Russia Wins in Single Mixed Relay, Norway Finishes First in Mixed Relay
Kristina Reztsova and Alexey Volkov teamed up to win the single mixed relay at IBU Cup 3 in Obertilliach in 39:07.2, using five spare rounds. In the afternoon, Norway with Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg, Karoline Offigstad Knotten, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, Vegard Gjermundshaug finished first in the mixed relay in 1:10:44.9, using seven spares.
Single Mixed Relay
France with Julia Simon and Emilien Jacquelin used six spares to finish second, 37.1 seconds back. Despite a penalty and seven spares, Ukraine with Yuliia Zhuravok and Artem Pryma finished third, 48.9 seconds behind.
Canada finished fourth, the winner of the last single mixed relay Norway this time finished only fifth, while Czech Republic was sixth.
Battle on the Final Lap
On a clear and calm morning of the last competition day this year, 29 teams stepped on the track to compete in the third single mixed relay of the season. Russia, which was third last time, today was strong at the shooting range and at the track. Thanks to clean shooting and good speed on the track, France was leading after the first exchange until the second prone, where one miss by Jacquelin saw Ukraine, Russia and Germany re-enter the battle for the lead. Despite using four spares, at the second exchange, Russia became the leader with 17.5 seconds advantage over France. Ukraine, with a penalty loop after the second standing, dropped to the seventh.
Women’s leg saw a change in the contention, with Zhuravok moving back her team to a third place. With a fast and clean shooting at both stages, Volkov was unreachable by his rivals, but the battle for second and third place continued. At the last shooting stage, Jacquelin took a spare, giving Pryma a chance to overcome him. But the Ukrainian had troubles with standing again, using all three spare rounds, leaving the stadium just behind Canada. On the final loop, World Cup regular Pryma gave it all and overcame less the experienced Carsen Campbell, finishing third.
After the competition, Reztsova commented, “Today I felt much better than yesterday. At the first shooting, I probably was a little bit in a rush and had to use two penalties. But then it went fine and in general, I’m really satisfied with a race.”
Reztsova, "I am glad that we are a team and from the others I would pick Alexey. Actually, I was sure in my partner even more than in myself, I was afraid to let down the team.” #IBU_Cup pic.twitter.com/IQ4C0p8M8F— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 17, 2017
Volkov added, “The race was a little bit hard for me, in sense of the range, because I cannot say the shooting was comfortable. But I tried to do my best, no extra moves or thoughts and everything worked out.”
Twenty-six 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, stayed almost the same with the light snow near the end of the competition. Behind Norway, second went to Germany with six spares, 32.4 seconds back. France finished third, also six spare rounds, 1:09.7 back. Switzerland finished fourth, Sweden fifth and Russia sixth.
After the first exchange, seven teams were within 35 seconds with Germany leading. In the second leg, Karolin Horchler not only held first place for her team but also increased the gap up to 32 seconds. The first men’s leg, with Christiansen on the squad, saw some changes. The Norwegian was perfect at the shooting range and on the track; he not only reduced the gap of 46.7 seconds he had at the exchange, but took over the lead, tagging his teammate 16.2 seconds ahead of the German. Gjermundshaug confidently kept the lead, crossing the finish line in first. Germany stayed second, while France was battling with Switzerland for the last podium spot. On the final loop, Begue proved to be stronger and finished third.
Knotten, who used had to use all spares at the standing, commented with a smile, “Vetle saved me today, I had a really bad standing shooting, he did very well, so he is the boss on the team today!”
Christiansen, “Scared to say that, but I am 100% satisfied with my job today; for sure it was the best race of this year and maybe even of my career.” pic.twitter.com/eVg8HM2LnX— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 17, 2017
Gjermundshaug also commented, “I felt quite confident during the prone shooting, but I was so nervous before the standing, I was shaking and thinking how I can do my best. In the end, I used only two and it was ok.”