France doubles up with Mixed Relay victory
It was a Saturday sweep for the French team as they claimed victory in the Pokljuka mixed relay just a few hours after winning the single mixed relay. The quartet of Quentin Fillon Maillet, Simon Desthieux, Justine Braisaz and Julia Simon finished in 1:17:53.3, with eight spare rounds. Norway finished second, with four spares, 40.6 seconds back. Germany, with five spares finished third, 1:01.4 back.
Carrying the Flag: “Cool and Crazy”
Simon who crossed the finish line waving the French flag said, “It was a dream since I was a kid to come to the finish line with the flag. Now, it is so crazy and so cool; I am very happy.”
The one spare round in the last standing did not make Simon very happy but leading put a smile back on her face. “I was a little upset after my last mistake but it was so cool to be on the track with 40 seconds in front of the Norwegians. It was cool and a really good day for all of the team before. All the team did so great; they won the single mixed relay and now this. We are really happy.”
Russia, with seven spares finished fourth, 1:24.8 back. Sweden was fifth, with six spares, 1:34.1 back while Czech Republic was sixth, with a penalty and five spares, 1:49.8 back.
With just a short time between the single mixed relay and mixed relay little changed. Under partly sunny skies while the tracks remained soft and slower than the previous two days. Sixteen teams were in contention, all within 16 seconds after the opening men’s prone stage. As usual, standing changed things, with Germany’s Philipp Horn leaving in first after going 10-for-10 with Fillon Maillet just behind despite one spare round. He pulled away to tag Desthieux with a six-second lead over Johannes Kuehn and the other Johannes…Thingnes Boe.
Johannes Takes Control
The Norwegian quickly closed the gap as they headed to the prone stage. The Norwegian and French rivals both used two spares while Kuehn went 5-for-5, resulting in the trio going out together. The Norwegian star pulled to a lead of almost 10 seconds by the standing stage. He blew through his five targets and was gone before anyone else shot, leaving Desthieux 11 seconds back and Kuehn another 20 seconds farther from first. Synnøve Solemdal took over for with a 16 second gap to Justine Braisaz while Janina Hettich was 35 seconds back.
Justine Moves to the Front
Solemdal shot fast and clean while Braisaz used two spares; the gap remained the same. The young German matched but fell another 5 seconds back. Braisaz pushed hard heading to standing, closing the gap. Shooting on lane 1, Braisaz used a single spare to take a 12-second lead, with Germany now 48 seconds back but still more than 25 seconds ahead of Sweden in fourth.
Commanding Lead to Victory
Julia Simon took over for France with a commanding 41.9 second lead over Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold. Vanessa Hinz took over for Germany jus five seconds later.
The leader cleaned prone in six shots; Tandrevold used five and Hinz six. The French lead went up a bit to 43 seconds, with just standing remaining. Simon added another spare round and was gone, with victory in hand. Tandrevold and Hinz shot side-by-side; the Norwegian made quick work of her five targets to seal second place. Hinz needed one more shot to secure third place
Perfect Mixed Relay Debut for Horn
Horn, who went 10-for-10 in his World Cup mixed relay debut today, was satisfied to have competed well against his more experienced rivals. “I was looking forward to this chance to compete in the relay. I think my performance today was one of my best this season. It was my first 100% race and I am really happy about it. It was also a great experience to leave the shooting range in first position. I never did that before; it was great to ski against such great athletes like Tarjei and Quentin. The last loop was really hard and Quentin took it pretty strong. I was not able to follow him, but in the end I am satisfied.”