First World Cup Victory for Anais Chevalier
Anais Chevalier of France matched teammate Martin Fourcade by winning the women’s pursuit, her first-ever World Cup victory in 30:38.1, with a single penalty. Italy’s Dorothea Wierer had a season best in second place, with two penalties, 9.5 seconds back. Sprint winner Tatiana Akimova finished third, with one penalty, 19.4 seconds back.
The skies remained cloudy with the temperature at minus three, with a light breeze from the left of the shooting range, as the women had another evening competition in the packed Vysočina Arena.
Sprint winner Akimova led the pack into the shooting range for the first prone. Her lead was short-lived with a penalty dropping her back to fourth. Dunklee cleaned calmly to take a 17-second lead over the also clean-shooting Wierer and Dahlmeier. In the second prone, the places all changed, as Dahlmeier cleaned and took control as Dunklee had a penalty, with her teammate Preuss moving into third behind Chevalier who recovered from a first stage penalty. Koukalová had the fastest lap moving up to 10th, just 30 seconds back, after a first stage penalty that pushed well back in the field.
Chevalier admitted that nerves got the best of her in the first prone stage. “I was nervous in my first shooting, that's why I missed one, but then I focused and it went my way.”
Chevalier in Control
The first standing changed everything again as Dahlmeier had two penalties while Chevalier cleaned to go into the lead, with Akimova now back in second. Wierer was in third, but 20-plus seconds back. Chevalier cleaned before anyone else got off a single shot including the fast-shooting Wierer, who also cleaned to leave in second, 17 seconds back, with Akimova in third after also shooting clean. Wierer pushed the last loop but could not catch Chevalier who crossed the finish line with her first-ever World Cup victory.
Even though she had a sizable lead, the 23-year-old Chevalier was concerned about Wierer in the final loop. “I did not expect this when I came here; it's amazing to win here in front of so many people. In the last 100 meters, I was scared Doro could catch me, but then I enjoyed every moment until the end.”
Doro’s Frozen Finger
Wierer, happy that she started reasonably close to the front today, admitted she had a problem on the shooting range.
“It was good because I was only 23 seconds behind and not a minute or more like in the other pursuits this season...It (shooting) was not so difficult today, but I had a frozen finger so it was not easy to shoot for me.”
Akimova stayed focused on the speedy Wierer in the last loop. “I was trying really hard to stay with Wierer and not to think about Dunklee behind me, but she was very fast, so I am happy I finished in 3rd place.”
Chevalier was overcome with emotion after her win. “I want to dedicate this win to my boyfriend and my family. It's incredible; I've been crying until I got in here I think!”