Fast Last Loop Seals Canmore Short Individual Win to Tiril Eckhoff
Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff, after just one penalty, flew around the last loop of the 12.5K women’s short individual this afternoon for her career first win in an individual competition. Her victory plus the earlier win of Johannes Thingnes Boe gave Norway a sweep of the first-ever World Cup short individual competitions.
Eckhoff admitted this win was special. “I was a little bit emotional because I never thought I would win an individual.” Regarding her preparation, she added, “I have done a lot of shopping and eating here; lots not so serious stuff.”
Germany’s Franziska Hildebrand finished in a season-best fourth place, also shooting clean, 47.8 seconds back. Eckhoff’s teammate Ingrid landmark Tandrevold, with one penalty, finished fifth 1:05.8 back. Germany’s Vanessa Hinz ,with one penalty finished sixth, 1:18.5 back.
Clouds; Group of Five
By the time the women started, clouds covered the sun, holding the temperature at minus 12C. However the clouds coming over the mountains brought a stronger wind to the shooting range. Even with the tricky wind, most of the top ladies cleaned the first prone, led by Kuzmina, Fialkova, Wierer, Davidova and Eckhoff all within 10 seconds.
Wierer on Top
Vittozzi was the first of these contenders to clean the first standing. Davidova matched to move to the top next. Wierer added her name to the 10-for-10 group, putting her at the top of this group of three, now within 2 seconds. Tandrevold and Hojnisz cleaned to go out 10 seconds farther back. Number 44 Hildebrand was the first of the later starters to make a run at the top group, going 10-for-10, putting her second after two stages.
The second prone was the game changer. Vittozzi and Davidova cleaned putting them 1-2 with Tandrevold doing the same in third position. Wierer struggled loading her magazine and then missed two shots effectively taking her out of podium contention. Eckhoff, after a standing penalty, continued to ski well; then cleaned the third stage, moving to third position ahead of her young teammate.
10 Seconds Back
The young Czech star continued her steady but clean shooting in the last standing, as did Vittozzi. The two left the stadium for the last 2.5K loop separated by 4.2 seconds, with Eckhoff lurking at 10 seconds from the top spot.
First Win of Season
Davidova, who admittedly shoots slow, but is very fast on the tracks, added seven valuable seconds in the last loop for a clear gap over Vittozzi. Meanwhile, Eckhoff was on fire, skiing 20 seconds faster than Davidova; grabbing the lead at the last split and pulling away for her first win of the season. She commented on that last loop and her performance. “I am very happy with my race. I did what I was supposed to do. I was more of a biathlete today not a cross-country skier that tries to shoot…I had some power in the last loop.”
Davidova was thinking about getting back to the hotel on a cold day. The race was hard because of the cold. I am looking forward to a hot room and a bath.” She added, “ This is the first time I ever did four zeros, so I am really happy.”
Belated Birthday Present
Vittozzi, who turned 24 on February 4, admitted her podium was, “A perfect gift for me…This format (individual) has always been a taboo for me. I am happy and satisfied.”