Tag Archives: Vetle Christiansen

Season Preview 2019/20: The Men!

The light bulbs in the floodlights have all been replaced in Oestersund, the fog machines have been serviced in Oberhof (you didn’t think that was real fog ,did you?) and the Kontiolahti Wall has been made a little bit steeper. All of which can only mean one thing – the biathlon season is about to start!

The schedule is a little different this year with Oestersund, Hochfilzen and Annecy before Christmas. Then comes Oberhof, Ruhpolding and Pokljuka. The World Championships are in Antholz and then we have three more World Cup rounds in Nove Mesto, Kontiolahti and Oslo.

The big question on everyone’s mind on the men’s World Cup is which Martin Fourcade is going to show up in Sweden? Will it be 7 times champion Martin Fourcade or 2018/19 Martin Fourcade? Fingers crossed it’s the former. It’s about time we had a proper head to head clash on the men’s World Cup.

Last season was fantastic for Johannes Boe. He won the big crystal globe with 1262 points which was 408 points ahead of his closest challenger Alexander Loginov and almost double the tally of Fourcade. Fourcade had many issues last year but he still had a great season by “normal biathlete” standards. However he is not a normal biathlete as we know and if he comes back with his old form we could have a battle between himself and Boe the likes of which we haven’t seen since Troy.

Of course there is an “Achillies Heel”! Johannes Boe is set to become a father for the first time in January. Obviously baby Boe has priority so it could mean him missing some races which could impact a close title fight. And there is Trojan Horse of injury and illness that could sneak up unexpectedly!

Won’t there be any other challengers for the title I hear you ask? No, probably not! There are many biathletes who ski as fast as Boe and Fourcade and many who shoot as well as them too. However there are none who can do both on such a consistent basis as our two favourites.

It is shaping up to be a fight between Norway and France not just via Boe and Fourcade but also with the rest of the guys too. Last season Quentin Fillon Maillet was excellent and finished third overall and Simon Desthieux was fourth. Tarjei Boe was sixth and Vetle Christiansen took a big step forward winning his first World Cup race. Antonin Guigonnat had a great season and Erlend Bjoentegaard will be looking to impress. So the relays could get very exciting as well as the individual races.

Who else should we be looking out for to do well this season? Who could taste victory for the first time and who could make the jump up onto the podium?

There is always a lot of attention on Sebastian Samuelsson after his Olympic successes but he is yet to win a race. I think people forget that he is still a biathlon “baby” aged just 22. He got his first World Cup podium last season and it would be great to see him make the jump up to the top step.

Johannes Keuhn had a great start last season getting a second place in the first race. However he faded a bit after the initial glory but it could be his chance this time to take a maiden victory.

Remember Michal Krcmar? He disappeared last season along with the rest of the Czech men’s team. The year before though he excelled so if he can get that old form back a win could be his for the first time. And let’s face it his rifle deserves a victory!

A surprise winner at the World Championships, it would be good to see Dmytro Pidruchnyi bring that confidence and attitude with him on to the World Cup this season and hopefully gets some more wins under his belt.

Johannes Dale is one to watch for possible podiums this season. He did really well debuting on the World Cup last year and has the ski speed to get among the top finishers. It would also be good to see Sean Doherty live up to the potential he showed as a Junior. 10th is his personal best so far but after joining the army this summer maybe a bit if discipline and a good haircut can propel him up the field! Attention!

Tero Seppala didn’t have the best season in 2018/19 but he had good results the year before so hopefully he can also take a step forward. Christian Gow had a fantastic season with two Top 10 finishes and he could be a good bet to grab Canada a podium this time round.

The men’s season for the Overall Title begins with the Sprint race in Oestersund on the 1st of December. The World Cup opens on the 30th of November with the single and mixed relays.

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Spring Things 2019!

It’s summer! Not a biathlon fans favourite season is it? But it means there is only autumn between now and winter! Before the biathlon23 summer season of interviews starts it’s time to remind you what things happened in spring. That’s right -it’s Spring Things!!!

Retirements:

Well we all got a shock in May when Laura Dahlmeier announced her retirement at the age of 25! (How dare she!!) It was pretty well known that she wouldn’t be a Bjoerndalen and carry on forever but we thought we could get another Olympics out of her at least! Gabriela Koukalova who hasn’t raced for 2 seasons confirmed that she won’t be coming back and so is another biathlon pensioner!

