First Victory for Anna Magnusson

Sweden’s Anna Magnusson, shooting clean and skiing with authority won this afternoon’s Annecy Le Grand Bornand women’s 7.5 km sprint in 21:04.7 for her first-ever victory as well as her first-ever individual podium. Her previous best result was seventh place in the Beijing OWG sprint. Magnusson led teammate Linn Persson, with one penalty, 12.8 seconds back to a Swedish 1-2 finish. Persson’s second place was also a career best. Germany’s Denise Herrmann-Wick, with one penalty finished third, 15.2 seconds back.

Shock Victory

Magnusson, with her first victory barely sinking in, admitted, “I am a little bit shocked. I did not expect this, but it feels amazing and super, super great.”

Fastest Last Loop

Her strong shooting as well as her first clean shooting of the season carried the 27-year-old to victory. Regarding her last loop, the fastest of the day, she added, “I just tried to do my best on the last loop. I was a little bit shocked when I still had some seconds on Denise. But we had amazing skis. I had great shape and great focus on the shooting range.”

“Not thinking about a victory”

Magnusson, after actually standing on the podium called her day, “A bit unreal.” As for the possibility of actually winning, her thought was, “Not really, especially not in the sprint. I thought I had a bigger chance in the individual or pursuit or mass start. My main goal was first top six and then the podium, so I have not really been thinking about the victory.”

Header iconBMW IBU World Cup 3 Annecy Le Grand Bornand Women's Sprint

Chauveau’s Emotional Fourth Place

France’s Sophie Chauveau, shot clean, in a big personal best, improving her previous best of 19th in Kontiolahti to fourth place, 19.9 seconds back. The 23-year-old in her first World Cup season with no expectations was filled with emotions especially in the last loop when she was fighting for the podium.” “It is crazy. I cannot explain what I feel now. It is just like a big dream. It is insane; the public was on fire. I could not expect a better race or result. It was the first time for me with all this atmosphere, I was really nervous before the race. The coaches told me ‘we don’t expect a good result; just stay focused on yourself and not the public’…After the last shot, on the little downhill after the range, it was like, ‘Wow!’ and I started to cry. Then I thought you have too much emotion and you just have to ski.”

Finland’s Mari Eder, also with one penalty finished in a season-best fifth place, 21.3 seconds back. Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi also shot clean but finished sixth, 31.8 seconds back.

“Super Slow Tracks”

After yesterday’s rain during the men’s sprint, the women got a break with just cloudy skies, +2C and light winds for their last sprint of 2023. However, at the same time, the tracks were extremely slow. Herrmann-Wick started the day with four perfect shots but missed her last one. Simon continued her unbroken clean prone shooting streak with the third fastest time until Paulina Batovska-Fialkova went clean less than a second slower than Anais Chevalier-Bouchet. Elvira Oeberg shot faster and clean to take over the prone lead, but was soon one-upped by teammate Persson, while Magnusson was 9.4 seconds back.

The German Olympic Champion wearing the Red Bib was frustrated by her prone penalty. “The conditions were not so easy today. It was super slow…It was totally important that I hit the targets today. I am a bit angry with myself with that last prone shot, but I did five clean shots in standing. It is always a challenge when you have one in prone and clean in standing.”

Standing Surprise

That quick clean standing stage that gave Herrmann-Wick the best time early in the competition. Yellow Bib Simon and Elvira both picked up penalties, dropping both from contention. However, Eder, after a clean prone stage, added a single penalty, leaving nine seconds slower than Herrmann-Wick. Magnusson surprised when, after her slower prone stage, cleaned standing, jumping into the top spot, 10 seconds faster than Herrmann-Wick. Persson also added a penalty but left just behind her teammate. Magnusson was on fire in the last loop, adding to her lead, going 12.8 seconds up on Persson with 1 km to go. Nothing changed with the teammates going 1-2, finishing with the same margin at the finish, dropping Herrmann-Wick, the early leader to third.

Swedish Duo’s Last Loop

The last loop proved crucial to the Swedish duo’s success. Magnusson said, “I was not sure what was happening…The last loop was really tough. Johannes our coach was really crazy on the first uphill. I just tried to remember where I should invest, push; to push not on the hill but after where I can get the speed.”

Person agreed, “It was tough… It was not easy today… I had a real fight with Denise in the end. I (kept hearing) all the time, ‘you are two seconds behind’ and I was like okay, I am doing my best. I am super glad that I did a really good last lap. I felt really strong.”

“Happy with my race, but also for Anna”

The Swedish team’s strong bonds came out when Persson added, “I am happy with today’s race but also for Anna. It is crazy. I do not know if I am more glad for her or for me!”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Vianney Thibaut

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