Kaisa Mäkäräinen Sprints to Ruhpolding Mass Start Win
Kaisa Mäkäräinen of Finland pulled away from Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier in the final 100 meters to win this afternoon’s women’s 12.5K mass start, with two penalties in 34:05.6. Dahlmeier, also with two penalties was just .8 seconds back of the winner. Third place went to fast-closing Veronika Vitkova of Czech Republic, also with two penalties, 4.6 seconds back.
Rosanna Crawford of Canada, the only women to shoot clean was fourth, 5.2 seconds back while Dahlmeier’s teammate Denise Herrmann, with four penalties, was fifth, 16.7 seconds back. Darya Domracheva of Belarus, with three penalties, finished sixth, 23.7 seconds back.
Good Conditions; Kuzmina in the Lead
Good conditions remained for the women later this afternoon. Anastasiya Kuzmina led the field out of the stadium to the cheers of the 18,000 plus crowd. Wierer knocked down the five targets faster than anyone in the first prone to take a .1 second lead over Domracheva who matched her. Eleven women cleaned and left within 11.8 seconds, while the Yellow Bib Kuzmina with one penalty was in 12th, 16.8 seconds back after flying around the penalty loop.
Domracheva Pulls Away
Domracheva settled on lane one for the second prone, shot with a relaxed tempo, cleaned and was out with Rosanna Crawford and Wierer matching to take the top three spots. Dahlmeier after a first stage penalty was up to fourth, 16.8 seconds off the pace.
As the field approached the first standing stage, Domracheva had pulled away to a lead of near 20 seconds with Dahlmeier moving up to the second spot. Crawford cleaned fast to take the lead while Domracheva missed a shot to fall to fourth, while Dahlmeier cleaned slowly to slide into second with Mäkäräinen just ahead of Domracheva. These top four were separated by just 7 seconds.
What a mass start! What a dramatic final loop! @kmakarainen wins the last race of #RUH18 and just about edges Laura Dahlmeier while Veronika Vitkova finishes in third place.— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 14, 2018
You can rewatch the competition on https://t.co/Z1cUg23KzH pic.twitter.com/mZMHgV1sTR
Mäkäräinen and Dahlmeier Battle
By the last standing, the Dahlmeier, Mäkäräinen and Domracheva were in the lead. All three missed with Domracheva having two penalties. Crawford cleaned and again left in the front, with a 16.4 second ahead of Vitkova, Mäkäräinen and Dahlmeier. The Finn and German chased the leader and closed the gap with each meter. The two were on the Canadian with 800 meters to go and then pulled away. Just as they entered the stadium, Mäkäräinen moved into a slight lead and sprinted to the finish for her first win of the season. Vitkova came back to outsprint Crawford for the last podium spot. Vitkova came back to outsprint Crawford for the last podium spot. The third place finisher commented, “My feeling on the skis was very good; I felt I could catch Rosanna.”
Kaisa and the Last Loop
Mäkäräinen commented on the last loop effort. “The last loop was hard; I was on the limit all the time. I just tried to do my best and the result was this. Some other day, it might be something else, but happy it ended this way.”
The victory moved the Yellow Bib to the Finnish star, her reaction was, “Cool! Even if only for one race; we will see how it goes, but it okay for me to have Yellow!”
Dahlmeier was pleased even though she finished second. “Like Kaisa said, it was a really fast loop for us. The German team had really good skis so it was a little easier on the downhill…We had the final sprint and I think Kaisa was a little faster than me today. I am happy about second; it is a real good sign that I am im good shape and feel good.”