Fast Skis, Quick Last Standing Bring Denise Herrmann Pursuit Gold Medal
Germany’s Denise Herrmann used her usual fast skis and a clean, quick-for-her last standing stage to secure the IBU World Championships Pursuit Gold medal this afternoon in 31:45.9. The two-penalty victory was her third (of career total of four) at the Swedish National Biathlon Arena in Östersund. Tiril Eckhoff of Norway outsprinted Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier to take the Silver medal, while the German won her second Bronze medal of the week. Eckhoff, with two penalties finished 31.4 seconds back, just .2 seconds ahead of Dahlmeier who missed only one target on the windy day.
"Dream Come True"
Herrmann, elated at her good fortune, commented on her win. “Now I am a little bit tired. It was good to have zero mistakes in prone. I hoped for good conditions in standing, but it was windy. In the third shooting I struggled a bit. It was best to have a little gap at the end. The zero mistakes in the last standing shooting made my dream come true…It was a perfect day for me.”
Regarding her success in Östersund, she added, “It is nice to come back to the place where you had your first-ever victory. I love these tracks and I think I am in love with the shooting area more than at the other World Cups. It was a perfect day for me; two from the German team on the podium; that is crazy for us…
Eckhoff’s Teammate Marte Olsbu Røiseland, with four penalties finished fourth just edging Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg, with five penalties in a virtual dead heat, both at 1:35 back. Sprint World Champion Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia, with seven penalties, finished sixth, 1:41.3 back.
First Prone: Penalties for Leader
Light snow was again falling and the usual breeze was on the shooting range this afternoon as the women headed out for their last competition of this opening weekend of the 2019 IBU world Championships. Kuzmina led the first loop, but missed her first two prone shots, dropping her to seventh position. Dahlmeier and Tandrevold cleaned first, leaving virtually side-by-side, with Mona Brorsson and Herrmann three seconds back.
Herrmann Skis to the Front
By the second prone, both the snow and wind picked up. Herrmann used her ski speed to lead the train into the shooting range, with Brorsson on her shoulder. With the snow blowing in their face, both cleaned slowly to hold the top two spots. Dahlmeier again went 5-for-5 as did Tiril Eckhoff, heading for the first standing just 8 and 12 seconds off the lead.
Lead to Brorsson
The leaders pulled away over the next 2K loop, but the Herrmann pulled away from the Swede by the time they reached the stadium, while Eckhoff moved ahead of Dahlmeier.
Herrmann missed twice while Brorsson cleaned slowly and Dahlmeier earned a penalty loop. The two Germans left together in second and third but over 30 seconds back. Eckhoff, after two loops was in fourth but another 25 seconds off the pace, with Oeberg alongside.
Fast-shooting Secures Title for Herrmann
The speedy German closed down some of the gap by the final standing stage as Dahlmeier faded back once again. It was Brorsson all alone, to the delight of the home crowd for the last five shots. She missed four times. The fastest skier in the field shot much faster than her normal cadence and cleaned, securing her first IBU World championship title. She commented, “It was not so easy in the shooting today; it was a little windy. You had to be focused on every target.” Dahlmeier being extremely cautious matched, but was 22 seconds back, while Eckhoff closed all five targets, leaving 7 seconds farther back.
Eckhoff Sprints to Silver Medal
Herrmann cruised home for the victory. With 1200 meters to go, the Norwegian was almost on the tails of the German’s skis. On the last downhill, she attacked, gaining a small advantage, but Dahlmeier did not give up, battling back. Eckhoff finally grabbed the advantage and the Silver medal with a spurt in the final 20 meters.
Eckhoff stayed focused on a challenging day. It was very tough conditions today. I am very happy that I stayed focused on myself; especially in the prone…I was very happy to be in the battle after the first shootings.”
Dahlmeier with Bronze medal number two focused again on the shooting range. “I think the most important thing today was to stay calm and have good shooting especially for me because I was not so fast on the track and I felt not so strong. Just one miss it was really good…Every medal at the World Championships is special.”
Meet your new World Champion in the pursuit! @skiverband's Denise Herrmann 🇩🇪🤗— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) March 10, 2019
Stay with you on https://t.co/bk5aBBso9Q for all the backstage reactions after the race! #2019ostersund pic.twitter.com/jciOI11ljh