Let’s catch up with the IBU World Cup and the action from Saturday and Sunday in Pokljuka, Slovenia.
First up, the single mixed relay, in which teams of two are paired with each skier racing two legs and shooting two stages per leg. France took the win in 38:33.4 minutes shooting 0+5. The big news from the relay for North America, was Canada’s fourth place result. Christian Gow and Emma Lunder were 16 seconds back from first place France after shooting 0+6.
Jake Brown and Joanne Reid for the U.S. placed 23rd (+4:15.1; 0+14).
And it is worth mentioning, 26 different nations comprised the 26 team field. Which brings to mind a cool post on Twitter from the International Biathlon Union, and it speaks to the exciting nature of the sport. The Estonian team included Rene Zahkna, who placed 101st in last Thursday’s 20 k individual race. Two days later it was podium time.
Next up, the 4 x 7.5 k mixed relay, which France won in 1:17:53.3 making it a clean sweep for the nation on relay day.
The U.S. team of Leif Nordgren, Sean Doherty, Susan Dunklee, and Clare Egan placed 12th (+4:10.6; 2+12). Canada’s Jules Burnotte, Scott Gow, Emily Dickson, and Megan Bankes raced to 18th (+6:47.5; 4+10).
The relay had 25 teams from 25 different nations represented.
And… on Sunday in Pokljuka, the racing began with the men’s 15 k mass start. No Johannes Thingnes Bø or Martin Fourcade on the podium’s top step: France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet placed first in 36:21.5 shooting 0+0+1+0. Germany’s Benedikt Doll placed second (+10.0 0+1+0+0), and yes, Johannes Thingnes Bø was on the podium in third (+10.3; 1+0+0+1).
Fourcade retains the IBU World Cup’s leader’s bib with 601 points. Fillon Maillet is second with 532 points, and Bø is third with 482. Bø sat out much of January’s racing for the birth of his first child.
No North American men qualified for the mass start race.
Hanna Öberg of Sweden took her first win of the season as she claimed the 12.5 k mass start win in 34:14.4. Öberg shot 0+0+1+0 on the range.
Lisa Vittozzi of Italy was second (+6.5; 0+0+0+0), and France’s Anais Bescond third (+27.6; 0+0+0+0).
Due to their results in Friday’s 15 k individual race, Egan placed 6th, Lunders 10th, respectively, they both earned a spot in the mass start race.
Egan raced to 26th (+3:31.8; 0+1+1+1) and Lunder to 29th (+4:12.5; 2+1+1+0).
Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff still leads the World Cup overall with 524 points, Dorothea Wierer of Italy is in second with 509 points, and Öberg sits in third with 456 points.
Racing on the IBU World Cup takes a hiatus for a bit. The 2020 IBU World Championships begin in Antholz, Italy on February 12th.
So we will leave on a light note as we piggyback on Egan’s Instagram account. She noted that U.S. Biathlon’s women’s coach Armin Auchentaller made a bet that he would “jump in the lake if anyone gets a top-10!”.
He took the plunge after Egan’s 6th place. Auchentaller may be onto something, The New Yorker recently called cold plunges a subversive joy.