First World Cup Victory for Mari Laukkanen
Finland's clean-shooting Mari Laukkanen claimed her first ever World Cup victory today in the Oslo women's 7.5 sprint, finishing in 20:33.5. France's Justine Braisaz, also shooting clean finished second, 7.5 seconds back. Braisaz's teammate Anais Bescond also cleaned to finish third, 23.1 seconds back.
Early Starters Battle for Victory
Laukkanen and Braisaz starting in the first group, both shot clean under windy conditions. Laukkanen was faster on the tracks than her French rival. On he last loop, Braisaz closed the gap between her and Laukkanen from 17.5 seconds at the 5.9K split to 10.2 seconds with just 0.6 km left, but it was simply not enough for Braisaz.
Bescond started in the second group, but her clean shooting and solid performance on the tracks were enough to grab the last podium spot.
Laukkanen commented, “I feel great today, it feels so good to shoot 0-0; I should do it more often. It was not an easy day, I was a little bit lucky on the standing. I’m so happy that it was enough to win today."
Braisaz was well focused today. "I really enjoy Oslo, I'm satisfied with my race. I hope to stay concentrated and focused like today for the rest of the season."
Sprint Globe to Gabriela Koukalová
Start number 29 Gabriela Koukalová, with a clean prone stage and a single standing penalty put pressure on the Yellow Bib Laura Dahlmeier for the overall Sprint Globe. Dahlmeier started just minutes behind Koukalová, but unlike the Czech star, the German had three prone penalties. Dahlmeier cleaned standing, but finished in 1:54.8 behind Laukkanen. The German's season-worst result was enough to give the Sprint Globe to Koukalová , with 377 points to 372 points for Dahlmeier.
Happy Return to Oslo
Bescond, with good memories from the 2016 IBU World Championships, was happy to be back in Oslo.