Norway Wins Single Mixed Relay; France Wins Mixed Relay
Thekla Brun-Lie and Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen of Norway won the single mixed relay at IBU Cup 2 in Lenzerheide using just four spare rounds, in 36:56.3. Later in the day, France with Enora Latuilliere, Chloe Chevalier, Cement Dumont and Fabien Claude used six spares on their way to victory in the mixed relay, in 1:15:40.8.
Single Mixed Relay
Despite a penalty loop and eight spares, France with Julia Simon and Antonin Guigonnat finished second, 8.5 seconds back. Third went to Russia’s Kristina Reztsova and Alexey Volkov with eight spare rounds, 33.5 seconds behind. Austria finished fourth, Sweden fifth, while Ukraine was sixth.
On a cloudy but calm morning, 28 teams lined up at the start to compete for the second titles in the single mixed relay at IBU Cup 2. During the whole competition, the leaders were constantly changing, with 11 squads within 30 seconds at the first exchange. After the men’s leg, this group cut down to seven teams with Norway in the lead, followed by Russia and Ukraine. The third leg saw a change in the battle for third place with France moving up from the seventh place after a penalty loop. At the last exchange, Norway was still leading the pack, while Volkov and Guigonnat went out for the final leg .3 seconds apart. As usual, the last shooting was decisive in the medal contention. Christiansen, coming with a 16-second advantage over his rivals, had to use two spares, which still did not allow clean-shooting Guigonnat to catch the fast Norwegian. While Volkov was using all his spares, the French securely left in second, bringing his team silver medal, after taking Gold in Sjusjoen.
Despite few misses at the last standing, Brun-Lie was confident in her partner, “Vetle made me a bit nervous at the last shooting, but luckily we had some seconds before France and I just knew he would still make it.”
Christiansen also commented the final stage, “The last shooting was a little bit nervous, as always, but it is biathlon and it shouldn’t be easy”. Regarding the new venue, he added with a smile, “Lenzerheide is a special area with an altitude and for Norwegians, altitude is not the best thing, but today everything was awesome and we hope for the great upcoming days.”
Twenty-three teams left the starting gates in the afternoon to compete for the second set of the medals. Calm conditions, which remained during the first competition, changed to wind gusts, which became even stronger for the last competitors, mking the shooting quite challenging. Behind France, Russian team went for a penalty and used eight spares to finish second, 1:55.3 back. Third place went to Germany with also one penalty and eleven spare rounds, 2:32.8 behind. Ukraine became fourth, Sweden finished fifth and Austria sixth.
After the second exchange, where Russia, Ukraine, and France were within few seconds, while their closest rival was 53.3 seconds behind; it seemed like those three teams would battle for the podium. But the wind gusts, which became strong during the men’s leg changed the situation. For the third exchange, France was the leader, followed by Russia 22.7 seconds back and Ukraine in 1:19 back.
In the last prone Claude confidently shot clean, increasing the gap on his rivals and headed for the last standing, where he used just one spare. Russia’s Povarnitsyn, despite a penalty, stayed in a second while there was a battle for the third between three teams. Norway, Germany, and Ukraine came together to the range, and while Ukraine’s Andriy Dotsenko went for two penalties, Florian Graf and Fredrik Gjesbakk left the stadium together. The Norwegian was faster on the track and crossed the line in third, but after the finish, his team was disqualified due to violation of rule 5.6.h “Deviating from the marked trail, or skiing a wrong trail, or skiing the course loops in a wrong sequence or in the wrong direction.” With this, Germany took the last place on the podium.
Latuilliere, who ran the leadoff leg for the first time, admitted, “It was a stressful situation for me, but at the same time it was a great and new experience.”
Third leg Dumont commented, “I think I was a little bit lucky at the shooting range and it was not so hard to manage the wind. I tried to take my chance, I am happy with my leg and with the fact that I gave Fabien the relay in first.”