HOCHFILZEN, Austria – The men’s and women’s World Cup biathlon relays brought excitement to this small town on Saturday – along with a lot of fans. Announcers reported that the crowd of 40,000+ spectators was the largest they had ever had for a regular World Cup race (the venue has also twice hosted World Championships).
The Ukraine women’s team flexed their muscle at the start of the day, taking over the lead halfway through and never relinquishing it, skiing to a one minute victory. Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier outsprinted France’s Anais Bescond for second.
In the men’s race, Norway staged one of its usual comebacks to take yet another win, while Sweden was a more improbable presence on the podium – after a slow start, the team used exceptional shooting, a blazing fast leg from Fredrik Lindström, and a furious finishing sprint from Carl Johan Bergman to shoot past Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko and into second place.
The trains of skiers were picturesque and beautiful as they moved through the venue’s wide-open landscape and up its snaking hills. A heavy snowstorm came through partway through the men’s relay, meaning we didn’t snap any photos from the second half of the race – but enjoy these images from the women’s race and the start of the men’s!