhoff missed 1 shot but her lead was enough for it not to make a difference and she went on to win the race and her second mass start of the season. The fight was for the other two spots on the podium and Hanna Oeberg hit 5/5 to take second place. Franziska Preuss did the same to move into third.

Justine Braisaz was 4th, Dorothea Wierer 5th and Monika Hojnisz Starega 6th.

It was more points lost to her main rivals for Dorothea Wierer but she still holds on to yellow for Kontiolahti.

In the men’s race Johannes Boe set out at a very fast pace but then missed on his first prone to let his teammate Vetle Christiansen and his brother Tarjei come out of the range in first and second place.

Johannes made up all the ground before the next shoot where he again missed a shot! Christiansen cleared again to stay in the lead but now he was followed by the German pair Kuehn and Peiffer.

Johannes Boe did the same again making up time on the leaders only to miss another shot in the first stand! That left Emilien Jacquelin out front with Dominik Windisch and Peiffer.

Finally in the last shooting JT Boe hit 5/5 and left the range just 4 second behind Jacquelin who had hit 20/20! It didn’t take long for him to pass the Frenchman and take the win. It was a crazy way to win but typical Johannes I think!

Jacquelin took second and Arnd Peiffer was third after battling with Pidruchnyi and Bjoentegaard for the last podium spot. Johannes Dale was 6th.

If you are wondering what happened to Quentin Fillon Maillet and Martin Fourcade they finished 8th and 14th respectively after problems with the way their skis were waxed in the tricky conditions.

Fourcade still has the yellow bib for the lead in the overall but Boe is closing the gap!

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Antholz 2020: The Mass Starts!

Well the women’s mass start was definitely worth waiting for! What a race to end the World Championships on the women’s side.

It started well for a lot of biathletes with 16 going clear on the first prone. Those who didn’t included Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Dorothea Wierer and Denise Herrmann!

It was Katherina Innerhofer who would lead out of the second prone with another perfect shoot along with Julia Simon. Monika Hojnisz- Starega was third with Wierer and Herrmann up to 4th and 5th after hitting 5/5. Roeiseland missed another target to fall to 22nd.

At the first stand it was Simon who shot the best getting all 5 targets down. Innerhofer missed 3 to put her out of contention, Wierer missed one but Hanna Oeberg hit all 5 to move into second place behind Simon. Behind them Roeiseland cleaned to move herself back up the field.

The final shoot was crucial as usual but not defining this time! The front three all missed! Wierer with one and Simon and Oeberg missing 2. That left Wierer out in front heading to the final lap. Roeiseland meantime cleaned again and found herself in second place 14 seconds behind Wierer.

Oeberg, Hojnisz-Starega and Simon all headed to the final lap together to fight for the bronze. Roeiseland put in a stunning final lap to catch and pass Wierer to take her 5th gold medal and 7th medal of the championships. Both were tired but Roeiseland just had a little extra in her legs. She made history by becomong the first woman to win seven medals at the same World Championship with her 5 gold and 2 bronze medals! Amazing!

Wierer took the silver and it was Oeberg who was the strongest of the others taking the bronze. It was redemption for Oeberg after finishing 4th several times and having a tough time in the women’s relay.

Hojnisz-Starega was 4th, Simon 5th and Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht 6th.

The men’s race was not as exciting as a finale but there was some great biathlon on show. It was a cat and mouse first loop with the French trio of Martin Fourcade, Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet taking the lead and trying to put pressure on Johannes Boe.

It didn’t work as all three missed a shot! It was Jakov Fak who left the range in the lead with Simon Desthieux and Benedikt Doll following. Boe hit all five and soon took over the lead on the tracks bringing his brother Tarjei and Johannes Dale with him.

All three Norwegians cleaned and behind them so did Jacquelin, Fillon Maillet and Desthieux. At the first standing shoot it was only Johannes and Desthieux who hit all 5. That left Boe with a nice lead followed by the fast skiing Fillon Maillet.

It was to be a perfect day for Johannes hitting all 5 again in the final shoot to cruise home for the gold medal! As the only man with 20/20 he was unbeatable. Fillon Maillet missed 1 but was comfortable in second. It was for bronze that we got the battle. Jacquelin cleaned his final shoot but Tarjei Boe took a penalty which meant he came off the loop just 7 seconds behind.

