RacingWorld CupHakkinen Charges to 11th in Pursuit

FasterSkier FasterSkierDecember 8, 2008

Ostersund, Sweden December 7. Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK), starting in 24th, position moved up to 11th place at the finish in the 12.5K Pursuit competition yesterday.

Hakkinen overcame a penalty in the first stage to move up steadily through the field from that point on. In the second prone stage, he rapidly dropped the five targets. At the finish, he commented, “That second prone was very professional; the exact way I want to do it every time.”

He followed the clean prone stage with a clean standing stage, arriving at the shooting range for the final stage in 13th position. He hit four of five targets in that stage.

Hakkinen left the penalty loop locked in a battle with Maxim Tchoudov of Russia for 11th place. They stayed close throughout the rolling 2.5K loop, until Hakkinen outkicked his Russian rival in the final 200 meters, finishing 1.1 seconds ahead of the Russian. Hakkinen finished 1:02.1 behind 36 year-old Tomasz Sikora of Poland, who won in 34:55.59, with three penalties. Ole Einar Björndalen of Norway claimed second with a brilliant kick over the final kilometer. His drive fell 2.4 seconds short of victory. Nevertheless, Bjorndalen punched the sky with his ski pole with joy as he finished. He later commented, “After being sick for over 2 and one half weeks last month, the second place is almost like a victory.” His teammate, Emil Hegle Svendsen, the Sprint Champion from yesterday finished third, 4.8 seconds back. Both Bjorndalen and Svendsen had three penalties.

Hakkinen, flashing a big smile at the finish, added, “That was very good. I need more races like that, with consistency. I was close to Björndalen at one point and that was inspiring. Still, I had a great kick. It was fun to be in such a competitive situation.”

Canada’s Jean-Philippe LeGuellec followed up his best result on the World Cup with another strong showing Sunday, marking the most successful weekend of his young career.

The 23-year-old Shannon, Que. native posted a time of 36 minutes 15.39 seconds, which was good enough for 17th spot.

“I am extremely happy with the start of my season,” said LeGuellec following his top-two results ever on the World Cup with a 13th-place finish in Saturday’s sprint to go along with Sunday’s performance. “I surpassed my objectives in the first two races. I want to continue to shoot clean and ski fast. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) moved up form 49th at the start to finish 41st, with four penalties, 2:42.3 back.

Martina (Glagow) Beck of Germany won the Women’s 10K Pursuit competition in 32:42.3 after a seesaw battle with Russia’s Ekaterina Iourieva. Both shot clean, with Beck crossing the finish 2.6 seconds ahead of Iourieva. Svetlana Sleptsova, also of Russia, with three penalties took third, 29.1 seconds back. Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY) finished 54th, with six penalties, 5:45.8 back.

The Biathlon World Cup circuit now heads to Hochfilzen, Austria were competition starts on Friday.

Watch live results and streaming video of all competitions at www.biathlonworld.com.
The US Biathlon website has an RSS feed, available by clicking the RSS logo http://www.usbiathlon.org to get the address and all of the latest biathlon news.


Hakkinen on the move (Photo: US Biathlon)

Sources: US Biathlon, Cross-Country Canada

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