"I had to push to the finish"
Johansen, pleased to be on top again after not winning since the season-opening sprint and pursuit in Idre explained, “I had some troubles in the beginning of 2023, but am happy now to be back in good form…When I left on the last loop behind the German, I knew I had to push, push all the way to the finish to win. I am very happy that I could do it.”
France’s Gilonne Guigonnat, with two penalties finished third, 39.7 seconds back. Guigonnat’s third place combined with winning the early season Ridnaun mass start 60 secured the IBU Cup Mass Start Score crystal globe.
“Mass start not my favorite before this year”
Guigonnat, leading into the last standing stage was disappointed that she picked up a penalty, but quit happy with her big prize. “I missed in the last standing and could not play for the victory, but I am really happy about the race…Before this season, the mass start was not my favorite race. But this year here and in Ridnaun, I really took a lot of pleasure doing it. I am really happy to win the globe.”
Italy’s Michela Carrara, with seven penalties, finished fourth, 49.2 seconds back. Johansen’s teammate, Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg, with five penalties, finished fifth, 57.3 seconds back while Germany’s Lisa Mari Spark, with three penalties, finished sixth, 1:09.6 back.
AF Andersen’s teammate Martin Uldal finished second in the men’s competition, with two penalties, 15.1 seconds back, pulling away in the last loop from Germany’s Simon Kaiser in third place, also with two penalties, 20.8 seconds back.
Uldal takes Men’s IBU Cup Mass Start Score
Uldal, winner of the Ridnaun mass start 60 capped his season with the IBU Cup Mass Start Score crystal globe. “Before the season, I did not think of any globes at all. Before I came to Canada, I was really excited. I had three opportunities here (to win globes). I lost the super sprint by one point, so I had hoped to get this one today.”
“Did everything…and crossed my fingers”
Regarding his last loop battle with Kaiser, he added, “I was really tired. I had been in front of the group earlier in the race. I did not know how good (Simon) was in the ending. I tried in the start of the round and was not able to get away. So, in the last little uphill before the long downhill, I did everything I could to get a gap and crossed my fingers that he would not close it…and it was good enough.”
Germany’s Lucas Fratzscher, with three penalties, finished fourth, 42.2 seconds back. Italy’s Daniele Cappellari, with two penalties, finished fifth, 50.3 seconds back with A third Norwegian Johan-Olav Botn, with four penalties finished sixth, 1:01.4 back.
The two competitions today were treated to spectacular Rocky Mountain weather: Bluebird skies, -9C with the wind flags barely fluttering periodically, a big improvement from Sunday’s blustery competitions. Ten women all shot clean in the first prone, leaving within 11 seconds, with Guigonnat leading Johansson out by a step and Enodd in third. A group of seven came to the second prone together, Guigonnat shot slowly and clean, leaving 3.1 seconds up on Braun, with super sprint winner Kalkenberg in third but 17 seconds back.
Guigonnat missed a shot in the first standing, falling to fourth ceding the lead to the clean-shooting Kalkenberg, with Braun and Johansen, 8.7 and 17.7 seconds back. In the last standing stage, Braun and Johansen both cleaned; the German leading with by a very slim .9 seconds. The Norwegian quickly skied past her rival, pulling to a 5.4 second lead with 500 meters to go and stretching it to 12 seconds by the finish; Guigonnat held on for third place.
Clouds rolled in by the time the men started, the wind picked quite a bit, but otherwise conditions remained good, with the tracks well-groomed and fast. The top eleven men led by Uldal, AF Andersen and Lucas Fratzscher all shot clean in the first prone, leaving in tight 11-second pack. Coming to the second prone stage, the group was down to five, led by Fratzscher. Kaiser cleaned the second a half-second faster than his teammate, taking the lead with AF Andersen on their tail.
The gap to fourth position was up to 20 seconds by the first standing stage. AF Andersen cleaned while his German rivals both went to the penalty loop. Uldal added his second penalty of the day, moving into second, but 39 seconds back with Kaiser third.
AF Andersen missed a shot in the last standing but left securely in first. Uldal and Kaiser cleaned, going out virtually together in second third. The winner knew his first win since taking the Brezno/Osrblie 13 months ago was on the line. “It has been a long time. I came to the last standing knowing that I could not miss more than two targets to fight for the win. I started with a miss, so it was very mentally tough; my legs were really shaking bad. But managed to get four down and then have a comfortable last loop.”
Photos: IBU/ Harald Deubert