It was a tough final loop for Tarjei who caught and passed Jacquelin but he couldn’t hold on and was passed by the Frenchman before the finish line.

Desthieux finished 5th and Felix Leitner in 6th.

That concludes the World Championships in Antholz for 2020 and it has been a great event. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was spectacular and Dorothea Wierer fulfilled her dreams here too. For the men Johannes Boe became the first man to win 6 medals at the same Worlds and Martin Fourcade now has gold in each discipline after France finally won the relay!

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Antholz 2020: The Relays!

I don’t know about you biathlon fans but I am worn out after two amazing relays at the world championships and we were just watching!

The women were first to race and what a dramatic relay they produced! As biathlon law dictates it was Lisa Vittozzi who put Italy into the lead after the first leg. (Can you remember a time when she didn’t put them in first place?!!)

She only used 1 spare on the prone and handed over to Dorothea Wierer with a healthy margin of almost 30 seconds over the Polish team with Kinga Zyblut and the Russians with Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht.

Wierer would extend that lead to almost a minute. She just used one spare in the prone and her standing shoot was unbelievable! Rapid and accurate – I suggest you watch it for yourself!

At the second exchange she handed over to Federica Sanfilippo. Behind her came Monika Hojnisz-Starega then Irina Starykh. San filippo did well in the prone using just 2 spares but the stand let her down. In the end she incurred 2 penalty loops and Italy were out of the running. Kamila Zuk on the other hand was fantastic using just one spare to put Poland into the lead at the final exchange.

Tiril Eckhoff was trying to make up time for Norway after two solid legs from Synnoeve Solemdal and Ingrid Tandrevold had left them in 5th but over a minute back. She just avoided the penalty loop in the prone using 3 spares but couldn’t avoid it in the stand.

However she skied so strongly on the final loop that she handed over to Marte Olsbu Roeiseland in third place just behind the Czech Republic. Sweden and Germany were closing in with great legs from Linn Persson and Franziska Preuss bringing them back into contention.

Magdalena Gwizdon took over for Poland at the front and she used 2 spares in the prone. Roeiseland and Oeberg cleaned to take over the lead together. Herrmann used 2 spares.

At the final shoot it Roeiseland was spectacular. With the pressure of a gold medal in her hands she shot clean and left the range by herself for a simple ski to victory and a 4th gold medal for her. Hanna Oeberg was the opposite. Unfortunately she ended up on the penalty loop and lost the chance of a medal.

Moving into the medal spots were the Ukraine with Olena Pihrushna and the Czechs with Eva Kristejn Puskarcikova. Unluckily for them they were being chased by Denise Herrmann who needed 2 spares in the stand but skis so fast that she caught and passed both of them on the tracks to secure the silver medal for Germany. Ukraine hung on for the bronze.

The Czech Republic were 4th, Sweden 5th and Switzerland 6th. Poland were 7th in the end after a fabulous team performance and Italy were 10th at the finish.

Next up were the men and it was another close race. The first leg went to Erik Lesser shooting perfectly to give Germany an early lead. It wasn’t a big lead though with Emilien Jacquelin right behind him!

Norway had to take an early penalty loop with Vetle Christiansen having trouble in the standing shoot. That left Italy and Ukraine in 3rd and 4th.

Martin Fourcade took leg two for France up against Philipp Horn. Both cleaned in the prone and despite using 1 spare to Fourcade’s perfect shoot in the stand it was Horn who handed over first but there was very little between France and Germany.

On the third leg Arnd Peiffer and Simon Desthieux went head to head. Remarkably they shot exactly the same score both needing a spare in the stand. It was Peiffer who was stronger on the tracks giving Benedikt Doll a 12 second lead for the final leg. Tarjei Boe meanwhile was moving Norway back up into third.

At the first prone Doll needed all 3 spares to just avoid a penalty loop. Quentin Fillon Maillet hit 5/5 to move into the lead. The final stand decided it with just 2 spares for Fillon Maillet versus a penalty loop for Doll. Johannes Boe used 1 spare for his final standing and was just 5 seconds behind Doll.

On the last loop Boe overtook Doll to take the silver for Norway with Germany settling for bronze. France’s gold medal was the first in the men’s relay at World Championship for Martin Fourcade which completed his set of wins in each event.

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

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Antholz 2020: Women’s Individual!