Other retirements in spring included Henrik L’Abee Lund who joins Bjoerndalen and Svendsen in putting his feet up on the Norwegian sofa. Canada’s Erin Yungblut also ended her career as did Finland’s Laura Toivanen.

Relationships:

It was a spring of weddings this year with Eva Puskarcikova tying the knot. Russian pair Nikita Porshnev and Anastasiia Morozova also got married to each other. Monika Hojnisz married another Polish nordic star cross-country skier Maciej Starega.

Anais Chevalier will miss the season after she announced that she is pregnant with her first child. Congratulations to all of them!

In tragic news young Russian biathlete Artemii Khasankaev passed away.

Coaching carousel:

As usual we had the annual swapping of biathlon coaches. Sometimes I think they just put all the names in a hat and then the countries pick them out like a raffle!

Michael Greis left the US men’s team and is now coaching the Polish women’s team after Nadiya Bilova stepped down for health reasons. Norwegian Vegard Bitnes takes over the US men’s team.

Also in North America Mathias Ahrens is no longer coaching the Canadian national team but will coach for Biathlon Alberta.

Wolfgang Pichler retired from Sweden and was replaced by Anders Byström who will be the National Team Manager and Johannes Lukas who takes over the position of National Team Coach.

Russia have added another coach with the appointment of Maxim Maksimov as assistant to the head coach.

Simon Fourcade is the new coach of the French Junior team.

And if you have followed all that you deserve a medal! Not an Olympic one of course maybe just a bronze from a World Cup round! 😉

Injuries:

The bike strikes again this time with Erik Lesser falling off and breaking his collarbone. Vetle Christiansen had surgery to correct an issue with his left knee. Anna Magnusson also had an operation on a ligament in her left hand. Tiril Eckhoff had a rollerski accident ending with an enormous lump on her hip.

Other things of spring:

Martin Fourcade announced that he will be hosting a nordic festival over the weekend of the 31st of August in Annecy. He has ingeniously called it the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival! How did he come up with that! 😉
Most of the big stars in biathlon will be there including Johannes Boe! Imagine if he beats Fourcade in his own competition!!!

Kaisa Makarainen, Liza Vittozzi and Dorothea Wierer will be competing along with many of the French biathletes amongst others.

We also had the excitement of the Giro d’Italia finishing a stage in the Antholz biathlon arena watched on by all the Italian biathletes. It was nice to see but we don’t really want to encourage other sports that are not as good as biathlon, do we!

Dorothea Wierer also put in an appearance at the Moto GP race in Mugello getting a photo with some guy called Marquez. Better still she also got a photo with Herbert Cool the former Dutch biathlete and now biathlon commentator who is moonlighting at the Moto GP in the summer!

The IBU announced a few changes with prize money now being awarded to the top 20 finishers instead of the top 15. Why stop there? Shouldn’t it be the Top 40 – if you get a point, you get a prize!

They have also introduced a “season opening” to open the 2020/21 season in Kontiolahti. (They get their naming ideas from Martin Fourcade!) I think this is basically just an extra World Cup round that they can’t call World Cup 1 as Oestersund was already given the title!

The IBU also held a gender equality conference in Poland which is an excellent initiative. Biathlon is one of the most gender equal sports when it comes to the athletes but has a long way to go with a lack of female coaches and women in leadership positions.

Last but certainly not least the IPC have announced that Para-biathlon will have it’s own World Championship this season for the first time! They will take place in Oestersund from the 11th to 15th March 2020 without a cross-country skier in sight!!!
(Up until now cross-country and biathlon have had combined World Championships.)

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The Biathlon23 Awards 2018/19!!!

Hello and welcome to the 6th 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. Mirroring the Oscars this season we also had The Favourite, A Star is Born, Incredibles and First Man!(you can decide who is who!)

