Austria's Hauser and Eder Combine for Single Mixed Relay Victory
Austria, with Lisa Hauser and Simon Eder won the single mixed relay, with five spare rounds, today in Kontiolahti in 31:35.1. The USA , with Susan Dunklee and Lowell Bailey matched Austria on the shooting range and finished in second, 32.8 seconds back after Bailey outsprinted Germany's Roman Rees in the final 50 meters. Rees and partner Laura Dahlmeier, with six spares finished third, 33.3 seconds back..
France, with eight spares challenged for the podium but finished fourth, 36.5 seconds back. Fifth place went to Kazakhstan, with seven spares,47.8 seconds back, while Czech Republic, with eight spare rounds finished sixth, 51.1 seconds back.
USA Comeback After Fall
25 teams competed in the single mixed relay on the final day of BMW IBU World Cup 8. Italy's Lisa Vittozzi took the lead after the first prone, but three penalty loops by Lukas Hofer in the second leg threw Italy out of contention. Dunklee moved into the lead, but fell on the downhill. From that moment on, the USA was moving back into contention.
Dunklee commented on her fall. “I did a little nosedive on the downhill. It was nobody’s fault but mine.”
In the anchor leg, Eder continued his quick, accurate shooting while his rivals needed spares. After his 17-second clean standing stage, Hauser was already celebrating Austria’s victory. Eder commented, “I was a bit concerned about the shooting. I saw that there was no wind at the last shooting and I kept going until I saw the last shot turn white.”
Battle for Second Place
The battle continued for the remaining spots with Rees leaving the shooting range in second. He led through most of the last loop, with Bailey just behind. In the final meters, the veteran Bailey moved a half stride ahead to claim second place.
Bailey talked about his fight with Rees. “I was not thinking about the podium before I left the last standing. I saw Roman ahead and thought it was all about sprinting. I just tried to make up the time and was fortunate to have crossed the finish line in second.”
Rees' version was slightly different. “Just when I went out of the shooting range, I saw him coming right after the turn. I though t I have to keep up my speed. I lost some of my speed in the last few meters. He was just too strong for me.”
Austria's Second Single Mixed Relay Podium
This was Hauser's first World Cup victory and the duo's second podium this season; they were second in the season-opener in Östersund. Hauser said, “Already in Oestersund Simon and I were successful. For me it’s really amazing to be first. I like to be with Simon on the podium. I enjoyed every second of the flower ceremony.”
First Single Mixed Relay for Laura
Single mixed relay rookie Dahlmeier commented on her experience. “For me it’s new competition. It was my first time to race in the single mixed relay. It is really cool to always have the change. Perhaps, it would be nice to have more of these competitions in the World Cup.”