On Saturday and Sunday, racing continued on the IBU World Cup in Hochfilzen, Austria. Some story lines remained familiar, some reflect the national diversity of the biathlon circuit and that on any given day, a historically non-dominant team can excel.
Saturday featured a women’s 4 x 6-kilometer relay and the men’s 12.5 k pursuit.
Norway’s team of Karoline Offigstad Knotten, Ingrid Landmark Tandervold, Tiril Eckhoff, and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland won the relay in 1:10:04.7 with one penalty and using seven spares. Kristina Reztsova, Larisa Kuklina, Svetlana Mironova, Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht of Russia finished 8.2 seconds back for second place. Russia had no penalties after using five spares. Switzerland’s Elisa Gasparin, Selina Gasparin, Alta Gasparin, and Lena Haecki took the final podium spot (+1:04.1; 1+9).
For North America, Canada came through with a fifth place overall (+1:09.3). Sarah Beaudry, Megan Bankes, Nadia Moser, and Emma Lunder shot penalty free after using seven spares. According to Biathlon Stats and Facts, this is the Canadian women’s best relay result since the 1994/1995 season.
The U.S. team of Joanne Reid, Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, and Emily Dreissigacker placed eighth overall (+1:37.0 0+6).
That same day, Johannes Thingnes Bø, Norway’s dominant biathlete on the men’s side, won the 12.5 k pursuit in 31:27.0 while shooting clean. Russia’s Alexander Loginov, who also shot clean, took second (+33.5). Emilien Jacquelin was third (+40.5; 0+0+0+0).
For the U.S., Sean Doherty placed 49th (+5:12.6; 1+2+2+1), and Leif Nordgren 53rd (+6:17.2; 1+2+2+2). No Canadian men qualified for the pursuit.
Race festivities on Sunday included the men’s 4 x 7.5 relay and the women’s 10 k pursuit.
We’ll get to the podium spots shortly, but again Canada came through with a near podium performance in the relay. Jules Burnotte, Scott Gow, Aidan Millar, and Christian Gow had no penalties while using six spares to place fourth (+1:28.7). That matches a World Cup best fourth place, earned back in 1991. (Canada earned bronze in the men’s relay at the 2016 World Championships in Oslo, Norway.)
Johannes Dale, Erlend Øvereng Bjøntegaard, Tarjei Bø, and Johannes Thingnes Bø of Norway won the event in 1:14:44.2. The foursome had a single penalty and used seven spares. Germany’s Philipp Horn, Johannes Kuehn, Arnd Peiffer, and Benedikt Doll were second (+19.5; 0+4). France was third with Antonin Guigonnat, Emilien Jacquelin, Fabien Claude, and Quentin Fillon Maillet. They finished 51.9 seconds back with a single penalty and using eight spares.
The U.S. team of Sean Doherty, Alex Howe, Leif Nordgren, and Travis Cooper were 18th (+5:33.5: 3+9).
The women’s 10 k pursuit was won by Norwegian Tiril Eckhoff in 29:14.6. Eckhoff shot clean on her way to the win. It was her first career World Cup pursuit victory. Sweden’s Hanna Hannah Öberg was second (+25.8; 0+1+1+0). Ingrid Landmark Tandervold, also of Norway, was third (+39.7; 0+0+1+0).
Lunder, the only North American to qualify, placed 37th (+3:09.0; 1+0+1+1).