Tag Archives: Quentin Fillon Maillet

The Biathlon23 Awards 2019/2020!

Hello and welcome to the 7th annual Biathlon23 awards. The alternative awards for biathlon which represent the important things in the sport with best facial hair, best earrings and best ski suit among the most prestigious and most sought after awards. To be honest it has been a bit of a struggle writing these this season in the light of world events but if they can even just make you crack a small smile all the wailing, gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair will have been worth it! (To be fair the pulling out of hair is the only way I can get it shorter with no trips to the hairdresser allowed!)

The awards are of course subject to a rigorous system used to ensure fairness in the nominations and winners – I pick them and it’s totally biased! Read, enjoy and feel free to disagree! 🙂

Most hits on the blog (so most popular):
Paulina Fialkova was not the most popular interview on my blog this season! Just the second most popular even though it is now a few years old! This season’s winner was a slow burner that picked up a lot of interest a little while after it was published. It belongs to a biathlon renegade! From the naked lady on her rifle to her super cool middle name from her maths genius (!) to her hilarious instagram ramblings – what’s not to like!

Winner: Joanne Reid


Strangest search on the blog:

I love people! I love them because they are strange! Here is a selection of some of the strangest searches on the blog this season! I get a lot about gossip, boyfriends/girlfriends of biathletes and people looking for nude pictures! Sorry wrong blog for all that but there is always some gold in between! For example:

‘dorothea wierer speaking german’ Yes she does and Italian and English! Is there no end to her talents?
‘dorothea wierer jeans’ I don’t think the super fashionista and helicopter traveller would be seen in jeans these days! 😉
‘tuuli tomingas prize money’ If you want to know how much money she has Mr and Mrs Tomingas just ask her!
‘petra fialkova biathlon’ My favourite of the Fialkova sisters!
‘laura dahlmeier biathlon where she been’ Great question! Wasting her time by not being a biathlete anymore!
‘when did hanna oberg begin her youtube career’ Hey Oberg stick to biathlon! Leave the vlogging and blogging to others please! 😉
‘biathlon and drugs’ What you do at the weekend is your own business!
‘what is a super sprint in biathlon’ Exactly! All I know is it’s a sprint and it’s super!
‘benjamin weger career end’ Fear not he only ended the season early. Do you get the feeling he knew something we didn’t!

Winner: ‘scottish biathlete mike dixon best result’ – I believe it was getting a sweet job as biathlon commentator on Eurosport! Or as I like to call it – my job!

Best Facial Hair:
It looks like I am going to have to give this award to the same person in perpetuity! I mean nobody else has made much facial hair effort this season. Are beards out now? Are we back to clean shaven? Anyway nobody can beat this guy. Imagine the effort it takes to comb and wax that moustache everyday to look like D’Artagnan?

Winner: Timofey Lapshin

Best earrings:
There were some good earrings around this season but they were all blown out the water by the newly discovered Estonian earring legend! Sporting an earring made from an old casing – well hopefully it is old!- what could be more appropriate than that for a biathlete! Not sure anyone can top that in the future!

Winner: Regina Oja

Best fall:

There were quite a lot of falls this season especially in Oberhof. Kalev Ermits skied right off the tracks onto the road and then Dominik Windisch managed to hit everything down the side of the tracks but luckily just missed the lampost! However the best fall was in Kontiolahti. You have just announced your retirement, your team throws you up in the air in celebration – and then drop you on the ground from a great height! Hilariously funny and a great way to end a stellar career! NOT! 😉
Note to French team – see Finnish team for proper technique!

Winner: Martin Fouracde

Best GIF:
The GIFs on Instagram are a lot of fun! We had some dances, some very strange facial expressions and a bit of comedy too. My favourite and the one that comes in the most useful is a Norwegian who lifts his glasses, has a look and then gives a round of applause. Hopefully he will do the same for these awards!

Winner: Johannes Dale

Best rifle design:
Well I think this award is going to be retired this season! The biathletes are pretty pathetic at rifle design. We have the standouts of course – Davidova, Krcmar, Lesser etc. but they are not new. Seriously how hard is it to come up with a cool design! Oh I know I will just change the colour! Not good enough people! (I apologise if I have missed any good work on the IBU Cup or Juniors). Anyway in what is almost certainly the final awarding of best rifle design it is going to someone who actually makes their own rifle with their own fair hand which is pretty amazing.