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):
Technically speaking the most hits this year was Paulina Fialkova again! But seeing as she did the interview in 2017 it is not eligible for this award. Only people interviewed for season 2018/19 are in the running. Coming a close second was the lovely Regina Oja from Estonia but I am very happy to say that this season’s winner is a para biathlete for the first time ever! However I have to questions how many times he has read his own interview himself! 😉
Winner: Derek Zaplotinsky

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:

“reason for grosch to change from germany to belgium biathalom team” A German beer becoming Belgian because it couldn’t get on the bierhalle drinks list
“anna öberg, tim lahaye, laura vittozzi” How they will be known from now on!
“tiril eckhoff see thru” As far as I know she isn’t!
“paulina fialkova postal addressJust send it to P.Fialkova, Slovakia. It will get there!
“what does marie laure brunet do in her spare time” Same as the rest of us she watches biathlon!
“regina oja friend” I think she has one but it is still to be confirmed
“biathlon knit band” What? Seriously though, what?
“biathlon vladimir russia” Yes I think we can safely say he has a hand in it!
“rene denfeld biathlon” Never heard of him/her. Maybe try tennis? 😉

Winner: “jonas dinges boe biathlon” This made me laugh for a worrying length of time!

Best Facial Hair:
There can only be one winner this season despite valiant efforts from both Max Durtschi and Igor Malinovskii. Right from the very first race this guy was always going get this award. Looking much like I would imagine one of the three muskateers would, with the pointy beard and curled moustache! A facial hair legend!
Winner: Timofey Lapshin

Best earrings:
There have not been many memorable earrings this season. I was tempted to give this award to one of the Norwegian men who was using frost tape on their ears in Canmore when it was so cold but then I remembered one pair in particular. Bold and beautiful just like their wearer you couldn’t really miss these!
Winner: Mona Brorsson


Best fall:

This season’s award does not go to one single faller but to a whole race. It was a cross between Bambi on ice and Armeggedon back in January. With windy and wet snow conditions this race saw at least 7 big falls with most casualties occuring on the Frankfurter cross. Franziska Hildebrand and Johanna Taliharm were the first to go down but the worst falls came from Karoline Knotten and Lisa Teresa Hauser who both broke their rifles. It was terrible for the biathletes but quite fun to watch all the same!!! Oh we are bad people! 😉
Winner: Oberhof Women’s Relay

Best biathlon video:
Usually this award goes to a video that has been carefully planned and filmed. This one was totally spontaneous and a joy to watch. It features Italian Eurosport commentators Dario Puppo and Max Ambesi and their amazing reaction to the final shooting in the mass start at the World Championships in Oestersund. When Dominik Windisch hit 5/5 to take the lead they seemed quite happy about it! It mainly just involves grown men shouting “five”, “five” “crazy”, “he could be in the lead”, “he’s in the lead!” but most things sound better in Italian when shouted very loudly of course! 😉
Watch the video here:

Winner: Italian Eurosport Mass Start commentary

Best GIF:
This season the IBU made some GIFs for biathlon for use on Instagram. There were quite a few – some good some not so good! There was some fancy dance moves from Erik Lesser and Kaisa Makarainen. The less said about Quentin Fillon Maillet the better though!!! The Norwegians have a strong GIF game with Johannes Boe and Erlend Bjoentagaard but I am giving it to another Norwegian mainly for the most pathetic karate kick in the history of the world and his own reaction to it!
Winner: Tarjei Boe

Best rifle design:
With the retirement of the Lord of Rifle Design Anton Shipulin (how could you do that to me Anton?!) rifle design has gone downhill fast. Most are now one solid colour (boring!) or the colours of the national flag (boring!). Some are still super cool like Erik Lesser’s and Marketa Davidova’s but they haven’t changed! Vetle Christiansen has an interesting rifle as it’s the only one without a traditional groove for the left hand but it is a hideous colour which can only be described as puce! Luckily amidst the mediocre appeared one man with an awesome design. He has a white lion carved into the stock at the butt with some red and blue detail and another lion with a crown further up towards the trigger. Děkuji!
Winner: Michal Krcmar

Best ski suit:
The ski suits have been OK this season. Nothing too horrendous but then nothing that stood out as great either. It’s a bit like the rifles really. The Czech Republic had a nice suit as did Slovakia. Norway’s is always decent. France and Germany didn’t even bother changing theirs. I narrowed it down to two and although I really like the Belarus ski suit I chose this one because I like the design and colours even though they say nothing about the country they are from!
Winner: China

