Tag Archives: Novakowska

Antholtz: Ital never be forgotten!

antholz

Wow what a World Cup round we had in Antholz-Anterselva! Round six on the tour did not disappoint and we saw 3 new winners and a host of other biathletes recording their best ever results. Not a bad time to do it seeing as the Olympics are coming up and some places in the teams are still up for grabs.

This round started with the Women’s Sprint event which was won by Anais Bescond of France. Her first ever win on the World Cup came in front of Andrea Henkel and Darya Domracheva. It was a great boost for French women’s biathlon especially with the injury to Dorin Habert and a loss of shooting form for Brunet. Fourth place was taken by a fantastic Susan Dunklee who recorded her best finish ever too and was really close to getting on the podium herself.

The pressure of such good results and leading the Pursuit was too much for Bescond and Dunklee as they didn’t continue their form in the Pursuit race. Instead it was the cool head and experience of Andrea Henkel who got the win. It was her 22nd win on the World Cup her first one coming in 1998. What an amazing biathlete she is!Second place went to another biathlete getting a career best result Nadezhda Skardino of Belarus who performed really well and beat Tora Berger into third position. Tora produced a storming last lap to overtake her own teammate Tiril Echhoff who also put in a great performance moving from 14th to 4th but couldn’t match Berger’s skiing on the final leg.

Other movers in the Pursuit race were Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier who started bib 21 and finished 7th, China’s Chaoquig Song who stared 30th and made up 20 places with some immaculate shooting to finish 10th.Poland’s Weronika Nowakowska also did well finishing 15th from a starting bib of 36. The women’s races overall where great to watch in Antholz and have definitely wet the appetite for Sochi as anyone could win there!

The men’s races were no less exciting! In the Sprint Simon Schempp and Lukas Hofer shared the win after some initial confusion with the timing. A first win for both of them but sweeter for Hofer as it was his home race. They beat Arnd Peiffer into third and it’s great to see him back on the podium after a tough season last year. Bjorn Ferry returned to the Top 10 finishing in 6th and Krasimir Anev also got back in there with a season’s best result to take 7th and followed up with 5th in the Pursuit. Canada’s Brendan Green produced an amazing result to finish 8th his best ever finish in the World Cup.

In the Pursuit Schempp held his nerve and made it two wins out of two with an impressive display of physical, and particularly mental, toughness. Hofer was not able to match this and dropped down to 20th.Second place saw Jean-Guilliame Beatrix of France achieve his best result ever and he could have taken the win but for a missed target on the last shoot. Third went to Norways Henrik L’Abee-Lund who produced his best finish this season. I just hope it’s not too late for Olympic selection. Fourth place went to Ole Einar Bjoerndalen who made up 16 places from a start number of 20 in a terrific display.Other noteworthy performers were France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet who moved up from 32nd to 14th and Norway’s Martin Eng who started 53rd and finished 34th.

Unfortunately on Sunday the Women’s Relay was cancelled on the second shoot due to thick fog, that appeared as if from nowhere, with the Russian team in the lead. It’s a shame as there were still some decisions to be made and places to be won on the Olympic teams but the coaches will just have to decide based on previous races. It is the third cancelled race this year. The men were luckier and faced only a 30 minute delay before the start. France took the victory with a strong team and Sweden finished second improving from 4th last time out. Germany were third, a penalty loop from Andi Birnbacher of all people cost them any chance of victory. Canada finished a very impressive sixth rightly described as “frickin awesome” by JP Le Guellec! Belarus finished 7th from a ranking of 21st and had a great race too.

So that concludes all the World Cup rounds before the Olympics.The next races will be in Sochi! Antholz-Anterselva was again a fantastic round with great crowds and great tracks if not the great weather we usually expect there. This top venue provided some unforgettable moments for all the biathletes who achieved their career best finishes. For Simom Schempp, Anais Bescond and especially Lukas Hofer it means this season’s Antholz : Ital never be forgotten!!!

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No Sn-Oberhof!

oberhof

Well the World Cup is back with a bang!(and I don’t just mean from the rifles!)No snow, fog and rain,tough tracks and a difficult range made Oberhof a great stop on the tour.Emil Hegle Svendsen and Darya Domracheva both decided that now was the time to show their form winning the Sprint and Pursuit races on Friday and Saturday. Svendsen was coming off the back of a strong shooting performance in the Schalke event over the Christmas break and it seems taking WC3 off in Annecy was a good move. In fact I think it’s his plan to also skip Anholtz. His shooting and skiing are looking really good and he seems fresher and sharper than Martin Fourcade at the moment.

His big competition in the first 2 races in fact came from Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. A strong skiing performance in the Sprint meant he only lost out on first place by 0.4 of a second and 2 costly missed shots in the last standing shoot in the Pursuit meant he missed another top spot which should have been his 94th World Cup win. You would think Svendsen might have given him the victory – he is after all Emil Skywalker to Ole Wan Kenobi – Ole having mentored and helped him as a youngster! How ungrateful!;-)

Martin Fourcade took 3rd in both those races but his shooting wasn’t as good as usual and a planned break from Ruhpolding is looking like a good decision. Elsewhere in the men’s races we saw exceptional stuff in the Sprint from Artem Pyrma from the Ukraine and Kauri Koiv from Estonia who finished 4th and 5th respectively both shooting clear and getting their best results ever. The foggy and rainy conditions may have helped them but they deserve huge credit for pulling off those results in such difficult circumstances. It was good to see Sweden’s Magnus Jonsson back in the Top 20 too.In the Pursuit Andrejs Rastorgujevs of Latvia stormed to an amazing 4th place finish from a start bib of 28 and has to be a serious contender for his first podium soon.

The women’s races were pretty similar as Domracheva won both and Makarainen came second. The only change was in third which was taken by a solid outing from Olena Pidhrushna in the Sprint and a fantastic display in the Pursuit saw Synnove Solemdal finish third from a start position of 21. Other movement of note came from Vilukhina 15th to 5th, Soukalova 26th to 12th and Ringen 22nd to 13th. The Sprint also produced some some impressive results for Evi Sachenbacher 7th,Novakowska 8th,Weirer 9th and the 2 French girls Marine Boilliet and Anais Chevalier finishing 12th and 14th.

Sunday saw the first mass start races of the season and a flashback to last season’s results as Martin Fourcade and Tora Berger both won. It’s great to see Tora getting her form back on the standing shoot and just in time too with the Olympics little over a month away. Solemdal made it a Norwegian 1-2 but almost lost out to Domracheva in a close finish. Alexey Volkov shot clear to finish second in the men’s race. His best ever result giving the Russian selectors a headache for Sochi. Tarjei Boe was third despite Simon Eder’s best efforts to knock him over. In fact both Boe and Fourcade could have careers in figure skating, after fine pirouettes to save falls, should they tire of biathlon.

So now it’s off to Ruhpolding which starts on Wednesday with the women’s relay. The crowds in Germany are amazing and the fans and officials in Oberhof deserve great credit for this week end considering the miserable conditions. There may have been No Sn-Oberhof but there was certainly some great racing!Good job everyone!

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