Dahlmeier’s Last Loop Heroics Bring Germany Relay Win
Laura Dahlmeier took the lead with just over 600 meters to go to bring her German team of Franziska Preuss, Denise Herrmann and Franziska Hildebrand across the finish line in first place in this afternoon’s women’s relay at Ruhpolding. The victors used nine spare rounds, finishing in 1:08:47, just 2.9 seconds ahead of Italy, with just three spare rounds. Sweden claimed third place for the second relay in a row, with five spare rounds, 17.2 seconds back.
Norway in a season best finished fourth, with nine spare rounds, 23.1 seconds back, while Poland with five spares was just 1.4 seconds behind them in fifth. Sixth place went to Czech Republic, with seven spare rounds, 1:04 back.
Another Windless Day; Italy Leads
The women had just as good of a day as the men for their relay, no sunshine and low-hanging clouds but with again not a drop of wind on the shooting range. Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi set the bar high in the first leg, leading from the first prone to the exchange, with 10-for-10 shooting. The home team Germany with Preuss was just 4 seconds back followed by another 6 teams within 12.8 seconds.
Herrmann and Wierer Battle
Herrmann closed the gap on Italy’s Dorothea Wierer immediately after the tag; these two stayed together on their first loop. The Italian cleaned faster to retake the lead, but Herrmann picked up the pace to move back in front as they headed to standing. Wierer blasted the targets down in succession, while Herrmann needed two spares; the gap out of the stadium was 20 seconds. The German closed down the 20 seconds and pulled away by the tag to Hildebrand, with Italy’s Nicole Gontier in second, followed by Norway, 17 seconds back. Herrmann commented, “Unfortunately, I had two misses in standing. But skiing today was really good and I was able to catch her (Wierer) in the last meters.”
Hildebrand and Gontier shot together but Sweden’s Anna Magnusson was faster to clean, taking the lead over France and Italy, by less than a second. France’s Chloe Chevalier went 10-for-10 with her standing to head to the exchange with an 18.7 second lead over Magnusson, as the other chasers added spare rounds. By the exchange, Selina Gasparin had brought the Swiss team to the front of the pack, leaving Sweden, France and Germany, 16.8, 18, and 24.4 seconds behind going into the anchor leg.
A late attack by Laura Dahlmeier guarantees @skiverband the win in the dramatic women's relay in #RUH18 - @Fisiofficial gets into a fantastic 2nd place while @hannaaaoberg secures the third place for Sweden!— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 13, 2018
You can rewatch the entire race on: https://t.co/Z1cUg23KzH pic.twitter.com/fJZpqMtbCF
Dahlmeier Pulls into Lead for Victory
Dahlmeier quickly closed the gap on her first loop, then went 5-for-5 to right the ship and leaving in first with Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg right on her shoulder, Seven teams were now within 30 seconds in a group that included Italy, Switzerland, Norway, France and Poland. Dahlmeier came to standing first and promptly missed her first two shots; she eventually needed all three spares to clean. Italy’s Federica Sanfilippo cleaned fast and left with a half-meter lead, followed by Sweden’s Hannah Öberg. The two battled around the 2K loop, with the Italian holding off the German star. Then Gontier seemed to slip on an icy patch and fell back Dahlmeier them moved 2.5 seconds ahead with 600 meters to go. That sealed the victory. Behind them, he young Swede was able to hold of Norway and Poland for third place.
Hard Last Loop
Regarding her day, Dahlmeier said, “Today was an important and special day for us. It is a great feeling to win a race; especially in front of this crowd…I had a hard last loop. We had a strong battle on the last uphill, but I was lucky to catch her and in the end, it is cool to be on top.”
A Bit Stronger
Sanfilippo admitted she could not quite match Dahlmeier. “That last loop with Laura was really tough; I did my best. I knew I can be strong on the last loop. I tried to attack, but Laura was a little bit stronger. I am really happy we finished in second place.”
The Swedish team trains several times a year in Ruhpolding so they are familiar with the shooting range and tracks; Mona Brorsson tough that helped them today. “This is like our second home and there were a lot of Swedes here, so we had a lot of support on the tracks. That was an advantage for us.”