Lucas Fratzscher and Caroline Colombo Take Final IBU Cup Sprints
Clean-shooting Lucas Fratzscher of Germany won the season’s final IBU Cup men’s sprint in Martell, finishing in 23:56.3. In the afternoon, Caroline Colombo of France took the women’s sprint with the same perfect shooting in 26:05.2.
Fratzscher’s teammate Philipp Horn finished second with the same perfect shooting, 23.6 seconds behind. The last podium spot went to another German Danilo Riethmueller who matched his teammates at the range, 32.2 seconds back.
Harald Lemmerrer of Austria finished fourth, 42.3 seconds behind; Russia’s Semen Suchilov became fifth, 43 seconds back, while Aristide Begue of France was sixth, 43.2 seconds behind. All three had one standing penalty.
Flying to the Win
On a clear, sunny and windless morning, 68 men lined up to battle for the last sprint podium of the 2018/19 IBU Cup season. Despite windless conditions on the shooting range, not many athletes managed to hit all targets today. Leaving the stadium 7.3 seconds behind the leading Suchilov after the prone, Fratzscher, unlike his rival, was also accurate in standing. Flying to his first-ever win and sixth podium of the season, the German added to his 14-second advantage after the standing stage to 23 seconds at the finish line.
🇩🇪L.Fratzscher, "It was an important win because it is my first one. I was very nervous in the morning and didn't expect anything. It was great that I had such a good race with a clean shooting and fast speed on the track. Amazing day!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) March 16, 2019
First Senior Podium
Like their teammate, Riethmueller and Horn were also perfect on the shooting range with Riethmueller leaving a mere .3 seconds ahead of Horn after the standing. Holding second place at the final split point, bib 60 Riethmueller could not take an advantage of his later start number, losing almost 10 seconds on the final 1.5 km, crossing the finish line in third. Nevertheless, for the young German junior, this podium became first on the senior level.
Sprint Score Winner
Despite finishing eleventh with two penalties, Anton Babikov of Russia kept his lead in the IBU Cup Sprint Score, taking a small globe in this discipline, and also secured a win in the Total Score.
Fourth place, despite four misses, went to Ukraine’s Iana Bondar, 55.7 seconds behind, while another Ukrainian Nadiia Bielkina finished fifth with three penalties, 1:05.1 back. Michela Carrara of Italy became sixth with two penalties, 1:05.6 behind.
Only Clean Shooter
The same warm conditions and clear skies remained during the women’s competition with one change: strong wind gusts that crossed the range from side to side. Cleaning the first shooting, Colombo managed to shot perfect at the standing, becoming the only shooter who hit 10 of 10. That accuracy gave her a confident lead and almost a minute advantage over the closest rival. Despite losing almost 10 seconds on the final lap, she securely crossed the finish line in first, taking her second win of the season.
🇫🇷@Clmb25, "Italy is a country of my grandmother, so I am so happy to win here. I knew that the race today would be very difficult because of the altitude and I tried to do my best on the track and on the shooting range."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) March 16, 2019
Russian junior Kazakevich with early bib 4 was efficient at prone and missed twice at standing, which still gave her a second place before the final loop. Giving her best on the track, she kept her second place until the finish, taking her first senior individual podium.
Two More Globes
Entering the competition with the last bib 52, the main focus for Slivko, who was just 6 points behind Ingela Andersson in the IBU Cup Sprint Score, was to overtake the Swede and... the Russian successfully coped with the task. To one prone penalty she added two more mistakes at the standing, matching Andersson with three total misses. Unlike the Swede, Slivko was very fast on her skis, taking the last podium spot and winning 17 points from Andersson, who finished only 16th. Moreover, with a high ranking in today’s competition, Slivko, as her teammate Babikov, also secured a win in the Total Score.
After the flower ceremony, team Russia received the third small globe of the day, for the win in the IBU Cup Mixed Relay Score.
Photos: IBU/Harald Deubert