First World Cup Victory for Marketa Davidova in Antholz Sprint
Marketa Davidova of the Czech Republic took the lead after the standing stage in this afternoon’s women’s 7.5K sprint, never relinquishing it for her first World Cup victory in 21;40.7. Her clean shooting was also a career best. Second place went to Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräinen, with one penalty, 1.7 seconds back. Norway’s Marte Olsbu Røiseland, also with one penalty finished third, 3.5 seconds back.
“See When I Wake Up”
Davidova who just turned 22 three weeks ago was almost incredulous after the win and clean shooting. “It is really good. I am really happy for the (good) shooting. I do not know if this is true. I will see when I wake up tomorrow.”
Watching Dahlmeier challenge “was really long. My last loop was not so fast so I was afraid that Laura would be faster.”
Fourth place went to Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier, shooting clean, but 4.2 seconds back. Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi finished fifth, with one penalty, 10.2 seconds back, while Monika Hojnisz was sixth, also with one penalty, 10.5 seconds back.
There is a reason why some call this venue “Suntholz;” today was a perfect example of blue skies and brilliant sunshine, with barely a breeze on the shooting range, a perfect set-up for good shooting.
Wierer Leads after Prone
Davidova, with number 5 was among the first of the leaders to clean prone, but she was far from the fastest. Wierer set the bar wearing bib number 8 with a cautious but clean prone stage; not far behind, Mäkäräinen matched. Not far behind, the Vittozzi also cleaned to slip into the third spot. This trio sat at the top of the leader board, as the rest of the field tried to catch up. One-by-one, good shooting continued, but no one could take over the lead after the prone stage until the last starter, number 97, Dahlmeier tried…but left in fourth.
Davidova came to standing first, cleaned and was gone. The Yellow Bib shot uncommonly slow in standing but still went for one penalty loop, as did Mäkäräinen and Vittozzi. After 25 women had fired their ten shots the rising Czech star Davidova had 3 seconds on the field. Olsbu Røiseland was the only women to challenge, with a clean stage to move into the third spot, going into the last loop. Davidova’s lead held, until Dahlmeier cleaned to wrest the lead from the Davidova by 7 seconds. However, Dahlmeier continued to lose time, falling from contention in the final 400 meters.
Utter joy for Marketa Davidova! The Czech is bouncing up and down after secuing her first World Cup victory. #ANT19— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 24, 2019
You can rewatch the women's sprint on https://t.co/tN83hez88C pic.twitter.com/PODB9iOj5y
The Lead and Victory
Davidova took advantage of her perfect shooting to leave for the last loop with a small lead to cross in first position, but only four other women in at that point. The Finn made big charge, picking up a few seconds but not enough to jump to the top spot. That pattern continued until Olsbu Røiseland pushed hard over the last 2.5K to slip in just behind Mäkäräinen. No one else challenged; the 22-year-old remained at the top of the standings.
Good to be Back
Mäkäräinen was back on the podium for the first time since winning the Hochfilzen pursuit more than a month ago was not sure she would ever make it back. “It feels almost like my first podium. Seriously after so many really hard weeks for me; it was almost hard to believe I would ever come back here, but I tried to focus on my training and do the things as well as I can… and it feels really really good (to be back).
Olsbu, back on the podium after two fourth place sprints thinks that Saturday’s pursuit will be a challenge. “I think it is going to be a really tough race. Today was hard for me. I need a day to rest and cannot think about the race on Saturday yet. Still, I think it is going to be close and hard.”
Red Bib at Home
Fifth place Vittozzi was the top Italian today, closing the gap on Wierer to 12 points in the Yellow Bib Race. Come Saturday, today she donned the Red Bib in her home stadium which she never expected. "I think that saying those words in Oberhof (I don't think I will keep the Red bib for long) was a lucky charm for me, but to be honest I feel good in it, it makes me feel strong, and so it's more beneficial than a source of pressure. Now I really try to hold on to it!"