IBU Cup Sprint Wins for Norwegians Christiansen and Fenne
Clean-shooting Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen of Norway finished first in the men’s sprint at IBU Cup 5 in 26:46.3, taking his fourth win of the season. In the afternoon, his teammate and World Cup regular Hilde Fenne despite two misses won the women’s sprint in 21:27.6.
Second went to France’s Emilien Jacquelin, 3.7 seconds back, while another Norwegian Fredrik Gjesbakk finished third, 4.5 seconds behind, both shot clean.
Adam Vaclavik of Czech Republic missed once and finished fourth, 12.7 seconds back. Fifth went to Christiansen’s teammate Haavard Gutuboe Bogetweit with one penalty, 29.2 seconds behind. Fabien Claude of France also missed once in sixth, 31.4 seconds back.
Coming from the World Cup with a third place in the men’s relay in Oberhof, after the fast shooting Christiansen was only sixth with 31.0 seconds gap from the leading Jacquelin. Leaving the stadium after standing, he reduced a few seconds in the gap to his French rival but still was way behind him. On the last lap, the Norwegian showed incredible speed moving up in the standings with every meter. Jacquelin, who also came from Ruhpolding, was first during the whole competition but lost his lead in the final meters, crossing the finish line 3.7 seconds behind Christiansen. His teammate Gjesbakk with an early start number 8, was at the top positions during the whole sprint, leaving after the standing less than a second ahead of Christiansen. By the next split point, he dropped to the fourth but still managed to take the last podium spot at the finish, claiming back the first position in the IBU Cup Total Score.
Christiansen, "That was my plan today to start slow because Arber track is difficult with the big uphill and to attack on the last loop. I am glad the plan worked out." #IBU_Cup pic.twitter.com/Qtgopd79eB— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) January 13, 2018
Christiansen commented on his win. “I just came back after two tough stages in Oberhof and Ruhpolding, I didn’t feel there as good as I hoped. I wanted to feel a little bit better to try to qualify for the Olympics, but that did not work out. So I am really happy to do a bit better here today.” He also added with a smile, “At the prone, I shot really fast, as well as the first 4 shots at the standing, but then I got a little bit nervous. My parents are here, cheering for me for the first time at the IBU Cups. And after the fourth shot, I heard my mom, so I had to take some time before the last shot and luckily for me, I hit.”
Behind Fenne, second went to clean-shooting Valeriia Vasnetcova of Russia, who missed the win by a mere .2 seconds! Her teammate Kristina Reztsova missed once on the way to a third place, 5.9 seconds behind.
Karoline Offigstad Knotten of Norway finished fourth with perfect shooting, 7.1 seconds back. Switzerland’s Irene Cadurisch was fifth with one penalty, 7.2 seconds behind, while clean-shooting Anna Weidel of Germany and another Norwegian Thekla Brun-Lie with one penalty tied for sixth place, 22.1 seconds back.
Decisive Final Lap
Finishing fourth in the individual competition with three penalties, today Fenne again was less than perfect at the shooting range but demonstrated her usual great speed. With a penalty after prone, bib 7 was just 12th, climbing to sixth after the standing with one more penalty loop and a gap of 12.9 seconds from the leading Vasnetcova. Giving it all on the final lap, the Norwegian reduced the time twice, moving to second at the next split point and first at the finish. Starting the competition with number 2, Reztsova went for a penalty after the prone, but due to a good speed and clean standing, moved to the third in the final standings.
Get Good Feeling
After the finish, Fenne admitted, “My main reason of coming to the IBU Cup was to give my teammate a chance to qualify for the Olympics. In addition, shooting has been my problem in Oberhof, so I was trying to get a good feeling on the range. I’m quite satisfied with it today, but I always have at least one mistake.”