Worst ski suit:
Well there weren’t too many bad suits this season. The Swedes took my recommendation on board and added some blue to the yellow suit. The USA changed theirs entirely as did Russia. No more pixels!!! The award this year goes to a suit that basically looks like a human has been skinned alive and you can see all their veins running down their leg (if veins were green that is!)
Winner: Bulgaria

Best Biathlete23:
There was only one win on the World Cup this year in bib23 so this was an easy decision! It was a young Norwegian guy who was first in the sprint race in Nove Mesto. It is his second victory in bib23. He is not very popular and hasn’t done much in biathlon this season so you may not have heard of him! It’s Jonas Dinges Boe.
Winner: Johannes Thingnes Boe

Biggest Improver:
A hard decision this year with so many new winners on the World Cup mainly for the women but also the men. Quentin Fillon Maillet finally got his first win as did Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. However my decision came down to two. Vetle Christiansen won his first race in the Soldier Hollow sprint and went from 54th to 13th in the total score. That was mainly due to him completing a whole World Cup season though. My winner moved from 63rd to 18th in the total score, got lots of top twenty finishes this season and got her first ever podium finishing third in the final race of the season in Oslo.
Winner: Clare Egan

Best Team Performance:
There was only one option for this award after this country totally dominated all the relays in Oestersund at the World Championships. They won the mixed relay, the single mixed relay, the women’s relay and the men’s relay!!! That’s team work!
Winner: Norwegian World Champs relay teams

Biathlon23’s performance of the season:
There can only be one! I mean who comes from so far back to win the World Championship title in the mass start! In a crazy race he held his nerve and shot clean when most of those around him missed to take his first gold medal. It just shows that you should never give up in biathlon no matter where you are in the race because you never know what might happen!!
Winner: Dominik Windisch

IBU Biathlete of the Year:
There are two main contenders this season. The first in Johannes Thingnes Boe. He dominated the men’s tour with a record breaking 16 wins, all the crystal globes and 4 gold medals at the World Championships. He didn’t win this though! The winner was also a history maker becoming the first woman from her country to win the Overall title and the first to win a World Championship gold medal winning the mass start. She also won the small crystal globe in the pursuit and a silver and bronze in the single mixed and mixed relays at World Championships. It was a huge fight all season for the total score and she had to work so, so hard for it competing against the likes of Kaisa Makarainen at the start of the season and then teammate Lisa Vittozzi and Anastasiya Kuzmina at the end.
Winner: Dorothea Wierer

IPC Para-biathlete of the Year:
There were some amazing biathlon performances this season for the para biathletes. The USA’s Kendall Gretsch won the sitting class for the women and Ukraine’s Taras Rad for the men. Oleksandra Kononova took the women’s standing with Clara Klug winning the women’s vision impaired and Yury Holub was a double World Champions in men’s vision impaired. However one person stood out having won the overall title in the men’s standing as well as all three World Championship titles. He hardly missed a target all season and skied really well too. I did interview him this season so that probably explains all his success! 😉
Winner: Benjamin Daviet

Junior Biathlete of the Year:
This award goes to a 21-year-old German woman who had a fantastic year. She won the Junior Cup which shows good consistency across the season. At the Junior World Championships in Orsblie she won three medals; silver in the pursuit, bronze in the sprint and silver in the women’s relay.
Winner: Hanna Kebinger

Youth Biathlete of the Year:

Youth biathlete of the year goes to someone who celebrates their 19th birthday tomorrow. What a great present this must be!!! 😉 This young Slovenian won double gold in the sprint and pursuit at the Youth World Championships in Orsblie as well as helping his teammates to the relay silver medal. He also finished 5th in the Junior Cup total score where he is competing against juniors some of whom are 2 or 3 years older than him.
Winner:Alex Cisar

Bonus award:
Craziest fan:

It’s obvious right? Anyone who dresses in a giant dinosaur costume and runs alongside the tracks deserves recognition! We appreciate the madness!
Winner: T-rex from Soldier Hollow

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Season Review 2018/19: The Men!

Well, well, well you didn’t expect that at the start of the season did you? After 7 years of total domination Martin Fourcade’s reign as Overall champion is over. Johannes Boe is the new champion finally living up to his potential!

However we have basically just swapped one dominant biathlete for another as no one got near Boe in the Total Score.He accumulated 1262 points to win his first big crystal globe. Second place went to Alexander Loginov with 856 points and third to Quentin Fillon Maillet with 843 points.

