After missing her last two shots in Friday’s Sprint competition and finishing a disappointing tenth, World Cup Overall leader Julia Simon of France was determined to fight her way onto the podium in today’s World Championship Pursuit. In the end, Simon, who thrives in head-to-head competitions, made clear why she leads the World Cup standings, recovering a 1:02.8 deficit from Sprint winner Denise Herrmann (GER) to take gold—her first-ever individual World Championship medal of any color. Herrmann slipped just one place to take silver, and the defending Olympic Champion Marte Oslbu Roieseland moved up from fourth to take bronze.
The race unfolded perfectly for Simon through the first three stages. Starting over a minute back in 10th place, Simon hammered out the fastest first lap to overtake five people before arriving at the range. Despite heavy fog which made seeing the target difficult, Simon shot clean through the first three stages of the race, while Hermann and others missed. Simon briefly took the lead from Herrmann after Shooting 3, but Herrmann passed Simon on the tracks and pulled into the shooting range for the final bout on lane 1 three seconds before Simon. This one-on-one test of composure and shooting speed is exactly the scenario that brings out Simon’s best performances. Despite arriving in the range three seconds after Herrmann, she took the first shot and kept a lighting-fast cadence through five shots in 20.1 seconds, but missed once. Herrmann couldn’t match the speed and missed twice, giving Simon a 28-second advantage. Simon cruised through the final 2 k loop to claim the World Championship title.
In the fight for third place, Roeiseland arrived at the last shooting in fifth, but when the athletes shooting in lanes three and four both missed, she capitalized on the moment with clean shooting, left the range in third, and held on through the finish. Roeiseland’s teammate, Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold (NOR) took fourth, and behind her there was a four-way race for the last two places in the Flower Ceremony. Encouraged by the cheers of 25,000 German fans in the sold-out stadium, Sophia Schneider of Germany ultimately took fifth, reaching her first Flower Ceremony and improving her previous personal best of seventh which she took unexpectedly in the Sprint. France’s Lou Jeanmonnot finished 6th, out-sprinting Tereza Vobornika of the Czech Republic and Hanna Kebinger of Germany who also set new personal bests.
From North America, Emma Lunder was the top starter, wearing bib 11, but she struggled with the low visibility on the range and dropped to 30th with seven penalties. “In prone I could see Echo and Alpha, but not the three targets in the middle,” said Lunder, using the common names of the right and leftmost targets. Deedra Irwin (USA) missed three in the first shooting when she didn’t have a clear sight picture. “I haven’t shot in fog since maybe last year. I probably could have shot better if I stayed calm and just shot, but I freaked out.” Irwin improved from there, missing only two total in the next three stages, but wearing bib 55 and starting with three misses, she found herself out of the race and finished at the back of the Pursuit.
Nadia Moser (CAN) had the highlight North American performance of the day, moving up from 48th to 37th with just three penalties.
The women now have two days to rest and get ready for their longest competition, the 15km Individual, which takes place on Wednesday at 8:30AM Eastern Time. Watch live HERE.
IBU World Championships Women’s Sprint RESULTS