It was a little bit windy in Antholz today for the Women’s Individual which always makes it fun – especially with a minute penalty per miss!!!

In fact there was only one woman who hit 20/20 today and that was Galina Vishnevskaya however that was only good enough for 9th place.

In the end 18/20 was good enough for the win and that meant another gold medal for Dorothea Wierer! She is having a dream world championships picking up her third medal in four races. She had to work hard for this one too as she missed 1 shot on the first prone and one shot on the first stand! She cleaned her final 10 though and managed to take the victory but just 2.2 seconds!

The silver medal went to Vanessa Hinz who hit 19/20 and maybe thought that gold was hers for a second before Wierer’s final shoot. It is her first individual medal at a world championships.

The bronze medal went to Marte Olsbu Roeiseland who now has a medal from every race – two gold and two bronze. She also hit 18/20 but was almost 16 seconds behind Wierer at the end.

Hanna Oeberg also missed 2 to finish in 4th but that was good enough to win her the small crystal globe in the Indivdual as there are no more races this season in the event.

Franziska Preuss was 5th and Monika Hojnisz- Starega 6th both with 18/20.

Christina Rieder got her first top 10 finish and PB coming 7th with 19/20. Milena Todorova continues to impress with a new PB of 17th missing 2 shots. Nadia Moser improved her personal best to 33rd with 17/20 and Daniela Kadeva got her PB in 36th with 18/20. Lotte Lie moved her PB to 45th also with 18/20 and despite 5 misses Michela Carrara got hers in 49th.

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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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Season Preview 2019/20: The Women!

The women’s World Cup is the best, isn’t it?! Year after year it has been producing the best racing and the closest title fights of any sport around. The last two seasons have both gone down to the final races and this season could well be the same.

Maybe the fact that it is so tough is why our ladies keep retiring! This year we will be without Anastasiya Kuzmina and Laura Dahlmeier who leave a big gap in the field. Luckily there are plenty of people to fill it!

Last year it was Dorothea Wierer who came out on top of an epic battle with fellow Italian Liza Vittozzi. Vittozzi faded at the end of last season but that experience will have made her stronger and more dangerous this time around. This season seems to be on course for another Italian head to head but for one thing – the World Championships! They are being held in Antholz and of course both women would dearly love to do well there. It could take their focus off the big crystal globe and on to home gold medals.

Looking to take advantage of this will be Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. Since adding a new surname she has gone from strength to strength having the best season of her career last year. She finished in fourth place but only 69 points behind the winner.

Hanna Oberg and Paulina Fialkova were fifth and sixth and will also be hoping to move up the ranking although they lack the consistency of the Italians for now. A good season for Fialkova would be taking her first World Cup win.

Obviously we have to mention Kaisa Makarainen. A three time champion she has the experience and the skiing ability to win the overall once more but she wasn’t at her best last season finishing seventh. Denise Herrmann is the surprise package. We knew she could ski fast but she has picked up the shooting very quickly and is a fierce competitor. Whether she can put it together over the course of an entire season remains to be seen.

There is a lot of talent in the women’s side just now so here are some biathletes to look out for as potential first time race winners or podium finishers.

Ingrid Tandrevold got two second places last season including a silver medal at the World Championships so could this be the year she makes it into first place? Monika Hojnisz’s best finish is a second place and she also came 4th twice so could she improve to get her first taste of victory? She married in the summer and is now Monika Hojnisz-Starega so maybe she can emulate Marte Olsbu by having extra surname success! Clare Egan had the season of her life last year getting her first podium finish in the Mass Start in Oslo and three top ten finishes in total. Hopefully she can make it to the top of the podium this year.

Looking to get on any step of the podium this season will be Mona Brorsson. She was so close to winning a gold medal in Oestersund at the World Championships and hopefully she now knows it is possible if she executes a race perfectly. Celia Aymonier was close to a first podium last season coming 4th in the Oslo Sprint. She has a home World Cup in Annecy to look forward too and it would be a great place to break into the top three. Lena Haecki achieved two fifth place finished last season so she is not far from claiming a podium either.

However as we know with the Women’s World Cup anything could happen and anyone could win or get a podium! That’s why it is so exciting.

The ladies start the season on the 1st of December with the Sprint race in Oestersund. The World Cup opens on the 30th of November with the single and mixed relays.

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