There were only 8 men who even won a race this season including Boe but we did have 4 brand new victors which is always good to see.

At the start of the season in Pokljuka it looked like business as usual for Martin Fourcade as he won the first race of the season taking victory in the individual. It didn’t continue that way as we know with Boe winning both the sprint and pursuit.

It was still pretty even in Hochfilzen with Boe taking the sprint but Fourcade the pursuit. Yes we thought – a proper battle for number one! Alas we were to be disappointed on that front but Boe gave us some amazing races to enjoy along the way.

He really turned the screw in Nove Mesto winning all three races and taking a lot of points from the others. In Oberhof we got our first new winner of the season with Alexander Loginov taking the sprint for his debut win on the World Cup. I imagine it might have come sooner if he had decided to be a clean athlete and didn’t miss two years with a doping ban.

Johannes came back to win the pursuit and did the double in Ruhpolding with sprint and pursuit victory. He won the same two races in Antholz but in the mass start the biathlon gods finally looked down on Quentin Fillon Maillet and gave him his first ever World Cup win. After 5 second place finishes in his career he really deserved it.

In Canmore there was just the short individual which Boe won but in Soldier Hollow he didn’t get a victory for the first time at a World Cup round!! Instead it was teammate Vetle Christiansen who got his maiden World Cup win in the sprint. The pursuit went to Fillon Maillet who waited ages for his first win and then gets another one shortly after. I wonder if he takes the bus! 😉

In Oestersund at the World Championships there was no such domination from one athlete with four different winners in the individual events (hurrah!). The sprint of course went to Johannes Boe but Dmytro Pidruchnyi won the pursuit which was his first ever win, Arnd Peiffer took the individual and the mass start went to Dominik Windisch in a race we won’t forget for a long time.

At the final round in Holmenkollen it was the Boe show! He won all three races; the sprint, pursuit and mass start with some fantastic performances. He also broke the record for the most wins in a single season. He won 16 races!!! Unboelievable!!! The previous record was 14 which Martin Fourcade did last year to match Magdalena Forsberg. I’m sure he was delighted it was broken so quickly!!! 😉

It was a clean sweep of all the small globes for Boe in the sprint, pursuit, individual and mass start unsurprisingly.

Rookie of the year went to another Norwegian called Johannes but this time it was Mr. Dale who won it!

Relays
In the four relays before World Championships Sweden won the first in Hochfilzen, Russia won in Oberhof and Norway triumphed in both Ruhpolding and Canmore. In Oestersund it was Norway who took the gold with Lars Helge Birkelund, Vetle Christiansen and the Boe brothers making up the team.

There were just two mixed relays before the Worlds and both were won by the French. In Oestersund it was Norway who took the gold. The team of Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Vetle Christiansen and Johannes Boe were too strong for the other teams.

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Holmenkollen 2019: The Mass Starts!

It wasn’t really the epic battle we hoped for between Dorothea Wierer, Lisa Vittozzi and Anastasiya Kuzmina to decide the winner of the overall title in the mass start. All three looked physically and mentally drained after a tough season. They finished with Kuzmina in 10th missing 6 targets, Vittozzi in 11th missing 5 and Wierer in 12th also missing 5!

It was more than enough though for Wierer to claim her and Italy’s first ever big crystal globe in the women’s event. It was very well deserved by Wierer as she has been in the fight from the start fighting with Kaisa Makarainen in the earlier part of the season, then against Vittozzi and then finally Kuzmina.

Back to the race and it was close after the first prone with Hanna Oberg, Dorothea Wierer, Paulina Fialkova, Kaisa Makarainen, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Tiril Eckhoff all shooting clean and getting themselves a small lead over the others.

At the second prone it was again Oberg who led out of the shooting range hit 5/5. The leading group was halved however with just Eckhoff and Fialkova matching Oberg with no misses.

The three arrived at the first standing and all three missed! Oberg and Fialkova missed 1, Eckhoff missed 2. That gave the chasers a chance to close the gap and that’s just what Clare Egan with 15/15 and Denise Herrmann with
13/15 did.