Winner: Quentin Fillon Maillet

Best ski suit:
What do we look for in a good ski suit? Well first it needs to be easily recognisable from afar or in a crowd. It needs the colours of the country and of course it needs pizzazz! Germany looked like Germany again this season which was good. Norway always have a good suit. This year’s winner though was made especially for the World Championships. Normally I am against changing suit for World champs but this one is actually better than the World Cup suit! It has all the colours of the national flag and has pizzazz in abundance!

Winner: Belgium

Worst ski suit:
Bulgaria won this last season and then had the audacity not to even change their suit for this season! Do they not read the awards!!! This season I had to give worst suit to what can only be described as a harlequin gone wrong – badly wrong!

Winner: Romania

Best Biathlete23:
Not a lot of competetion this year for this award. Jakov Fak and Tarjei Boe both came 4th in bib23 at the World Championships in Antholz which was great. However almost at the last minute our heroine stepped up to save the day by getting biathlete23’s only podium in the sprint in Nove Mesto when she finished third! Unicorn power + bib23 = success! It’s simple maths! 😉

Winner: Marketa Davidova

Biggest Improver:
This was a straight fight between two biathletes. One is an estabished competitor who made leaps and bounds in performance this season and one is a young biathlete who has shown what amazing potential they have. Some suggested that it was Tora Berger in a mission impossible style mask, but I believe it was Tiril Eckhoff who won all those races and challenged for the overall title. A fall in the summer meant she spent a lot of time on her shooting and boy did it pay off. She was like a new biathlete. However the award is going to a young man who went from 24th to 5th in the overall in one season, took his first win at World Championships no less and won the world cup pursuit title. He had never made the World Cup podium before this season. Now that’s what I call improvement!

Winner: Emilien Jacquelin

Best Team Performance:
This was a no brainer! I mean winning every single race on the World Cup and the World Championships is a remarkable feat. The relay can easily be lost if just one team member has a bad day or even just one bad shoot. This team overcame everything that was thrown at them to be the first to win six races in one season.

Winner: Norwegian Women’s relay team

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
A difficult choice this season between three biathletes. Martin Fouracde winning his last race in Kontiolahti was emotional and Kaisa Makarainen winning in horrible conditions in the Oberhof mass start in her last season was extremely impressive. The award goes to another however. She won the pursuit gold medal in her home town at the World Championships under enormous pressure. After a shaky start in the sprint were she finished 7th she fought off some of the best biathletes around to take the win. It was a dream come true! – oh and she isn’t retiring!

Winner: Dorothea Wierer

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
A tough decision this year. We had Johannes Boe winning his second overall in a row and Dorothea Wierer doing the same. Martin Fourcade came back to near his best and Emilien Jacquelin and Tiril Eckhoff both had breakthough seasons for different reasons. However the award is going to a history maker and fantastic biathlete who is the first to win seven medals in seven races at World Championships. She went home to Norway with five gold and two bronze medals from Antholz. Sustaining that level of performance over such a short time is outstanding.

Winner: Marte Olsbu Roeiseland

IPC Para-biathlete of the Year:
The para biathlon World Championship was cancelled this year so it comes down to World Cup performances to decide this one. Ivan Golubkov, Vladislav Lekomtsev and Oleksandra Kononova were strong contenders for this but the award goes to a sit skier who is a remarkable biathlete. She skis very well but her shooting is incredible. She took the overall title in the sitting category, winning 4 of the 7 races, for the second year in a row up against some tough opposition.

Winner: Kendall Gretsch

Junior Biathlete of the Year:
It wasn’t an easy decision for this one. There have been some very good performances from the juniors this season not only on the junior tour but also on the World Cup. One that stood out was a 22-year-old from Bulgaria. She won a medal in each individual event at the Junior World Championships (individual silver, sprint and pursuit bronze) and took a personal best on the World Cup of 17th at the Senior World Championships. She is from a small biathlon nation that lacks the same funding as the big nations which makes her performances even more impressive!

Winner: Milena Todorova

Youth Biathlete of the Year:

The Youth World Championships were held in Lenzerheide in January and one biathlete stood out for his performances across the whole event. The 18-year-old Norwegian won three gold medals. He was first in the individual, first in the pursuit and anchored the Norwegian relay team to victory. His worst result over 4 races was 4th in the sprint! Outstanding – watch out Johannes!

