Clean Shooting Gives Koukalová Oberhof Mass Start Win
Gabriela Koukalová of Czech Republic shot clean in today's mass start, giving her two victories this week in Oberhof. She covered the 12.5K course in 37:20.5, 31.5 seconds ahead of Germany's Laura Dahlmeier, with one penalty. Koukalová's teammate Eva Puskarcikova her on the shooting range to finish third, 45.4 seconds back, her second podium this season.
Galina Vishnevskaya of Kazakhstan, finished in a career-best fourth place, with one penalty, 1:11.6 back. Juliya Dzhyma of Ukraine finished in a season-best fifth place, with three penalties, 1;12.6 back, with Germany's Franziska Hildebrand in sixth, with two penalties, 1:14 back.
Mäkäräinen Leads Early
The women’s mass start closed the final day at BMW IBU World Cup 4 in Oberhof in conditions, slightly different from the earlier men’s competition: the fog cleared and light snow was falling.
Kaisa Mäkäräinen set a hard early pace into the first prone, but four penalties threw her out of contention for the podium. After the second prone, Koukalova was in the lead, followed by a closely packed group of nine women, including Dahlmeier and Puskarcikova, all within 25 seconds.
In the first standing stage, Dahlmeier’s missed shot allowed clean-shooting Koukalova to ski away from the rest of the field.
Koukalova: Win Secured
Coming up to the final standing Koukalova extended her lead to 30 seconds. With just a slight hesitation after the second shot, she dropped the five targets to guarantee the victory. Dahlmeier also cleaned, but a penalty loop earlier left her too far back to challenge for the win. She finished second, admitting it was a tough competition. ”I watched the sprint and pursuit on my couch at home; it was nice to watch them as I knew all the girls… I don’t really feel much fresher or relaxed now as today was a very hard competition.”
The clean shooting plus penalties by the other women allowed Puskarcikova to move to third; she said that her confidence was growing after her podium in Pokljuka. “I feel like my confidence is building up; I feel stronger.”
Koukalová said she hopes her current form is not her peak. "I hope I am not on top of my form now, as the main goal for me is Hochfilzen. Comparing to last season, when the goal was Total Score, I will concentrate on WCHs more.” On sharing the podium with a teammate, she added, “Yes, it was wonderful to share a podium with a teammate, it’s good not to be up there alone.”