At the final stand Oberg missed one again but so did her rivals Egan and Eckhoff. Herrmann missed 2 and Fialkova 3. That left Oberg out in front but being pursued by Eckhoff and Egan. Egan caught and passed Eckhoff but possibly used too much energy doing so and the Norwegian repassed her and even had a go a catching Oberg for the win but she ran out of track.

It was Oberg’s first win on the World Cup and also saw her win the mass start crystal globe. It was a personal best and first ever podium for Egan in third.

Herrmann was 4th, Lisa Hauser 5th and Fialkova 6th.

Evgeniya Pavlova was crowned rookie of the year.

Who wins 16 races in one season? Johannes Thingnes Boe that’s who! What an unbelievable season it has been for the Norwegian and he capped it off with a hattrick of wins at home and shooting 20/20 in the mass start to secure the small crystal globe. He made a clean sweep of all the globes this year and he has been outstanding. Unlike his celebratory viking helmet!!! Not only historically inaccurate but not very well fitting either! 😉

In the race itself it was Antonin Guigonnat who took the lead after the first prone but he was followed very closely by Julian Eberhard, Vetle Christainsen, Boe, Sebastian Samuelsson and Arnd Peiffer.

At the second prone it was Christiansen who took on the lead with Boe, Peiffer, Phillip Nawrath and Fabien Claude behind him after they all shot 5/5.

Christiansen missed 2 on the first standing but Boe, Peiffer and Nawrath cleaned as did Bendikt Doll who was making up ground fast after an early mistake.

It was Boe who pulled out a lead before the 4th and final shoot of the season. He seems to have solved all his standing issues and cleaned and cruised off to victory. On the range Peiffer cleaned also hitting 20/20 to take second place. Christiansen made no mistakes this time leaving in third. Doll had 1 miss but came off the penalty loop right behind the Norwegian.

Christiansen couldn’t hold off the charging Doll however and he was passed on the tracks. Doll took the last place on the podium and Julian Eberhard came back to take 4th with Christiansen having to settle for 5th. Lukas Hofer took 6th but he and Simon Desthieux got tangled up on the small hill before the finishing straight and both fell. It was the Italian who recovered fastest to take the final flowers of the season!

Fabien Claude got his personal best in 12th and Lucas Fratzscher pushed his up to 13th.

Johannes Dale won rookie of the season.

And just like that the season was finished! It has been a historic and memorable one but more about that in my season reviews and there is the small matter of some awards to hand out too! 🙂

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Holmenkollen 2019: The Pursuits!

Well, well, well someone knows how to finish their career in style! Anastasiya Kuzmina was untouchable in the pursuit making it look easy!!! What a performance! She shot 20/20 and won the race by 1 minute and 42 seconds. She has one race left, the mass start, and who would bet against her winning that one too.

Luckily we had a bit of action behind Kuzmina. It was Franziska Pruess and Celia Aymonier who were chasing her after the first prone but teammate Paulina Fialkova missed 2 to put her out of the running.

However on the second prone both Preuss and Aymonier missed and so it was left to the Swedes Elisabeth Hoegberg and Linn Persson to take up the chase in second and third after going 10/10 in the prone. They were followed closely by Tiril Eckhoff, Denise Herrmann and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland.

Herrmann and Persson celaned on the first stand to take second and third. Another Swede Hanna Oberg moved into 4th just ahead of Clare Egan, Eckhoff and Hoegberg.

As usual it was shoot 4 that decided the places. Herrmann, Persson and Oberg all missed 1 while Egan and Eckhoff missed 2 and Hoegberg missed 3. Roeiseland cleaned.

In the end it was Herrmann who kept second place with Hanna Oberg third. Persson was beaten in a sprint finish by Roeiseland who took 4th but it was still a personal best for Persson in 5th. Eckhoff was 6th.

Elsewhere Kaisa Makarainen went from 32nd to 8th and Anais Bescond from 52nd to 25th. Thelka Brun-Lie got a PB in 23rd as did Janina Hettich in 32nd.

Dorothea Wierer was 12th and so won the crystal globe for the pursuit and further extended her lead in the total score.

LEGEND ALERT! History was made in the men’s race with Johannes Thingnes Boe winning his 15th race of the season! He broke the previous record of 14 for most wins in a single season. It also won him the pursuit crystal globe. Amazing!

