(Note: This is not a race report but rather a digest of the day’s events. Check back for complete race reports.)
IBU World Cup in Nove Mesto: Women’s 7.5 k sprint
Susan Dunklee came close last week, and now she’s there. The 30-year-old US Biathlon skier rocketed to third in the first women’s race of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, on Friday: the 7.5-kilometer sprint.
She finished 5.1 seconds behind Russia’s Tatiana Akimova, who not only achieved her first win, but her first World Cup top 10 as well, with clean shooting (0+0) in 21:58.9 minutes. France’s Anaïs Chevalier placed second, 4.3 seconds back, with perfect shooting as well (0+0), and Dunklee was the third woman in the top three to hit all 10 targets.
Dunklee started 23rd and displaced Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier, who started 30 seconds ahead of her in bib 22, from first place by 11.4 seconds. Dunklee then had to wait for nearly 75 other finishers to secure her podium, bumped out of first by Akimova in bib 37 and finally to third place by Chevalier in bib 68. Dahlmeier ultimately placed fourth (+16.5) after two standing penalties (0+2).
Overall, Dunklee posted the fifth-fastest range time, ninth-fastest shooting, and 15th-fastest course time en route to the third podium of her career.
“I am very happy,” Dunklee said in a post-race press conference. “Last week I crossed the line in first and slipped back all the way to 11th with clean shooting, and this is quite an improvement over that. You never know with biathlon whether you are gonna hold a position when you cross the finish line. It’s just too unpredictable.”
Asked how she was feeling about Saturday’s pursuit, she said she was in a great position.
“The important thing is not to think too much about it and keep executing a good performance plan, like every other race,” she said.
Canada’s top finisher was Julia Ransom, who cracked the top 30 for the first time this year in 26th (+1:06.5) with a single standing penalty (0+1). Rosanna Crawford placed 37th (+1:30) with two misses (1+1), Megan Tandy was 44th (+1:34.8) with one prone penalty (1+0), and American Joanne Reid placed 52nd (+1:46.5) with one standing miss (0+1) to also qualify for Saturday’s pursuit.
The third U.S. woman racing on Friday, Clare Egan placed 62nd (+1:59.4) with three misses (2+1), missing the pursuit by 1.6 seconds.
The fourth Canadian woman, Emma Lunder finished 82nd (+3:02.2) with two penalties (2+0).
NorAm mini tour in Rossland: 10/15 k freestyle
[UPDATE] The NorAm series kicked off its second stop on Friday with a three-race mini tour in Rossland, B.C.
The men’s 15 k freestyle had a more traditional result, with Canadians retaking the podium. Evan Palmer-Charrette of the Thunder Bay National Team Development Centre (NTDC) won in 40:36.7 minutes, 31.1 seconds ahead of Team R.A.D.’s Russell Kennedy. Erik Carleton of Rocky Mountain Racers and the Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team edged out U.S. Ski Team and SMS Elite skier Andy Newell for third (+56.6).
Chelsea Holmes of Alaska Pacific University (APU) continued her dominating ways in the women’s 10 k freestyle, finishing in 29.37.8. Fellow American Erika Flowers (SMS Elite) was second, 1:49.2 behind with Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt of the Alberta World Cup Academy and Canadian U25 Team in third (+2:27.2).
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