Hanna Oeberg’s speedy standing stage seals Pokljuka Mass Start win
Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg sealed victory in the Pokljuka women’s mass start with a very fast, clean last standing stage and skiing to a 34:14.4 win. She had just one penalty, topping Italy’s Clean-shooting Lisa Vittozzi, in second place by 6.5 seconds. Vittozzi’s second place was her first individual podium this season. Anais Bescond of France finished third, her third podium of the weekend, also shooting clean, 27.6 seconds back.
“Nice to Get Victory”
Oeberg was very happy to get her first win of the season. “It feels really nice to get finally get a victory. I have some podium places now but I missed the victory. I am really happy. I have done some good races over the last weeks and it looks good for the upcoming weeks as well, I think.”
Last Loop: “pushed from the first meter”
Regarding her last standing stage and the last loop, she added, “I knew that I had to hit them all in the last shooting. It is always like that when you come in; in these kind of races you need to shoot clean. I did a really good five shots there and then I just pushed from the first meter of the loop. I was pretty tired but it was enough to win the race.”
Monika Hojnisz-Starega had her season-best result in fourth place, with one penalty, 37.5 seconds back. Bescond’s teammate Justine Braisaz finished fifth, with three penalties, 44.1 seconds back, while Norway’s Marte Olsbu Røiseland finished fifth also with three penalties, 48.4 seconds back.
First Prone: Thirteen Shoot Clean
The last BMW IBU World Cup competition of January was as mild as the earlier men’s mass start: +3C, cloudy with just a light breeze on the shooting range. 15 km individual winner Denise Herrmann took the lead right off the starting line, controlling the pace. Oeberg and Braisaz led eleven other clean-shooting women out of the first prone stage. Herrmann shot slowly, picking up one penalty and fell of contention.
Oeberg quickly downed the five targets in the second prone stage with Olsbu Røiseland just as fast; they left together with the also clean Vittozzi and Kaisa Mäkäräinen, 6.9 and 9.5 seconds back. Five more women all 10-for-10 followed in the next ten seconds. The Norwegian set the pace over the next 2.5 km, with her Swedish opponent following a meter behind. Mäkäräinen came closer as they approached the stadium, leaving Vittozzi several seconds behind.
Vittozzi in Front
The two leaders both picked up a penalty, while Mäkäräinen had two, but Vittozzi cleaned to take the lead. Olsbu Røiseland came out of the loop in second, but 10 seconds back, just ahead of 15-for-15 Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, and Oeberg. Midway through the next loop, the chasers were closing on Vittozzi.
Oeberg’s Fast Shooting
Oeberg gained a lot of time with a very fast clean stage to leave ahead of the Italian who also cleaned. Bescond moved into third by closing all twenty targets, but was 22 seconds behind the two leaders. The rest of the top women ended up on the penalty loop.
The Olympic and World Champion Oeberg had a 3.1 second lead at the 10.8 km split. She continued to pull away for the victory, while Vittozzi held a comfortable lead over Bescond. The podium was set, with Oeberg getting her first win of the season, with all three women waving to the fans down the home stretch.
Believe in Myself
Vittozzi commented on her first podium of the season and what she did to get back. “It has been a long time since I have been on the podium. But I am really satisfied about my race. I did a perfect race for me. It was really difficult start to the season. I am satisfied…I did not change anything but concentrated on myself to get back my shape and my shooting, I really believe in myself and this is why I am here.”
Photos: IBU/Petr Slavik