Irina Uslugina and Alexander Loginov Win IBU Cup Pursuits
Irina Uslugina of Russia won the women’s pursuit at IBU Cup 8 with a single penalty in 31:19.2. In the afternoon, her teammate Alexander Loginov, despite two penalties, finished first in the men’s pursuit in 31:15.0.
Second place went for her teammate Anastasiia Egorova, who matched her start number 2 and with four penalties finished 11.2 seconds behind. Germany’s Karolin Horchler made a great comeback from 18th position at the start to third at the finish, 28.9 seconds back; the only clean shooting of the day allowed the German to finish in the top 3 and claim her first-ever win in the women’s IBU Cup Total Score.
Fourth place went to another Russian Kristina Reztsova with two penalties, 1:05.7 behind, while her teammate Evgeniya Pavlova became fifth with three misses, 1:24.4 back. Luise Kummer of Germany moved from the 14th place to the 6th with a single penalty, 1:26.9 behind.
Last Sets of Medals
A beautiful, sunny day with the temperature around -3C met the athletes for the final day of the 2017-18 IBU Cup season, offering a great opportunity to battle for the last sets of medals in the pursuit competitions. Leaving the stadium with bib 1, Austria’s Julia Schwaiger received an adjustment of 30 seconds from the first meters due to an early start. Four penalties at the first two stages put the women's sprint winner out of contention.
Unlike her rival, the second starter Egorova began her competition with a clean first prone, taking the lead over Uslugina, who also matched her teammate at the shooting range, following in second position. By the next prone stage, fast Egorova increased her advantage, which was enough to cover a penalty loop and still leave 12.9 seconds ahead of clean-shooting Uslugina. Horchler, with two zeroes, already moved to the fourth place but was 1:22.4 behind the leader.
The first standing saw the changes in standings; while Egorova missed twice, her teammate continued accurate shooting and left the stadium with a confident lead. Now, Egorova with three misses was on a distance of 37 seconds from the first. At the final standing, Uslugina was shooting slow and accurate but still missed with the very last shot. Egorova matched her teammate with one penalty, losing a chance to win the Gold medal. While her rivals were leaving open targets, the German, who surprisingly missed three times yesterday, today showed her usual perfect shooting, securely leaving in third.
After the finish, Uslugina commented on her win and season, “This season was probably one of the most interesting in my career. It started very good; the middle was a bit down. But I finished it on a very good note, so I am really glad about that result.”
I.Uslugina, "Today it was even harder than yesterday. It was pretty tough on the track, but I am very satisfied with shooting even despite one miss. My main goal for today was to work wisely on the range."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) March 17, 2018
Horchler was also very excited because she did not only receive a Bronze medal, but also the Big Globe the German was dreaming about, “This Globe is so heavy, but it feels so good to hold it in my hands. In the morning I was a little bit nervous because of the Total Score points, but everything worked out perfectly for me!”
After the medal ceremony, France’s Chloe Chevalier was also awarded with a small Globe for the win in the women’s IBU Cup Pursuit Score.
Behind Loginov, second place went to yesterday’s winner Alexey Slepov with one penalty, 40.2 seconds behind. Florian Graf of Germany finished third with two penalties, 2:34.6 back.
Fourth place went to the most titled athlete in the history of the IBU YJWCH and still a junior competitor Igor Malinovskii, who with the only clean shooting in the field moved from the 26th position, finishing just 3 seconds behind the German. Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen finished fifth with four penalties, 3:03.5 back. The Norwegian was confidently holding third place until the final standing, where he missed three times. Still, that was more than enough to finish the season with the Big Chrystal Globe in his hands. Nikita Porshnev of Russia took sixth place despite five penalties, 3:11.8 behind.
Starting from the first prone, where Loginov shot fast and clean, the Russian took an early advantage and was never challenged by the others. During the whole competition, he was followed by Slepov, who shot better, but was not as fast as Loginov. It seemed like the third place was in Christiansen’s pocket and he would not give away his medal. For the last standing, he came with a big gap from the Russians, but with a confident lead over the rivals. He missed three times and it was enough for Graf, who shot clean, to overtake the Norwegian and to grab the last podium spot of the season.
A.Loginov, "When I came to the first two prone stages, I had to take advantage of the windless situation, so I took my chance and shot so fast. At the standing, there were winds gusts and I missed, but still, I am glad about my shooting."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) March 17, 2018
After taking the Bronze medal, Graf announced the finish of his career. “Today was my last race. I am finishing my biathlon career, so I am happy about my third place and that my last competition went so good.”
Besides Graf, today was also Jean-Guillaume Beatrix’s final race. The French Olympic medalist was given a reindeer ride of honor accompanied by the cheers of the crowd.