Uliana Kaisheva, Antonin Guigonnat Win Lenzerheide Sprints
Uliana Kaisheva of Russia claimed her second win of the season, winning the women’s sprint at IBU Cup 2 in 22:55.7. Later in the day, France’s Antonin Guigonnat despite one penalty took first place in the men’s sprint in 24:54.3.
Behind Kaisheva, second place went to Ukraine’s Olga Abramova, 16.2 seconds behind, while her teammate Yuliia Zhuravok finished third, 18.3 seconds back. All three shot clean.
Another Russian Daria Virolainen with one penalty finished fourth, 25.7 seconds back, Julia Simon and Enora Latuillierre of France, who were on the podium yesterday in the mixed relay, today both had single penalties for fifth and sixth, 35.6 seconds back and 42.0 seconds behind, respectively.
Despite the forecast which predicted snowfall and tough conditions, the weather in Lenzerheide for the women’s sprint was close to perfect. Calm winds on the range allowed the competitors to show good shooting, which led to a tough battle on the tracks. Kaisheva, with bib 52 took full advantage of the weather, cleaned both stages and was very fast on her skis. Abramova and Zhuravok matched Kaisheva on the shooting range, but Abramova with a later start number managed to overcome her teammate by 2.1 seconds.
Kaisheva was tired after the competition, admitting that it was tough to compete at the altitude, “Today I felt very hard on the track, but on the first loop I tried to go slower and to save my power for the final leg.”
The conditions stayed almost the same during the second competition of the day with a light snow at the end of the sprint. Guigonnat, with his third podium this season, was perfect in prone, but went for a penalty loop after standing. Still, his great speed on the track allowed him to overcome clean-shooting Vegard Gjermundshaug of Norway, who finished in second, 11.1 seconds back. His teammate Fredrik Gjesbakk led after the first stage, but two missed shots in standing allowed him to battle only for the third place, 15.8 seconds behind.
Fourth and fifth places went to two more Norwegians Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen with one penalty, 18.8 seconds back and clean-shooting Aslak Nenseter, 26.3 seconds behind. Ukraine’s Artem Tyschenko also dropped all the targets to finish sixth, 36.1 seconds back.
Guigonnat admitted that today’s competition was good, but tough at the same time. “The track here is hard, but it is very nice to compete here in Switzerland, especially that the place is not far from my home and my parents came here to support me. It was really great to hear them cheering for me, and I think their support allowed me to gain some seconds at the last loop.”