Fredrik Gjesbakk and Irina Starykh Take IBU Cup Sprints
Clean-shooting Fredrik Gjesbakk of Norway became first in the second men’s sprint at the IBU Cup in Sjusjoen, finishing in 23:01.3. In the afternoon, Irina Starykh of Russia shot clean on her way to a win in the women’s sprint in 20:12.1.
Second place in the men’s competition went to Gjesbakk’s fast teammate Sindre Pettersen with two penalties, 20.9 seconds back. The winner of the first men’s sprint Lucas Fratzscher of Germany finished third with one penalty, 28.1 seconds behind.
Another German Philipp Nawrath matched Fratzscher on the shooting range, but finished fourth, 43.6 seconds back. Norway’s Haavard Gutuboe Bogetveit missed two times to finish fifth, 46.0 seconds behind, while his teammate Aleksandr Fjeld Andersen, who was third two days ago, was sixth with three penalties, 46.4 seconds back.
Second competition day welcomed everyone with completely different conditions: grey skies, snow and strong gusts changed with shining sun, light wind and cold temperatures. Gjesbakk took full advantage of good weather and not only shot perfect, but was also fast on the track. He took the lead after the first stage and from that moment was never challenged by other competitors. The Norwegian crossed the finish line with a confident lead, taking his first win in three years.
🇳🇴F.Gjesbakk, "It feels great to be on the top of the podium again because my last win was 3 years ago. I also finally managed to shoot clean, so I am very satisfied and glad with today's performance!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) November 30, 2019
📸: Jan Rune Bakkelund pic.twitter.com/pE2hmEHle8
Unlike his teammate, Pettersen started the competition with two prone misses and only 25th place after the first shooting. His great skiing speed and clean standing allowed the young Norwegian to move to the second position before the final lap. Leaving the stadium just .3 seconds ahead of Fratzscher, early bib 8 Pettersen managed to keep his place until the finish line, increasing the gap to 7.2 seconds from the German, who will start tomorrow’s pursuit in third.
Ukraine’s Olympic champion Olena Pidhrushna finished second in the women’s sprint with perfect shooting, 5.4 seconds back. Third place went to Starykh’s teammate Ekaterina Glazyrina with one penalty, 12.6 seconds behind.
Another clean-shooting Russian Anastasia Porshneva missed the podium by mere .8 seconds. Elisabeth Hoegberg of Sweden finished fifth with one penalty, 24.4 seconds back, while Norway’s Ida Lien was sixth despite two penalties, 35.0 seconds behind.
Starting the competition calmly, early number 8 Starykh was 21.6 seconds behind the leader after the first shooting. Gradually increasing her speed, after the second clean stage the Russian was already second, 3.8 seconds behind Porshneva. On the final lap Starykh was way too fast for others to overcome and crossed finish in a confident first place.
🇷🇺I.Starykh, "I had an early start and for sure was worried after finish, but I heard my name all the time and knew that I was not too far in the finish protocol. I hoped I could stay at the podium and when I saw that I kept the 1st place, I was very happy!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) November 30, 2019
📸: J.R.Bakkelund pic.twitter.com/R6ajXEE7QF
Like a Russian athlete, Pidhrushna also did not start her competition at a full speed, leaving prone stage with a 17.9-second gap from first place. Clean second shooting moved her up, but she still was just fifth. Giving her best on the last loop, experienced Ukrainian, who starts her season at the IBU Cup, overcame the rivals and finished second. Glazyrina, who missed once at the first shooting, shot clean at the second stage and due to her fast skiing took the final podium spot.
Photos: Jan Rune Bakkelund