Winner: Martin Nevland

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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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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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Nove Mesto 2020: The Sprints!

It was a very different Nove Mesto which greeted our biathletes for the Sprint races. There are no fans here due to corona virus so the stand are all lying empty. Some people have complained about it but they would complain more if they caught it, sneezed on their grandmother and killed her so we just have to get on with it.

One person who wasn’t complaining was Denise Herrmann. The silence in the stadium helped her hit 10/10 and with her fast skiing no one could beat her in the sprint. Anais Bescond also hit 10/10 to take second place. It was great shooting considering the windy conditions.

Third place went to home favourite and bib23 wearer Marketa Davidova with 9/10. It was a shame for her not having the huge Czech crowd there to cheer for her podium place.

Mari Eder was 4th with her best result for a while, Tiril Eckhoff was 5th despite 2 misses and Hanna Oeberg was 6th with 1 miss. Dorothea Wierer was 24th meaning her lead in the total score is getting smaller!

Elvira Oeberg got her personal best in 8th with 10/10 as did Regina Oja in 20th with 9/10. Fanqi Meng improved ger PB to 38th with 10/10 and Erika Jaenkae got a massive PB in 46th with 9/10.

In the men’s race it was speed that won the day with Johannes Boe hitting 10/10 and winning by nearly 23 seconds! Quentin Fillon Maillet was second also hitting 10/10 but wasn’t fast enough for the win. Third went to Tarjei Boe who also shot the perfect score to complete the Boe-dium!

Home boy Michal Krcmar was 4th and Jakov Fak 5th both with 10/10 and Martin Fourcade was 6th with 1 miss and two broken poles!

Tero Seppala got his personal best in 7th with 10/10. Sturla Laegreid made his World Cup debut for Norway, hit 10/10 and finished 13th! Fangming Cheng got his PB in 16th with 10/10 and another debutant 19-year-old Tommaso Giacomel of Italy hit 10/10 to finish 27th! Said Khalili got his best result so far in 44th despite 2 misses.

Special mention for Jakub Stvrtecky who fell, got caught in the nets at the side of the tracks and had to use the spare rifle but still hit 10/10!

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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: The Pursuits!

We can always rely on the pursuits for a bit of action and we were not let down today at the world championships. It was a beautiful sunny day in Antholz as usual and not much wind in the range.

The women raced first and it was a win for home favourite Dorothea Wierer! It’s always good to see the home nation getting a gold medal and it’s extra special for Wierer as she is literally at home! It’s not just in her country it’s her home town!

It wasn’t easy for her starting 7th with 39 seconds to make up on Marte Olsbu Roeiseland at the start. At the first prone it was Roeiseland who made the first mistake and it was Susan Dunklee who took advantage hitting 5/5. Wierer also hit 5/5 and was already up to third place.

At the second prone it was Dunklee who missed but Roeiseland and Wierer both hit 5. By the third shoot these two were close together and both hit 5/5 again. Behind them Denise Herrmann was moving up the field despite a couple of misses.

It all came down to the final shoot and all of the top three had misses however Wierer just had 1 and Roeiseland 2. She left the range and headed out on her way to victory all alone for a celebratory final lap. Herrmann also missed 1 and came out with Roeiseland from the penalty loop. These two would race for silver and it was Herrmann who was too strong for Roeiseland who had to settle for bronze.

Hanna Oeberg finished 4th, Vanessa Hinz 5th and Ivona Fialkova was 6th getting her personal best in the process.

Further back in the field there were some big moves with Ingrid Tandrevold going from 57th to 14th, Tiril Eckhoff from 59th to 20th, Elisa Gasparin from 50th to 16th hitting 20/20, Irina Starykh from 53rd to 24th and Larisa Kuklina from 48th to 23rd.

The only other woman to hit the perfect 20 was Karoline Horchler taking bib 23 to 15th!

The men raced next and it was a very close finish at the end which saw Emilien Jacquelin take his first ever win and first world title!

The race began with Alexander Loginov in full control of things. He hit 15/15 and it looked like the race was his. Quentin Fillon Maillet missed 4 on the first prone and was completely out of the race straight away. Martin Fourcade was hanging in there in second place until he missed at the third shoot. Johannes Boe missed one on both prone shoots.

