Dominating Norwegians Win Oslo Men’s Relay
Johannes Thingnes Boe led the home team Norway with Lars Helge Birkeland, Henrik L’Abee Lund and Tarjei Boe to a dominating win in the men’s 4 X 7.5K relay this afternoon at Holmenkollen. Johannes crushed the field with powerful skiing and amazingly fast 10-for-10 shooting in the three-spare round 1:13:13.7 victory. Austria with a blazing anchor leg by Julian Eberhard finished second, with five spares, 50.3 seconds back while Russia, with four spares finished third, 56.9 seconds back.
Sweden, with four spares was fourth, 1:05.8 back. Fifth place went to Germany with nine spares, 1:29.4 back. France, with eight spares finished sixth, 1:58.5 back.
Germany Leads; Good First Leg Shooting
None of the 25 men’s relay teams could complain about the continuing fine spring-like weather for their competition: still sunny skies and windless range conditions. With such good conditions, the first leg shooting was very good. By the time the teams left the standing stage, Norway was in the lead, followed by Switzerland and Ukraine, all of whom got away without a spare round. Eight teams left the shooting range within 10 seconds. By the first exchange, Erik Lesser tagged Simon Schempp in the top spot, 1.8 seconds ahead of Russia with Switzerland and Norway, just over 7 seconds back.
Italy and Norway
Anton Babikov gave Russia the lead with a quick clean prone stage, putting him 10seconds ahead of Schempp. Sprint winner L’Abee Lund needed two spares to clean and fell 23 seconds off the pace. Before the standing stage, Schempp was on the Russian’s shoulder with Hofer in third closing. The German cleaned in five and was gone with L’Abee Lund and Hofer matching in fast pursuit for the lead. Hofer used his ski speed to battle L’Abee Lund up to the exchange.
Tarjei Takes Control in Standing
Tarjei left the tag zone first, Dominik Windisch next and Roman Rees next. Dmitry Malyshko was in fifth leaving the stadium, but 25 seconds back. Windisch continued his team’s fine shooting with a 5-for-5, leaving first, with Tarjei 6.6 seconds back and surprising Slovenia hanging on to the third spot, 14 seconds ahead of Germany’s Rees. Tarjei shot fast and clean in standing while Windisch went to the penalty loop, falling back to fifth. Russia, Slovenia and Germany trailed the home team going to the final exchange.
Tarjei to Johannes and…Game Over
Tarjei looked powerful on the last 2.5K loop, pulling farther from Malyshko all the way until the older Boe brother tagged Johannes with a 35 second lead over Russia’s anchor Shipulin. Slovenia tagged in third, 43.3 seconds back with Arnd Peiffer for Germany and Fredrik Lindström on his shoulder. Johannes burned up the first loop, shot prone equally fast and was gone before Shipulin was on the mat. The Russian cleaned as did Lindström, but they left 45.7 and 56 seconds back respectively. Johannes continued to push into the final standing stage, adding to his lead.
it was a one man show for @7ohannesbo in this last leg: what a sensational performance and it will be a home win for @NSSF_Biathlon Come watch the fight for the podium on https://t.co/Z1cUg23KzH pic.twitter.com/WsQddlI8Fh— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) March 18, 2018
The Golden Rifle
The man with the Golden Rifle flashed through the last five shots, securing an easy last victory loop. Shipulin cleaned in six, as did Lindström. However, Eberhard with a tremendous effort on the tracks into the range, cleaned in five, putting him in the hunt for the podium. Eberhard left Sweden in his dust and went after Shipulin, blowing past the Russian star as they came up the shooting range hill to claim second for Austria.
Regarding his anchor leg, Johannes said, “It is never easy, but today was about as easy as it gets!...Since I was alone, I could set my own shooting speed (in the final standing). I was told that I had over half a minute; I tried o just hit the targets and I did.”
Relay Globe to Norway
Norway’s win today gave them the World Cup relay title and the small Crystal Globe. Johannes added, “We had a strong performance with our relays this year. After a couple years of bad relays, we are now feeling the strongest again. That is always a good feeling to win the team globe.”
Thinking Third Place
Simon Eder commented on Eberhard’s amazing anchor leg. “We know he (Julian Eberhard) is really strong right now. I was thinking we might get third place after the last shooting, but you never know what Anton brings on the last meters, so we had to wait at the finish line. We are really happy with the second place.”