Hochfilzen Women’s Relay Goes to Italy
The Italian foursome of Lisa Vittozzi, Alexia Runggaldier, Dorothea Wierer and Federica Sanfilippo won the first women’s relay of the season today in Hochfilzen, with just three spare rounds, in 1:10:58.7. Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg sprinted past France’s Anais Bescond in the last 100 meters for second place, with eight spares, 8.4 seconds back. France in third had nine spare rounds, 11.8 seconds back.
Hochfilzen Women's Relay
Fourth place went to Russia, with six spares, 47.2 seconds back, while Belarus was fifth, with four spares, 1:13.4 back. Norway, despite two penalties and eleven spares finished sixth, 1:24.4 back.
Overcast; Five Teams Contend
Light snow early, minus 8C temperature with overcast skies greeted the 22 teams this morning. The wind was non-existent, setting up excellent shooting conditions, with no teams picking up a penalty in the first leg. Italy’s Vittozzi, using a single spare round in standing, led the parade of five closely-packed teams within 5.9 seconds, at the first exchange, followed by Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and Ukraine.
Kuzmina Pulls Away
Just after the exchange, Anastasiya Kuzmina quickly grabbed the lead, spreading the field out well behind her, with a fast clean prone stage. Faltering with two standing spares, Kuzmina used her superior track speed to tag third leg Terezia Poliakova with a 20.5 second lead over France. Austria, Russia, and Switzerland followed within 25 seconds. The biggest casualty of the second leg was Germany, tagging in 11th position, 1:25.6 back after Franziska Preuss picked up two standing penalties.
*Wierer Flies from 11th to 1st *
The field quickly caught up to Slovakia with 8 teams in contention by the third leg prone stage, where every team added spares except for surprising Belarus, still spare-free took the lead with the Hanna Sola just ahead of Switzerland’s Elisa Gasparin; Poliakova and Norway were more than 20 seconds back in third and fourth position. The lead changed again as Wierer coming back from 1:07.5 back at the exchange in 11th position blew through prone and standing error-free to grab the lead heading to the final exchange. Her effort turned the tide in favor of Italy.
Italian Victory; Battle for Second
Wierer flew around the 2K loop to give Sanfilippo an 18.1-second advantage over the Swiss team’s Susi Meinen and 32 seconds over Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg in third with France’s Anais Bescond just behind her. The Italian veteran was 5 down and gone before anyone else hit the mat for prone. Oeberg made quick work of her 5 shots, putting her in the second spot, 20.5 seconds back. The Swedish Olympic Gold medalist closed the gap to less than 10 seconds by the standing stage. However the Italian shot clean while Bescond cleaned and Oeberg needed a spare leaving in hot pursuit 12.4 and 13.4 seconds back.
Sanfilippo proved stronger than her rivals, extending her lead to victory. Oeberg sprinted past Bescond coming out of the tunnel with 100 meters to go to take second place.
Attack Mode for Doro
Wierer admitted she was in attack mode today. “I was really confident because I am feeling really good on the skis. I also knew if I had the perfect shooting, we could be in a good position. When I started I saw I was getting meter by meter and when I came to the shooting range, I saw the girls lying there and was attacking full gas and it was good.”
Oeberg’s Missed Opportunity
Oeberg knew she missed the chance to maybe battle for the win, but was not disappointed. “I am really happy with my leg today. I felt like I had the opportunity on the last shooting but I did not take it today. Still I feel like I am coming back strong from my illness last week.”
Bescond even though losing to Oeberg had some fun today. “It was a really nice battle; it is always more fun when you have someone to fight with on the last loop.”