Meanwhile Jacquelin was hitting all his targets and after the third shoot had moved up to second place. Everthing hinged on the final shoot. Loginov missed one but Boe and Jacquelin cleaned and so it would be a ski race to the finish! It was Jacquelin who was stronger and after hitting 20/20 he fully deserved the win.

Loginov was third, Martin Fourcade 4th, Arnd Peiffer 5th and Tarjei Boe 6th.

Simon Eder was the only other man to hit 20/20 to move from 37th to 12th, Vetle Christiansen went from 33rd to 10th and Erlend Bjoentegaard from 35th to 15th. Jakov Fak moved from 45th to 21st and Ondrej Moravec from 46th to 22nd.

There is a rest day on Monday and then it’s the women’s individual on Tuesday!

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Antholz 2020: Men’s Sprint!

Since when did sprint racing become so exciting? Normally it’s the pursuit or mass start that has you on the edge of your seat but we have just had two crazy sprints in a row at the world championships!

Today it was the men’s turn and Johannes Boe in bib 3 set out like a man on a mission! He had a massive lead right up until he missed in the prone of course! Behind him Quentin Fillon Maillet was also skiing super fast and then he missed in the prone too!

Martin Fourcade who started after both of them hit 10/10 but wasn’t skiing fast enough to match Fillon Maillet after he took the lead at the finish when both he and Johannes Boe cleaned in the standing.

Next came Tarjei Boe in bib23 and he also hit 10/10 but again couldn’t match the ski speed of the Frenchmen at the finish but he did get in front of his little brother to lie in third place.

However it was Alexander Loginov who would win the gold medal. He hit the perfect 10 and finished 6.5 seconds ahead of Fillon Maillet who kept silver and Martin Fourcade who got bronze.

It has caused a lot of controversy of course as Loginov has served a doping ban in the past and it was also revealed today that his fellow Russian Evgeny Ustyugov has been given a ban which covers the Sochi Olympics and will result in Russia being stripped of their men’s relay gold medal if upheld on appeal.

That being said the current rules are that Loginov is free to compete and if Fillon Maillet had hit all 10 targets he would have been the champion.

Tarjei Boe finished 4th, Johannes Boe 5th and Emilien Jacquelin 6th. There were personal bests for Martin Otcenas in 13th, Anton Smolski in 15th and Kosuke Ozaki in 49th.

The top 10 today were separated by under 1 minute so the pursuit should be fun tomorrow!

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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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Ruhpolding 2020: The Pursuits!

Well the pursuits are supposed to be exciting aren’t they? Not if bib number one wins them both!

So it maybe wasn’t such a great race to watch in the women pursuit at the front but behind Tiril Eckhoff it was all to play for.

Miss Eckhoff had a great race missing just 1 target and with a 30 second lead at the start her lead was unassailable. It’s her 6th win this season and she has won every pursuit race so far. Could she win the Overall? If she keeps this form up of course!

Behind her it was a tight race between Hanna Oeberg and Paulina Fialkova. They both hit 18/20 and left the final standing together but Fialkova was the stronger skier today and grabbed second with Oberg third.

Johanna Skottheim was amazing in 4th hitting 19/20 and getting a new PB and her first world cup flowers. Linn Persson was 5th and Denise Herrmann went from 19th to 6th.

Vita Semerenko was the only woman to shoot the perfect score and moved from 34th to 8th.

In the men’s race it was close at the front between Martin Fourcade and Quentin Fillon Maillet who matched each other shot for shot up until the third shoot. Fillon Maillet missed one while Fourcade cleaned to take a decisive lead. He would go on to shoot 20/20 for his 81st win.

The excitement came in the race for third with Simon Desthieux, Vetle Christiansen and Benedikt Doll leaving the final shoot close together. It came down to a ski race which Christiansen won on the line just beating Desthieux.

Doll was 5th, Emilien Jacquelin 6th and Antonin Guigonnat 8th meaning there were 5 Frenchmen in the top 8!

Tarjei Boe went from 28th to 7th, Ondrej Moravec hit 20/20 to go from 30th to 18th and Lars Birkeland was the only other man to hit all 20 moving from 41st to 20th.

The World Cup now moves on to Pokljuka for Individuals, Mass Starts and the Single Mixed and Mixed Relays.

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