Welcome to The Rundown, your quick primer of need-to-know information about the day’s racing. We’ll be updating this digest as the day goes on with additional results, photos and quotes. The Rundown is NOT a race report; stay tuned for complete race reports later today with interviews from the day’s top racers.
Note: This recap has been updated to reflect the correct positions each of the four Canadian women exchanged in during Sunday’s 4 x 6 k IBU World Cup relay.
IBU World Cup in Pokljuka: Men’s & Women’s Relays
Germany and France reached the podium in both the men’s 4 x 7.5-kilometer and women’s 4 x 6 k sprints on Sunday, the final day of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup in Pokljuka, Slovenia.
France won the men’s race by 15.7 seconds over Russia with a total of seven spare rounds and zero penalties. Jean-Guillaume Béatrix started off by putting the French team in fourth, then Quentin Fillon Maillet elevated them to first, a position both Simon Desthieux and Martin Fourcade held for the victory in 1:11:56.5.
“When we started the relay, we thought that winning was possible,” Béatrix said, according to an IBU press release. “At the same time, the competition was very tough. There were many strong teams today.”
“I was very happy to tag Martin with a 20-second lead,” Desthieux said. “This is good for my confidence.”
Russia placed second with Maxim Tsvetkov, Anton Babikov, Matvey Eliseev, and Anton Shipulin, the four of which combined for one penalty (on Eliseev’s third leg) and six spare rounds.
Germany rounded out the podium in third, 21.5 seconds behind France, with Erik Lesser, Matthias Dorfer, Benedikt Doll, and Simon Schempp. In ninth after Lesser’s first leg, Dorfer brough the team to eighth and Doll raced them into second before Schempp lost one place to end up third. They used a total of 11 spares but avoided the penalty lap.
Canada placed 10th of 22 teams, 1:44.7 out of first with one penalty and seven spares. Christian Gow started the team out with clean shooting and tagged off in sixth at the first exchange, and his older brother Scott Gow also shot clean without any spares to move up to fourth at the second tag. Macx Davies required three spares and had to ski a penalty lap on his prone stage, then used another spare to clean standing and tagged off in 14th place. Brendan Green anchored the Canadians to 10th, using three spares but avoiding a penalty in prone, then cleaning standing without any spares.
“I had a somewhat disappointing pursuit race yesterday, and my goal for today was to refocus on the range and push the ski speed as much as possible,” 28-year-old Scott Gow told Biathlon Canada, according to a press release. “I was happy with the overall performance I was able to put forward for my leg of the relay, and I was especially happy with another clean shooting day.
“Today was an acceptable result for the team,” he added. “Christian and I are very proud of our results so far this season. We worked very hard all year to try and elevate our racing abilities to the next level, and we saw our hard work pay off today with great skiing and perfect shooting for both of us. It’s also a big confidence boost going forward with the season knowing we are capable of competing among the best.”
In the women’s relay on Sunday, Germany took first by 10.1 seconds over France, using nine spares but no penalties.
Vanessa Hinz started the Germans out and tagged off in fifth, and second-leg Franziska Hildebrand moved them up into second by the halfway point. Karen Hammerschmidt held that position, which was enough for Laura Dahlmeier who anchored them to the win in 1:11:31.1.
“This was a brutally beautiful race today,” Dahlmeier told German broadcaster ZDF after her third win in as many races in Pokljuka. “It was very fun, and I was very relaxed because I knew we were competing as a team. Even if you don’t have as much power left there are still three others. I was on top of my game and just enjoyed it. I really looked forward to the race, although yesterday I was knocked out. But on the course I had a good feeling right from the start.”
France in second and Ukraine in third (+37.7) both required just three spare rounds and no penalties per team. France secured second place with Anais Chevalier (who initially tagged off in 11th), Justine Braisaz (who picked off eight places to move into third), Celia Aymonier (who tagged off in first), and Marie Dorin Habert (who cleaned without any spares but came up 10 seconds short of Dahlmeier at the finish).
Ukraine reached the podium with Iryna Varvynets, Yuliia Dzhima, Olena Pidhrushna, and Anastasiya Merkushyna.
Canada placed 11th (+3:33.1) with a total of just four spares and no penalties. Sarah Beaudry initially tagged off in 23rd, Rosanna Crawford skied them into 18th, Megan Tandy shot clean without any spares and tagged off in 14th, and Julia Ransom anchored them to 11th out of 23 teams.
The U.S. did not field a men’s or women’s relay team, with just three men and three women in Pokljuka.
FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Davos: Freestyle Sprints
In the men’s 1.6-kilometer freestyle sprint on Sunday it was Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov who emerged victorious, besting Finn Hågen Krogh of Norway and his Norwegian teammate Sindre Bjørnestad Skar for first.
After qualifying 29th overall, Ustiugov crossed first in his quarterfinal and held the led through his semifinal and into the final, winning in a time of 2:24.65. Krogh crossed 0.59 tenths of a second behind him for second place and Skar took the final podium spot, crossing 3.29 seconds after Ustiugov.
Also in the sprint final was Russia’s Alexey Petukhov, who finished just off the podium in fourth (+3.47), Norwegian Emil Iversen in fifth (+5.52) and France’s Lucas Chanavat — who won the qualifier — ended the day in sixth (+11.48).
Canada’s Lenny Valjas was the top North American finisher for the day, qualifying 12th and advancing to the quarterfinals where he finished in 14th overall. No other Canadians made the sprint heats, with Alex Harvey left just outside advancing in 33rd, Devon Kershaw ending the day in 49th, Knute Johnsgaard 60th, Bob Thompson 67th, and Andy Shields 73rd. Jesse Cockney did not finish the race.
Simi Hamilton led the U.S. in 24th (+3.88). Andy Newell was just outside the heats in 36th, and Eric Packer placed 95th (+21.62).
In the women’s 1.6 k freestyle sprint, Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway took the overall win, crossing in a time of 2:44.63. Just 0.53 tenths of a second behind Falla was her Norwegian teammate Ingvild Flugstad Østberg in second place overall. The final women’s podium finisher, Hanna Falk of Sweden was 0.60 tenths of second off Falla in third.
U.S. Ski Team member, Jessie Diggins made the final, racing to a fifth place overall (+5.91), behind Sweden’s Jonna Sundling in fourth (+1.04) and ahead of Russia’s Natlalia Matveeva in sixth (+6.80).
The United States put three other women into the heats, including Sophie Caldwell who finished 11th, Sadie Bjornsen 15th, and Ida Sargent 20th.
American Caitlin Patterson ended the day 47th, Kikkan Randall 58th, and Liz Stephen 61st.
Dahria Beatty was the top Canadian on Sunday, finishing in 25th overall. Cendrine Browne ended the day 53rd and Sophie Carrier-Laforte 59th.
NorAm/SuperTour at Sovereign Lake: 10/15 k Freestyle
[UPDATE] It was Americans owning the podium again Sunday at Sovereign Lake, and a little bit more. It was warmer on Sunday, -7 Celsius, and snowed lightly throughout.
The men’s 15 k freestyle was first on the schedule. APU’s Scott Patterson won in 40:00.2, followed by Saturday’s A-finalist Matt Gelso at 13.2 seconds and Vail’s Tad Elliot at +26.6.
The top Canadian was Team R.A.D.’s Russell Kennedy in ninth, at 1:38.8 behind.
In the women’s 10 k freestyle, the podium was owned by APU’s Chelsea Holmes in 30:42.9. SMS Elite’s Katharine Ogden was second at 13.4 seconds, also winning the junior category. Her teammate Erika Flowers was third, 36.4 behind.
AWCA’s Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt was the top Canadian for the second day, placing 13th at 1:51.8.
- 1.6 k freestyle sprint
- Alex Harvey
- Alexey Petukhov
- Anaïs Chevalier
- Anastasiya Merkushyna
- Anton Babikov
- Anton Shipulin
- Benedikt Doll
- Brendan Green
- Canadian men's relay
- canadian women's relay
- Celia Aymonier
- Christian Gow
- Davos Switzerland
- Devon Kershaw
- Emil Iversen
- Erik Lesser
- Finn Hagen Krogh
- Franziska Hildebrand
- Hanna Falk
- Iryna Varvynets
- Jean Guillaume Beatrix
- Julia Ransom
- Justine Braisaz
- Karen Hammerschmidt
- Laura Dahlmeier
- Lenny Valjas
- Lucas Chanavat
- Macx Davies
- Maiken Caspersen Falla
- Marie Dorin Habert
- Martin Fourcade
- Matthias Dorfer
- Matvey Eliseev
- Maxim Tsvetkov
- Megan Tandy
- Olena Pidhrushna
- Pokljuka IBU World Cup
- Pokljuka relays
- Quentin Fillon Maillet
- Rosanna Crawford
- Sarah Beaudry
- Scott Gow
- Sergey Ustiugov
- Simon Desthieux
- Simon Schempp
- Sindre Bjoernestad Skar
- Vanessa Hinz
- Yuliia Dzhima