Vaillancourt Doubles Up, Wenzel Moves Up in Canadian Nationals Biathlon Pursuit

Gerry FursethMarch 19, 2013
Canadian biathlete Audrey Vaillancourt at the 2011 Biathlon World Juniors in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: Judy Geer)
Canadian biathlete Audrey Vaillancourt at the 2011 Biathlon World Juniors in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: Judy Geer)

Audrey Vaillancourt (Quebec) made it 2-for-2, winning the pursuit at 2013 Canadian Biathlon Championships at Whistler Olympic Park on Sunday. Vaillancourt started first after her Saturday sprint victory and finished first despite missing four shots (1+0+1+2) in 31:43.4 for the fastest ski time of the day.

Vaillancourt was happy with her results, writing, “there is much more competition at nationals now that I am in the senior category, so winning the two first races is beyond my expectations.”

The weather was a factor in the sprint, but much less so in the pursuit.  “On Saturday we had really tough conditions with the rain and wind, but for me it turned out to be an advantage, since I cleaned my race while the others had lots of trouble on the range.”

“I felt really good on my skis all weekend,” Vaillancourt wrote. “After I came back from Europe at the beginning of March I had a couple days to rest well and get back to some good training at home, and I guess it paid off!”

Julia Ransom (Biathlon BC) moved up to second with the second fastest ski time of 32:27.3, shooting slightly better than Vaillancourt (0+0+2+1). But in the sprint, she struggled on the range, missing six shots and placing sixth.

“The wind had really picked up for the standing bout and I made the decision to wait for it to settle down,” Ransom wrote. “Waiting an extra few seconds is typically a safe move to make (if you hit targets). However I had waited WAY too long and missed four. Double mistake on my part.”

Ransom was not bothered by the weather: “The weather on both days hit every point on the spectrum, but that is why I love Whistler!”

Megan Heinicke (Biathlon BC) slipped from second to third after struggling on the range, missing seven shots. Claude Godbout (Quebec), Leysan Valiullina (Russia), and Corrine Malcom (U.S. Biathlon) rounded out the top six.

Kurtis Wenzel (Alberta) won the men’s pursuit, shooting clean and delivering the second fastest ski time of 32:11.4. Canadian A-team member Nathan Smith (Alberta) started first after winning Saturday’s sprint, setting the fastest time of 31:53.7 while missing three shots (0+0+1+2). A starting penalty cost Smith the victory, leaving him 6.8 seconds behind Wenzel.

“I don’t think I have ever started a pursuit in first so it was a little different today,” Smith told Biathlon Canada. “I skied conservative the whole race, but after I missed my second shot in standing, I realized I had a 30-second penalty for starting to early and I upped the pace for the final lap.”

Raleigh Goessling (USA) used good shooting and a fast ski time of 32:53.1 to move from seventh to take the bronze. Goessling wrote that his pursuit went very well: “I shot a career best 19/20 (1,0,0,0) and skied much better than I did in the sprint.”

Canadian B-teamer Marc André Bédard (Quebec) maintained his fourth place from the sprint, while Bill Bowler (USA) slipped to fifth after taking Saturday’s bronze.

Complete results

Gerry Furseth

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