Virolaynen and Loginov Win IBU Cup Pursuits
Russia’s Daria Virolaynen, despite three penalties, won the women’s pursuit at IBU Cup 4 in 33:07.8. Her Russian teammate Alexander Loginov matched her with first place in men’s pursuit with four penalties in 37:13.8, his second win in a row.
Virolaynen’s teammates took the other two places, making the podium a completely Russian affair. Iryna Starykh with one penalty finished second, 13.6 seconds back, while Victoria Slivko missed twice to finish third, 27.8 seconds back.
Another Russian Svetlana Mironova with four penalties finished fourth, 47.9 seconds back. The winner of the sprint Julia Simon of France missed three times and finished fifth, 55.7 seconds back. Ukraine’s Iana Bondar with four penalties, took the last spot in the top 6, 1:18.9 back.
The last day of IBU Cup 4 greeted the athletes with better weather conditions than in the two previous competitions, bringing a light wind and no gusts on the range. That resulted in a lot of clean shooting in the first prone, after which Virolaynen with bib number 2 left in first. In the second prone Simon cleaned and left as the leader, while Virolaynen was going around two penalty loops. Young French was followed by Starykh, Slivko, Bondar and Nikulina. The first standing changed the leaders, as Simon went for a penalty; Slivko, Virolaynen and Starykh hit all the targets and left within 3.5 seconds. For the last standing they came almost together and matched each other with one missed shot. Virolaynen left first from the penalty loop, keeping the top position until the finish; she was followed by Slivko 2.8 seconds later and Starykh at 8.6 seconds. On the last lap Starykh was faster and passed her, finishing second and leaving Slivko in third.
Virolaynen, with her fourth podium of the season, was happy to get the victory. “Sure, I am very glad to win and to get on the podium second day in a row. Today the conditions were much easier and there was almost no wind during shooting. The track here is not hard for me, but to compete at such a high altitude is a little bit tough.”
Behind Loginov, Emilien Jacquelin of France finished second with two penalties, 53.4 seconds back. Germany’s Michael Willeitner matched his start number, finishing third with two penalties, 1:00.0 behind.
Yesterday’s second place finisher Martin Femsteinevik of Norway missed three times to finish fourth, 1:16.0 back. Russia’s Timur Makhambetov started eleventh, climbing to the fifth at the finish with two penalties, 1:22.5 behind. Jacquelin’s teammate Aristide Begue finished sixth, also with two misses, 1:33.5 back.
Starting the competition with a 44 second gap on his rivals, Loginov never gave back the first position, even despite two penalties on the second and fourth shooting stages. After the second prone, he let clean shooting Femsteinevik to get closer, but the Russian was still in the lead. At the first standing Norwegian made two mistakes and left second in 1:28.4 seconds behind Loginov, followed by Willeitner, Begue and Jacquelin. Those four now were battling for the last two spots on the podium, as Russian, who mistakenly went for three penalty loops instead of two after the final standing, was still unchallenged! Willeitner, Femsteinevik and Begue came to the range together, did not hit one target, aloowing clean shooting Jacquelin to leave in second with 12 seconds gap. On the last lap German was faster than his rivals and securely finished in third.
Jacquelin, who moved up from the 7th start place and scored his first IBU Cup podium, admitted that the competition was hard, “Because of the altitude the race was tough, but still on the skies I felt better today, than in two previous competitions. I knew that three other guys made mistakes on the last standing, so I had to clean shoot. I shot fast and was happy to hit all the targets, but knew the rivals were behind me. German was really close to me at the last lap, but on the final uphill my brother was staying and I thought that I had to fight until the end!”