Kontiolahti, Finland – Russian Ivan Tcherezov, who missed out an an individual medal at the Olympics, settling for a bronze in the relay, got a measure of revenge, winning the men’s 10km sprint in Finland.
Darya Domracheva (BLR) the bronze medalist in the individual competition in Whistler won the omen’s 7.5km event, shooting clean on her way to an 8.4 second victory over Olga Zaitseva (RUS).
Tcherezov had a perfect day on the range, one of only four men in the top-16 to shoot clean. He edged Norwegian Emil Svendsen by just 6.8 seconds. Svendsen, winner of three medals in Whistler, also was perfect on the range.
Martin Fourcade (FRA) rode the second fastest ski time to 3rd place, overcoming two misses.
Tim Burke led the US men in 22nd, missing one shot each in prone and standing. Lowell Bailey finished 38th. He shot clean, but struggled skiing, turning in the 75th best time on course. Leif Nordgren also shot well, with just a single miss. Nordgren, racing in just his third World Cup race, had the 74th best ski time.
Jean Philippe LeGuellec led the Canadian men in 31st. LeGuellec, who had an excellent Olympics, misssed two shots, both in standing. After cleaning prone, he was in 2nd. He skied well – 18th best on the day, but faded somewhat on the last loop.
Brendan Green was 62nd, Nathan Smith 67th, and Scott Perras 73rd for Canada.
In the women’s race, Domracheva skied fast (2nd best on the day) and shot clean – a recipe for victory. Zaitseva made up eight seconds on the range, but that was not enough to close the gap.
German veteran Kati Wilhelm was 3rd, 13.5 seconds back. She also shot clean on her way to her second podium of the season.
Magdalena Neuner (GER), winner of three medals in Whistler, finished 5th despite two misses. She was the only woman in the the top-8 to miss a shot. Neuner did take over the overall World Cup lead from Helena Jonnson (SWE). Jonnson was 9th today with one miss, and has yet to regain her pre-Olympic form where she won four races and finished 2nd in three others.
Zina Kocher led the Canadian women with a strong 20th place finish. Kocher rebounded from a disappointing Olympics to post her fourth top-20 result of the season.
“I had a decent performance today and have climbed back into that top group where I belong after a disappointing Olympics,” said Kocher, who missed just one shot in her second of two trips to the range. “Hitting that last target would have put me in the top-10, but I’m in a good spot for opportunities in the pursuit.”
Megan Imrie followed up an excellent leg in Friday’s mixed relay with her best-ever finish in an individual World Cup. She place 32nd with one miss in each prone and standing while skiing very well (22nd).
Megan Tandy wass 4th and Rosanna Crawford 57th for Canada.
“As a team we reached a few milestones today and that is something we are very proud of,” said Zina Kocher, who created a nude calendar last year as a fundraiser with her four teammates. “I think we are continuing to progress, and we are starting to see that bold, beautiful biathlon girl power.”
Sarah Studebaker finished 58th for the US with one miss. Lanny Barnes was 78th with three misses.
Racing continues on Sunday with a 10/12.5km pursuit.
Burke, LeGuellec, Bailey, Kocher and Imrie all qualified for the pursuit.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.