Boe Brothers Lead Norwegian Mixed Relay Victory

The Norwegian duo of Tarjei and Johannes Thingnes Boe conjured up their usual relay magic in the final two legs of this afternoon’s Mixed 4 X 6 km Relay, taking control and skiing to victory in 1:04:36.3, using eight spare rounds. Norway’s first two legs, Juni Arnekleiv and Karoline Offigstad Knotten kept their team close to the top until the brothers took over. Tarjei took the tag 9.9 seconds off the lead, opening up a five-second lead for his brother who sealed the victory with an amazingly fast clean standing stage.

“The speed is still there”

JT’s standing stage that seemingly gets faster all the time highlighted the victory. “It was really confident (shooting). I had Tommy ten seconds behind me the whole loop. He is so fast! So, I just needed a gap. I knew he was a fast shooter as well. Then I had to play by his rules. Even though I am getting old, the speed is still there.”

“The little gap we needed”

JT credited his brother with setting up their eventual victory in the Südtirol Arena’s special atmosphere. “It is special. This relay is a hard relay. You are always wondering where you are going. Today was an especially hard race. Tarjei managed to get the little gap we needed to keep them (Italy) behind. That was important. I am happy to finish first.”

The home team Italy, with five spares delighted the fans with Tommaso Giacomel anchoring his team to second place, 22.3 seconds back after gamely battling JT in the anchor leg. Sweden’s Martin Ponsiluoma after leaving the last standing stage in fourth skied a brilliant last loop, securing third place for the Swedes, 1:07.8 back with nine spares. Switzerland finished fourth, France fifth and Czechia sixth.

France Leads Early

It was a beautiful windless, winter afternoon for the 23 teams lined up for the second mixed relay of the season. France’s Lou Jeanmonnot dominated the opening leg, shooting fast in both stages with a single spare round in standing. She tagged Jeanne Richard a half-second before Elvira Oeberg took over for Sweden, with Norway’s Knotten three seconds back.

Lisa Vittozzi, taking the tag 18 seconds back closed the gap quickly, taking the lead after five perfect prone shots with Knotten four seconds back. The Italian fired six shots to clean standing. The spare-free Knotten nine seconds back tagged 9.9 seconds after Didier Bionaz took over for the Italians.

Tarjei Takes Control

The Norwegian veteran closed the gap slowly with the two rivals battling on the range and tracks. A second apart after standing, Tarjei managed to open a 5.3-second gap by the exchange with JT.

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JT immediately put on the afterburners, opening a 15-second gap over Tommaso Giacomel that dwindled to six seconds after prone. The Norwegian skied away once again, shot clean unimaginably fast in standing, sealing the victory ahead of Giacomel.

Photos: IBU/Vianney Thibaut, Nordic Focus

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