Braisaz-Bouchet took a clear lead after the third shooting. By the time she approached the shooting range for the last time, she had already carved out a substantial 20-second gap from the rest of the contenders. Her perfect execution in knocking down all five targets for the fourth time left little doubt about her impending victory. Despite this, the Oeberg sisters were determined to narrow the gap on the final lap. Elvira fell just five seconds short of the finish line, while Hanna trailed by a margin of ten seconds – neither could overcome Braisaz-Bouchet's dominance.
"It was unbelievable"
Without a shadow of a doubt, Braisaz-Bouchet was the best biathlete of the final week of the year. After winning the sprint and pursuit, the Frenchwoman completed a hat-trick by winning the mass start.
“It was a tough day. I was really tired, so I focused on clean shooting. I felt pretty relaxed at the start and it paid off. When the last target went down, I thought I had to keep the lead. The Oeberg sisters were fast at the final lap. I struggled a bit, but I did it.”
After a six-year break, Braisaz-Bouchet regained the yellow jersey of the World Cup leader.
"It was unexpected. I told one of my friends yesterday that I would try to challenge Ingrid today and bring the yellow jersey home for Christmas, but that was just a joke."
The Oeberg sisters recorded two best ski times; both had to run two penalty rounds after the prone shooting. This performance earned Elvira her third podium of the season, while Hanna celebrated her first. In close pursuit of the podium was Lisa Vittozzi, whose flawless accuracy on the shooting range propelled her past Ingrid Tandrevold in the final stretch. Despite finishing in fifth place, Norwegian is now trailing Braisaz-Bouchet in the overall World Cup standings by a margin of 10 points.
Braisaz-Bouchet and Vittozzi weren't the only perfect shooters. Franziska Preuss and Deedra Irwin also achieved a 20 out of 20, securing respective positions of 7th and 13th.
It is worth noticing that the next time women will race on the Roland Arena tracks again will be the 2025 World Championships.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni