Darya Domracheva Wins Closely-Contested Tyumen Sprint
Darya Domracheva of Belarus won a closely-contested women’s 7.5K sprint this evening, taking the victory by a mere 1.2 seconds over Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräinen. Both women shot clean. Third place went to Tiril Eckhoff of Norway, with one penalty, 33.3 seconds back.
Two Wins and a Second Place in Sprints
The victory, gave her two wins and a second place in the three sprints contested since the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games. The Belarusian star now has five wins this season. She commented on the key to that success. “I do not know what the key is. It is just that each race on the start I try to do my best. Some races you make a good result; some races are not so lucky; it is biathlon, an unpredictable sport!”
Anais Bescond of France, with one penalty, finished fourth, 43.7 seconds back, while Lisa Vittozzi of Italy, shooting clean, finished fifth, 49.7 seconds back. Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier, with one penalty finished sixth, 50 seconds back.
Colder, Light Snow; Mäkäräinen Leads
The women had a much colder evening than the men had yesterday, with continued light snow. However, the wind remained fairly light, setting up another good scenario for shooting. Early starter number 9 Mäkäräinen immediately set the bar high with a quick clean prone stage to move to the top of the leader board. Even with similar clean shooting by Preuss and the French trio of Chevalier, Aymonier and Bescond, none dislodged the Finn. Wierer made her bid to get on top but was 5.4 seconds slower. Anastasiya Kuzmina had a single penalty that put her 18.9 seconds behind. Later starter Domracheva made her big to go on top in prone with a 5-for-5, but left the stadium 4 seconds behind Mäkäräinen. Dahlmeier was the last of the big name women to try to get into the lead, but one penalty loop took away her chance.
Domracheva Takes Control
Mäkäräinen continued one of her best shooting days of the season with a matching standing stage that put her almost half a minute ahead of the field. No one was able to close the gap on Mäkäräinen. Bescond picked up a standing penalty to leave the closest, but 29.4 seconds back. Kuzmina in Yellow added two more penalty loops, putting her completely out of podium contention. Wierer made her podium bid with a typical high-cadence clean stage, leaving 15.5 seconds back. Domracheva came to standing with the chance to take the lead. She calmly dropped the targets one-by-one, quickly leaving the stadium with a small 3.3 second lead.
Downhill for the Win
Mäkäräinen was unchallenged on the last loop, adding a few seconds to her gap on the field. Only Eckhoff, with just a single prone penalty gained, leaving standing 33.5 seconds back, she crossed the line at 33.3 seconds back to sit securely in second. Domracheva struggled to hold her slim lead after standing, falling to just a .2 second margin with 600 meters to go. However, she recovered on the long downhill to the stadium to cross 1.2 seconds ahead for the victory over the long-time leader Mäkäräinen, pushing Eckhoff to third place. The winner enjoyed the crowd support on the last loop. “There were so many people cheering; it gave me so many nice feelings, when people know you and say your name; great support and great atmosphere here.”
Sprint Globe to Kuzmina; First in Career
Despite her 12th place finish today, Kuzmina won the small Sprint Crystal Globe, the first in her career.
Individual Title to Skardino
Nadezhda Skardino of Belarus, like Kuzmina was also awarded her first-ever Crystal Globe, for the individual competitions.
Fourth Consecutive Nations Cup to Germany
Germany won the Women’s Nations Cup title and Crystal Globe for the fourth consecutive year.
Mäkäräinen Pleased and Focused
Mäkäräinen was pleased despite her second place. “it was really good shooting today, my second time this season when I shot clean. That does not happen to me so often, so I have to be really happy. It was not so easy; I struggled with every shot…I was close to the win, but I am really happy about my second place.”
She is now close to regaining the Yellow Bib. “I decided today to focus on this race, since I was so far away from Anastasiya. So now, I will take the same tactic and focus on the pursuit and then we will see…”
Hard Season for Eckhoff
Eckhoff was equally pleased with her day. “I am happy to be back on the podium; it has been a hard season. I did not feel so powerful on the last loop, because the track is really hard, but I am pleased to make the podium with these girls.”