He started the race well cleaning the first prone and looked comfortable out front. He was followed by Lukas Hofer, Bendikt Doll and big brother Tarjei. To make it exciting Johannes missed 2 in the second prone but Tarjei and Hofer cleaned and so reduced his lead significantly. Behind them came Arnd Peiffer, Vetle Christiansen and Felix Leitner.

At the first standing shoot Johannes cleaned and so did Tarjei. Leitner moved into third after hitting 15/15. At the final shoot both brothers missed 1 and went on to finish in first and second for another Boe-dium! Leitner and Peiffer cleaned.

Unfortunately Peiffer was stronger on the tracks than Leitner and he took third but it was still a personal best for the Austrian youngster in 4th. Christiansen was 5th and Hofer 6th.

Sean Doherty went from 32nd to 11th, Lucas Fratzscher went from 31st to 15th for a PB and Andrejs Rastogujevs went from 49th to 21st.

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Oestersund 2019: The Mass Starts!

MEATBALLS! I have left the most delicious part of my Swedish theme until last and so did the Italians! Buon appetito!

Dorothea Wierer made history in Oestersund becoming the first Italian woman to win a World Championship title! She missed the women’s relay yesterday and took part in the Mass Start for points to help her in her quest for the Overall title. I don’t think she was expecting to win, but she did just that with a fabulous shooting performance, well up to the final standing anyway!

It was Hanna Oberg who started the best leading out of the first prone but she was quickly passed on the tracks by the on-form Denise Herrmann.

At the second prone it was Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht who left the range first but she was joined by five others who had all shot the perfect 10/10. They were Wierer, Franziska Preuss, Ingrid Tandrevold, Clare Egan and Iryna Kryuko.

All six came into the first stand together but it was Wierer who left on her own. She hit 5/5 very fast and the other five all missed targets to give the Italian a good lead.

At the final shoot Wierer missed 2 but was far enough ahead to complete her penalty loops and stay in front. Yurlova-Percht had 1 penalty as did Denise Herrmann and they had to settle for silver and bronze.

Hanna Oberg was 4th,Tiril Eckhoff 5th and Laura Dahlmeier 6th.

Joanne Reid in her first Mass Start had an amazing race finishing in 10th for her career best result.

Lisa Vittozzi missed 4 in the prone and was close to last place but then cleaned the stand to move back up to 8th place!! A result which leaves her and her teammate, roommate and friend Dorothea Wierer tied on points for the Overall title!!!

The men’s race was crazy! It was snowy and windy just like the women’s race. After the prone shoot Benedikt Doll took a small lead but with 18 out of 30 biathletes shooting clean most of the field were still in contention. People who did miss however were Dominik Windisch (1) and Antonin Guigonnat (2).

At the second prone Johannes Boe took over the lead with Doll missing but he was joined at the front by brother Tarjei, Arnd Peiffer, Dmytro Pidruchnyi, Julian Eberhard and Simon Desthieux.

The third shoot was a disaster for the leaders. Johannes missed 2, Desthieux 4, Tarjei 3, Eberhard 3, Peiffer 2 and Pidruchnyi 1. Evgeniy Garanichev hit all 5 and took the lead having hit all 15 targets up to then to take the lead. He was followed by Vetle Christiansen who did the same. Pidruchnyi was in third but was soon passed on the tracks by Johannes Boe and Bendikt Doll.

The final shoot was madness but one man came out a hero! Dominik Windisch hit all 5 having missed one on each shoot up to then to take the lead! Everyone else at the sharp end missed except Alexander Loginov. With just 1 miss Simon Eder moved into third and also with 1 miss each came Antonin Guigonnat and Julian Eberhard right behind him.

Guigonnat and Eberhard passed Eder on track but by this time Windisch was out front extending his lead and skied home for double Italian gold!!!

The fight was on for silver with Eberhard passing Guigonnat but the Frenchman came back and was too strong for the Austrian and claimed his first World Championship medal with Eberhard taking bronze.

Loginov was 4th, Quentin Fillon Maillet 5th and Arnd Peiffer 6th.

So that wraps up the World Championships which has been one of last shoot meltdowns!!! Norway topped the medal table with 9 medals, 5 of them gold to take home to the final World Cup in Oslo.

That is where the Women’s Overall will be decided with Wierer and Vittozzi battling it out for victory! Will it go down to the very last race again this season? Of course it will!!! 🙂

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