Dorothea Wierer Wins Ruhpolding 15K Individual
Italy’s Dorothea Wierer shot clean to win the women’s 15K individual title at BMW IBU World Cup 4 this afternoon in Ruhpolding in 41:29, matching her victory in the last 15K held here in 2016. Second place went to Kaisa Mäkäräinen, on her 35th birthday with a single penalty. 12.7 seconds back. Canada’s Rosanna Crawford, starting near the end of the field with number 96 but shooting clean finished in a career-best third place, 21.2 seconds back.
Ukraine’s Juliya Dzhyma and teammate Valja Semerenko also shot clean, but finished fourth and fifth, 45.9 and 52.6 seconds back, respectively. Sixth went to Darya Domracheva of Belarus, with two penalties, 1:04 back.
Crystal Globe to Skardino
Nadezhda Skardino of Belarus with her clean-shooting seventh place won the small crystal globe for the individual competitions, the first crystal globe of her career.
Dahlmeier, Wierer and Domracheva
This was almost the perfect day on the shooting range, just barely a hint of a breeze in the middle of the shooting range. Otherwise the wind flags were completely motionless. The top women performed as expected in the first prone, with first Domracheva, then Wierer and then Laura Dahlmeier all cleaned with ease, with Dahlmeier at the top of the leader board. Anastasiya Kuzmina was the only exception with two prone penalties. The Belarusian came to standing first, but missed a shot. Wierer responded with a fast 5-for-5, but Dahlmeier was back to her old self and matched, taking a 13-second lead.
Mäkäräinen in the Mix
While this group was battling the top, several other women were making a run for the podium including the birthday girl, Mäkäräinen who missed a first-prone shot but cleaned the next two stages. Dzhyma closed the first fifteen targets, keeping her close to the top of the standings.
Wierer in Control
Wierer came to the second prone first and was again perfect, while Domracheva although skiing well had a penalty and fell from contention for the podium. Dahlmeier fell apart with three penalties which put back in the mid-twenties, far from the podium. This put the Italian in control and Mäkäräinen in fifth. Later starters Semerenko and Hildebrand were in second and third at this point, with zero and one penalties, respectively.
Dzhyma was first to come to the final standing stage; she added five more hits for a perfect day. Mäkäräinen matched to take the lead for about 5 minutes. Then Wierer cleaned to become the undisputed leader, with a 20 second gap on the Finn. The Italian was not to be denied, holding her lead to cross the finish line ahead of Mäkäräinen. Several later starters continued to challenge for the third spot. Both Semerenko and Skardino added five more closed targets to go 20-for-20 on the day, leaving the shooting range in third and fifth respectively.
Crawford’s Big Day
The biggest challenger was starter number 96, Crawford who, after cleaning the first three stages moved into the lead ahead of Wierer. On the last loop, she slowed a bit on the big hill approaching the shooting range. However, the Canadian was composed on the shooting range, and dropped the last five shots. That was followed by a huge smile and she flew out of the stadium in second place, just 7.8 seconds behind Wierer’s top time. Although the 29-year-old slowed over the final loop, she held on for a personal best third place.
It's a first career podium for @RosannaCrawford from @biathloncanada and her teammates and coach celebrate with her in the finish! Watch the competition live on https://t.co/I5HrOU1KGi #RUH18 pic.twitter.com/cC0xSuzn0C— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 11, 2018
“I knew everyone’s eyes were on me in the last two shootings. Everyone was cheering for me; I have never experienced that before. “I am so excited; my fist podium and the first time hitting 20-for-20 as well. I really love Ruhpolding; it was my first World Juniors and my first World Cup and now my first podium so it is a very special place for me.”
Wierer was pleased with her victory after some struggles last month. “I am happy about this…I really like this place and the hard conditions are good for my skiing style instead of the soft conditions… I knew this was all about the shooting. In the last individual competitions, I shot really bad. But in the last few weeks I am feeling very confident about my shooting.”
Best Shooting of Season for Mäkäräinen
Mäkäräinen commented on her birthday podium. “I have managed to have many podiums when we had races on my birthday, so this is nice…19-of-20 is my best shooting this season so I am not thinking about that one penalty. Three clean stages after that; the race was getting better and better after that on penalty…It was a nice atmosphere today…I like it because the crowd is so close and there were a lot of people from Finland here today including my parents and some friends.”