Pursuit Victory and Second IBU OECH Gold Medal to Chloe Chevalier
Chloe Chevalier of France won her second Gold medal, her third medal of the week claiming the IBU OECH women’s pursuit title, with clean shooting in 29:25.4. Sprint winner Irina Varvynets of Ukraine, with one penalty won the Silver medal, 11 seconds back. The Bronze medal went to Chevalier’s teammate Julia Simon, also with one penalty, 43.2 seconds back.
Paulina Fialkova of Slovakia, with one penalty, moving up from 30th position, finished fourth, 52,3 seconds back, just 2.8 seconds ahead of Italy’s Karin Oberhofer, with two penalties. Sixth went to Japan’s Fuyuko Tachizaki, with one penalty, 1:01.2.
Spectacular Day; Clean Shooting in Prone
The women were treated to another spectacular day with sunshine, fast hard tracks and as has been the case all week, not a drop of wind in the stadium. Varvynets held her lead over the first loop, cleaned the first prone stage very fast and was gone before Chevalier had fired a shot. Chevalier matched to leave 15 seconds back, while Slivko and Tachizaki did the same, another 10 seconds from the front. On the second loop, Chevalier cut the gap between her and Varvynets in half. This time, the Ukrainian again shot fast, but Chevalier shot faster this time, also cleaning. The gap was now just 7 seconds. The next group of Slivko, Tachizaki and Oberhofer, all 10-for-10 were strung out another 18 seconds back.
The leaders came to the first standing with Chevalier in the lead. She cleaned quickly while Varvynets missed a shot. Now the young French star was in control by 10 seconds; her ski speed was becoming a bigger factor. Oberhofer had a penalty as did the her Japanese opponent; they left in third and fourth, 40.8 and 47.9 seconds back with the youthful Julia Simon now up to fifth ahead of Slivko who had two tours of the penalty loop.
Clean and Fast; Battle for Third
Nothing new: the final standing stage would determine the podium. Chevalier put the pressure on the Ukrainian on the next loop, holding a solid lead. She again shot aggressively, dropping all five targets. Varvynets, forced to do the same, also cleaned. The gap was down to 5.6 seconds but the 15K Champion from Wednesday pulled away with her superior speed for the win. Simon cleaned the last standing stage, while Oberhofer and Tachizaki went to the penalty loop, 18 and 24 seconds behind Simon, with Fialkova on the Italian’s shoulder. Simon held third while Fialkova moved ahead of the local hero for fourth place and Tachizaki finished sixth. Chevalier admitted, “I knew that Irina shoots faster than me, so my plan was to make up some time on the tracks…The last loop was really, really hard. I knew Irina was back there, so I was very happy to reach the finish line.”
Varvynets knew there was only one way to victory. “I knew if I shot clean, I had a chance to win. Maybe trying to hard was why I had that penalty.”
29th to 3rd for Simon
Third place Simon made one of the biggest moves of the day, from 29th at the start to third place. “I felt very good on my skis today, but my good shooting helped a lot…After the last standing, I knew Oberhofer had a penalty so I just tried to stay focused on my skiing on that last loop. I am very pleased.”
Chevalier was more than happy with the two Gold medals and the Silver but admitted, "I am very tired!"