Four races into the 2013/2014 World Cup season and American Sadie Bjornsen already has two top 10′s and the recognition that comes with it. Bjornsen placed seventh in Saturday’s 10 k classic in Lillehammer, Norway, leading three U.S. women in the top 30.
Ole Einar Bjorndalen moved Norway from 16th to first on the second leg of the men’s World Cup relay, and then Emil Hegle Svendsen sealed the deal with strong shooting on the anchor leg. It was a rematch of a previous race where he faltered and allowed Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko to take over – but today Malyshko made the mistakes. Sweden placed second.
Aided by an early bib and a mid-race snowstorm, Lars Berger – who was left off the Norwegian national team this year – earned his sixth win but the first in three years. He beat Martin Fourcade of France, who had two fewer penalties but was stuck in slow snow conditions. Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway was third.
Despite a mid-race snowstorm that put later starters at a serious disadvantage, Lowell Bailey finished 16th and Tim Burke 24th in the 10 k sprint in Hochfilzen. They were the only two Americans, men or women, to qualify for the pursuit races on Sunday. “We can’t control the weather,” shooting coach Armin Auchentaller said.
Switzerland has never won a biathlon World Cup race – and it was especially surprising that the first victory would come from its small women’s team. But Selina Gasparin has been close to the podium before and today she sealed the deal in the 7.5 k sprint, eking out a 1-second victory over Veronika Vitkova of the Czech Republic.