Crawford, Bedard Tops on Opening Day at Canadian Biathlon Championships

Chelsea LittleMarch 15, 2012
Marc-Andre Bedard crosses the finish line for a big victory in the men's 15 k mass start. Photo: Biathlon Courcelette.

After spending literally only a few days in North America since arriving home from biathlon World Championships in Ruhpolding, Germany, Marc-André Bédard wasn’t overly confident in himself going into Canadian Championships at the Myriam Bédard Cener in Valcartier, Quebec.

“I have only just returned from World Championships and I didn’t much know what to expect with the time change and my fatigue,” he wrote in an e-mail to friends, media, and sponsors. “But it seems that my form is showing itself to be good and maybe I can pull a ‘Martin Fourcade’.”

Quebec's Vincent Blais edges Maine Winter Sports Center's Raleigh Goessling for fourth place. Photo: Biathlon Courcelette.

At the end of the day Bédard was one step closer to replicating the famous Frenchman’s victories in the sprint, pursuit, and mass start, only instead of being at World Championships, Bedard is on home turf racing in the suit of Quebec, his home province. Despite five penalties in the four-stage race, Bédard skied to a 1:12 win over fellow Quebecois Patrick Côté. It is his first senior title.

“My victory was sadly not without errors,” he wrote. “The lead changed four times and my form saved me, because my shooting wasn’t 100%.”

Not only that, but Bédard ended up skiing a little farther than he had to.

“In my second stage, I wanted so much to leave the range quickly that I didn’t look at my targets very well and I thought I had missed two,” he wrote, explaining that he’d actually only missed one. “Then I did two loops even though I only had to do one. With six loops I won all the same. This race was full of new developments and it finished in my favor!”

Crawford en route to the win. Photo: Biathlon Courcelette.

Côté skied two less than that, having only four penalties, all of which came in the standing stages during the second half of the race. Scott Gow of Alberta placed third, 38 seconds behind Côté.

In the women’s 12.5 k mass start, Rosanna Crawford and Claude Godbout battled for the first four loops, each shooting 0-1-1 through three stages. But when it came to the final bout, Crawford cleaned and Godbout missed three shots, leaving Crawford to ski to a 1:25 win.

“It’s always nice to shoot well in the important races,” Crawford wrote in an e-mail to FasterSkier. “Claude and I were together all the way to the last shooting – coming into the range I knew that hitting all five was going to be key if I wanted to win. It would have been fun to do battle with Claude on the last loop though.”

For Crawford, the form she showed today was encouraging, but at the same time tough, as she just missed being named to the World Championships team; despite having strong results at IBU Cup races in Canmore in February, Megan Heinicke and Yolaine Oddou had stronger results and made the trip to Ruhpolding. Crawford wished she could have skied this well in Canmore.

Godbout on the range. Photo: Biathlon Courcelette.

“I have been working hard with our assistance coach Roddy Ward,” she said of the time since Canmore. “I really feel like I am getting it and skiing much better than at the beginning of the season or even at the Canmore races. Not making the World Champs team was really hard to swallow and watching the races was pretty tough too, but no matter what I was cheering hard for our girls, hoping for the best results. Being Canadian Champ is bitter sweet, great to be on top, but knowing that if I could have been skiing like this in Canmore I might have made the team.

“But wondering about ‘what ifs’ is never a good thing,” she concluded.

Oddou placed third with seven penalties, 1:54 behind Godbout.

Canadian Championships continue on Saturday with sprint races.


Chelsea Little

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