Two rounds of mass start qualifiers set the stage for the closing mass start finales at this year’s Blinkfestivalen. Chloe Chevalier, after taking yesterday’s super sprint preliminary round did the same thing this evening, taking the first of three quarterfinals, with Eline Grue taking the second and Julia Simon the third.
The two women’s semi-finals saw new winners. Linn Persson won the first, with Lou Jeanmonnot in second and Davidova in third. Chevalier and Julia Simon missed making it to the final, but Marte Olsbu Roeiseland did make the final along with teammate Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold. Jessica Jislova won the second semi ahead of Susan Kuelm and Anne Skrede.
Persson set the pace in the final, cleaning the first two prone stages, while Davidova missed one shot and Jeanmonnot cleaned. The two chasers were just 7.9 seconds back going into the first standing stage where Jeanmonnot cleaned while Persson missed twice. Olsbu Roeiseland missed two prone shots but cleaned the first standing, moving into second position just ahead of Persson. In the last standing stage, Persson rebounded with five fast perfect shots, with the rising French star matching but 4.9 seconds back. Leaving in that order, Persson held her margin to the finish and victory, with Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, after two penalties holding on for third place.
Martin Uldal who won four Bronze medals at this year’s IBU YJWCH won the first of the three men’s quarterfinals with Petter Bjoern taking the second and Christian Gow the third. Super sprint winner Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen moved on with third behind Gow, 3.9 seconds back.
Christiansen stayed in the hunt for another Blinkfestivalen win by qualifying second in the first men’s semi-final behind the youthful Uldal with Eric Perrot in third. World Cup Total Score winner Quentin Fillon Maillet made the finale as the last qualifier, 15 seconds behind Uldal. Sverre Aspenes, who had two IBU Cup wins last season won the second semi-final, 2.6 seconds ahead of JT Boe and Antonin Guigonnat.
The men’s finale was the All-Vetle show, as he led from the start and was never seriously challenged. By the end of the second prone stage, Christiansen was up by 11.7 seconds over Christian Gow and Uldal. After the first standing, the lead dropped slightly to 10.8 seconds after a single penalty. Coming out of the last standing, he still had a seven second gap on Uldal and Guigonnat. Christiansen ran to his second consecutive Blinkfestivalen mass start title, finishing 2.3 seconds ahead of Guigonnat who cleaned the last standing, surging past Uldal who had a single miss. Uldal took the last podium spot, 3.5 seconds back.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni