IBU Cup Wins for Beatrix and Horchler
Olympic medalist Jean Guillaume Beatrix of France won the men’s 20K individual competition at IBU Cup 5 with only one penalty in 53:31.5. In the afternoon, local favorite Nadine Horchler of Germany shot clean to finish first in the women’s 15K in 46:59.8.
Second place went to Russia’s Petr Pashchenko with also one penalty, 32.8 seconds back. Vladimir Chepelin of Belarus finished third, missing twice, 1:03.3 behind.
Haavard Gutuboe Bogetveit of Norway finished fourth with one penalty, 1:06.2 back. Two teammates Lukas Kristejn and Tomas Krupcik matched each other at the shooting range and despite three penalty minutes finished in fifth and sixth, less than a second apart.
At the sunny and calm morning, 85 athletes left the starting gates to battle for the win in the men’s 20K, but none of them managed to shoot clean. World Cup regular Beatrix, for whom those starts are important to qualify for the Olympic Games, took the lead after the second shooting and kept it until the finish. Despite missing once at the last standing, he left the stadium in first with a 25 second lead over Pashchenko. The Russian, who was fourth in the last two competitions, finally moved higher and took a podium place. He missed once in the first standing, leaving only ninth, but with clean shooting on the last stages, he climbed up the standings. With two penalties after the three stages, Chepelin, with a late start 74, was just 10th. After cleaning the final standing, he moved to the third.
On the last lap, it was a battle between the Belarusian and Bogetveit for the Bronze. Dropping to the fourth on the last split point, he gave it all on the final meters, crossing the finish line 3 seconds ahead of the Norwegian, who had a tough race. Bogetveit got a black eye after a fall in the first lap, but he soldiered on. Forcing himself to keep his swollen eye open on the range, he managed to clean the first three stages and only collected one penalty in the final standing stage.
Beatrix, "This race was very important for me because I was not in a very positive thinking after the World Cup results in December and in Oberhof, so coming here was an opportunity to find some confidence." pic.twitter.com/BXifGoqOcB— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) January 11, 2018
Have to Fight
After the finish, Beatrix noted, “In the French team we have a lot of strong athletes and more and more youngsters are coming, so I have to fight very hard for the Olympic qualification and this win today will hopefully help me.”
Behind Horchler, second place went to Thekla Brun-Lie of Norway with one penalty, 11 seconds back. Horchler's teammate Anna Weidel made fans ecstatic, taking one more podium spot with clean shooting, 25.5 seconds behind.
Norway’s Hilde Fenne, who is skipping the World Cup in Ruhpolding, despite three penalties finished fourth, 1:16.7 back. Emily Dreissigacker of the USA shot 20-of-20 to finsh fifth, 2:00.4 behind, while Germany’s Luise Kummer with two penalties was sixth, 2:39.9 back.
With an early start bib 5, Horchler became one of four women to shot clean. Being accurate on all stages, the German was .3 seconds behind Brun-Lie after the final standing. Knowing the tracks very well, Horchler was very strong on the last lap and gained seconds with every meter. When she crossed the finish line in first, she only could wait for the others to finish. Brun-Lie was one of the potential contenders who had a chance to top the podium. Despite a penalty and seventh place after the second shooting, but due to a good speed, the Norwegian climbed up in the standings. She was battling hard on the final loop but missed first place. Taking third position after the first standing, young Weidel, cheered by the local crowd, claimed her first podium of the season.
N.Horchler, "It is awesome to be here in Arber, even though the track is very hard. But I am so glad to win the competition!" pic.twitter.com/UdyNWmm6yL— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) January 11, 2018
After her first win of the season, Horchler commented, “On the shooting range I went very good, I was calm and focused, so that’s why it was possible for me to shoot clean. I also think that it is good that I had an early start number because I could do my race, without knowing how the other girls were doing.”