Tag Archives: Weirer

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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The Swede Smell of Success!

oestersund

Well that’s Oestersund over for another year. A disrupted calendar due to high winds but pretty interesting all the same. It began what feels like about 10 years ago with the mixed relay. The Czech Republic won with a very solid performance from all 4 athletes and with a little help from Martin Fourcade who proved he is in fact human and not just a lean, mean, biathlon machine.

He soon put all that behind him though by winning the Individual by over 2 minutes with an “in your face doubters” kind of display. What’s most remarkable about this guy is that after a disaster in the relay and 4 days to sit and dwell on it he comes out and shoots clear. His mental strength is unbelievable and you can’t help but be impressed by the way he handled the situation. We know his physical ability but to have that mental toughness is why he will be so hard to beat this season. Many people would have crumbled after the relay but he comes out even stronger and wins the Sprint too just for good measure. Four-midable!

On the women’s side Tora Berger didn’t get off to a great start either. She also had a bit of a shocker in the relay. Like Fourcade she worked her way back on to the podium finishing 3rd in the Sprint.Elsewhere Gabriela Soukalova started where she finished last season with an impressive performance in the Individual and Ann Kristin Flatland had a great race to win the Sprint. It was great to see Marie-Laure Brunet get the podium that her amazing shooting deserves and Olga Zaitseva making it in there too after a rocky start for Team Russia. Slovakia also earned a podium through Kuzmina.

Special mentions have to go to the French men’s team especially Jean-Guillame Beatrix for his 4th place in the Sprint and Baptiste Jouty for an amazing 13th place in the same race.In fact the French men had 5 finishers in the TOP 40. Also to Fredrik Lindstrom for restoring some home pride in a tough meet for the Swedes. What might have been if he hadn’t fallen we will never know but I like to think he would have won. Tim Burke also hit some early season form in the Sprint and his fellow North American JP Le Guellec proved that he must really like Oestersund by getting a 4th place in the Individual to follow his Sprint win last year. The Austrian men also performed very well in the Individual with Eder in second, and Mesotitsch in third after competing in Idre in the IBU Cup.

The Italians also had some great results from both the men and women. Oberhofer and Weirer both finished in the TOP 10 -a first for Italy and Hofer and De Lorenzi repeated the feat for the men. Kadri Lehtla was the only woman to shoot clear in the Individual and earned her a career best 15th place. Andorra’s Laurie Soulie was also having the race of her life in that event right up until the final shoot.If she hadn’t missed 3 targets she could have made the TOP 5.

On the other hand it was a bit of a disappointing weekend for the big guns from Norway and Russia especially on the men’s side with no podiums for either team.If you are a fan of theirs though you shouldn’t worry too much. I think they both have a master plan that involves peaking in time for the Olympics and if last season’s World Championships are anything to go by the Norwegians at least will be bang on form for Sochi.

It was unfortunate that both the Pursuits were cancelled. It seems my powers of weather forecasting are brilliant as I did predict a hurricane in my last post! Not to worry though the fun starts again in Hochfilzen on Friday. Fourcade, Soukalova, Flatland and the Czech relay team leave Oestersund with the Swede smell of success but can they repeat it in Austria? You’ll have to wait and see!

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