Italy’s Hofer/Wierer Duo Capture Soldier Hollow Single Mixed Relay
The Italian duo of Lukas Hofer and Dorothea Wierer, with six spare sounds captured the single mixed relay this morning at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in 35:27.9. Austria with Lisa Theresa Hauser and Simon Eder, with just two spares finished second, 22.9 seconds back. Third went to the French team of Antonin Guigonnat and Julia Simon, with one penalty and weight spare rounds, 50.2 seconds back.
Wierer’s anchor leg in the reformatted competition keyed the victory with a blazing fast last standing stage plus a fast last loop. She commented, “At the last shooting, I was seven seconds behind so I knew I had to shoot fast and clean. I felt confident, there was no wind, and everything was perfect.” Hofer added, regarding the format, “It was good that Doro had to run one more lap today!”
Hauser commented on her Italian rival. “Doro was so strong in shooting and on the tracks; she was unbeatable today.”
Germany finished fourth with Franziska Preuss outsprinting Norway’s Ingrid landmark Tandrevold in the finish straight. Ukraine finished sixth.
Twenty teams in the single mixed relay were treated to hard fast tracks and light winds after nighttime saw the temperature drop to minus15C. By the start, it was up to minus 6, under overcast skies.
Men First: Three Teams After Second Leg
The first leg was typically fast and close, with seven teams within seven seconds at the exchange. Ukraine, Italy, surprising Estonia and Germany were tightly packed at the top.
The second leg saw things break open when Dorothea Wierer in a close tussle with Estonia’s Regina Oja shot very fast and clean in standing. That gave the Italians an 8.8 second lead at the exchange with France’s Julia Simon jumping just in front of her Estonian rival at the exchange.
Eder’s Fast Shooting
With the men on the tracks again, the competition became an Austrian, Italy and Estonian affair. Eder and Rene Zahkna both cleaned with no spares. Hofer needed one, but his ski speed kept him in the mix. Eder’s fast standing stage gave him a 2.4 second edge over Hofer at the exchange, with Zahkna another second back.
The final women’s leg became a shooter’s battle between Hauser and Wierer; Hauser cleaned prone in five while Wierer needed a spare. The Italian then pulled away with a sterling loop on the tracks, with Hauser several seconds back. The Italian blew away the standing shots to claim the win. Hauser also cleaned, putting her solidly in second, but well behind her Italian rival. Julia Simon brought France home in third after going 10-for 10 in her anchor leg.
Victories in Every Discipline
The Italian victory added another honor to Wierer’s growing resume. She is the first Italian and third biathlete to have a victory in every biathlon discipline: sprint, pursuit, individual, mass start, relay, mixed relay and single mixed relay. She joins this elite club that also includes French teammates Martin Fourcade and Marie Dorin Habert.
Shooting and Luck
Today’s second place was the sixth podium for Hauser and Eder; they have been on the podium every time they have teamed up. Eder said the key to this success was “good shooting and a little bit of luck.”
Nightmare in Standing
Guigonnat who has struggled shooting this week explained his penalty. “Standing was a nightmare, I feel very tired; okay on the tracks. But at the shooting range, I cannot make the difference between white and black; that makes shooting very hard.”