Ruhpolding Men’s Relay to Norway
The Norwegian Team of Lars Helge Birkeland, Tarjei Boe, Emil Hegle Svendsen, and Johannes Thingnes Boe won the men’s relay this afternoon in Ruhpolding with seven spares, in 1:13:11.1. Today’s win was the Norwegians eighth in the past eleven relays here. France, with six spare round finished second, 24.9 seconds back while Russia moved up on the anchor leg to take third, with four spares, 53.4 seconds back.
The home team Germany, with ten spares was fourth, 1:26.5 back, while Austria and Sweden finished fifth and sixth, 1:39.8 and 1:50.6 back. Both teams had six spare rounds.
Perfect Conditions; Good First Leg Shooting
Compared to the extremely tough conditions in last Sunday’s relays in Oberhof; today was simply perfect, with sunny blue skies, no wind on the shooting range and a packed stadium cheering for everyone. The great conditions made the first leg extremely competitive with few spare rounds and only three teams recording a penalty. It was so close that after the standing stage, seventeen teams were within 20 seconds led by Norway with Germany’s Erik Lesser just .1 seconds back. By the first exchange, the top two had reversed positions but were just a hair apart, with Slovakia and the USA next out of the stadium.
Tarjei Comes Back
Tarjei, running the second leg for Norway pushed the pace on the first loop, set up on lane one, but needed three spares to clean. Meanwhile Lukas Hofer, shooting carefully took the lead with Thomas Hasilla of Slovakia and Doll next; Tarjei was 20 seconds off the pace. Things changed as Hofer needed two spares while Simon Eder and Tarjei shot typically fast and cleaned. This group of three was about 10 seconds ahead of the field, holding together up to the second exchange.
Fourcade and Windisch Up Front
Hofer burst into the stadium tagging Dominik Windisch in first as Tarjei tagged Svendsen and Eder handing over to Daniel Mesotitsch, Slovakia, Germany and Russia were 27 seconds back in a group while Martin Fourcade started in seventh 41.4 seconds off the pace. Svendsen and Windisch cleaned simultaneously, while Mesotitsch used two spares. Fourcade cleaned to move up to 25 seconds off the pace in fourth. Svendsen cleaned standing easily, but Fourcade shot very aggressively to move into second, just 7.8 seconds behind, just ahead of Windisch. Russia was now up to fourth, but 32 seconds back. Fourcade and Windisch tore up the last loop, passing Svendsen. Svendsen was not surprised o see Fourcade next to him. “Not surprised at all; he is in tremendous shape and was hunting from behind. It was not a good feeling to see him, but I managed to stay with him until the exchange; so happy with that.”
Solid performance by @7ohannesbo who leaves the shooting range first and ahead of @FedFranceSki to give @NSSF_Biathlon the next relay win in #RUH18 despite some close calls during the last shooting.— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 12, 2018
Join us on https://t.co/Z1cUg23KzH for the last 2.5km of this relay. pic.twitter.com/6VGoxkDmmB
Johannes Seals the Win
Fourcade tagged Guigonnat in the top spot with Thierry Chenal going out in second and Johannes in third. Simon Schempp for Germany and Anton Shipulin for Russia were 48.1and 1:08.3 back respectively. Johannes immediately broke the other two for a big lead going into prone; he went 5-for-5 easily extend his lead to 26 seconds as his rivals needed spares to stay second and third. Shipulin moved into fourth, but 1:12 back, still more than thirty seconds from the top three. Johannes needed two spares but sealed the win with a 17second lead over his French rival. While Italy and Germany melted, Shipulin used a single spare to move safely into third; the podium was set.
Johannes, Flag and Win Streak
Johannes was confident in his ability. “I was in a good position to start. I knew that on paper I was stronger than them, so I tried to get a gap before the first shooting. A lot of things were good today but I have to admit my standing was the worst this year (two spares and two split bullets). He added, “I think this was the first time I finished with the flag, so that was a good feeling!”
Tarjei chimed in on the Norwegian winning streak. “There are so many Norwegians her that it seems like home. I think the Germans need to step up a bit!
Test for France
Fourcade admitted his move to the third leg was a test. “It was team decision; many things can happen in the winter; I can get sick so we wanted to see what he could do (on the anchor leg). Antonin was a good one but not at his best today. We are really happy that we could fight with them.”