Sebastian Samuelsson Sprints to Single Mixed Relay Victory
Sweden’s Sebastian Samuelsson sprinted the last 400 meters of this afternoon’s Nove Mesto single mixed relay, blowing past Norway’s Sturla Holm Laegreid giving Sweden a 37:41.4 victory. Samuelsson and his partner Linn Persson used just seven spare rounds in their winning effort. Norway, with six spare rounds finished second, 1.5 seconds back. The USA with seven spares finished third, 26.1 seconds back with their first-ever BMW IBU World Cup podium in a mixed relay.
Unsure of Victory; Incredible Skis
Persson said that they “did a really good job today.” Samuelsson was not so sure of the victory after leaving the last standing stage. “I did not think it so. I felt I was a little bit before him in shooting but then I missed my last shot and I just tried to quickly get the extra shot because I noticed he was leaving the shooting range. Then I fought with everything I had. I knew we had incredible skis today so I knew I would catch every meter uphill and downhill. Then it was too much but something happened and I could overpass him.”
Austria, with nine spares finished fourth, 40,8 seconds back, Russia with seven spares finished fifth, 1:10.8 back with France in sixth place,1:19.3 back after two penalties and fourteen spare rounds.
World Cup Mixed Relay Score Title to Norway
Norway, despite their second place won the World Cup Mixed Relay Score Globe with 228 points to France’s 211.
First Leg: Italy and France
The same conditions remained for the last competition with 26 teams line up for the final single mixed relay of the season that would determine the World Cup Mixed Relay Score title. Susan Dunklee of the USA led the pack after a perfect first prone stage with Elisa Gasparin and Sweden’s Linn Persson right behind. With the wind swirling, everyone struggled in the first standing stage, but Julia Simon and Italy’s clean-shooting Michaela Carrara tagged their partners in the top two spots, with the top six teams all within 11 seconds.
Laegreid Moves to the Front
Antonin Guigonnat took control right away, taking a slight lead into his first prone stage. He and Laegreid both cleaned quickly, going out together with Ukraine third 11 seconds back. The Norwegian set the pace into the standing stage. Again, the wind baffled most of the field except Laegreid who cleaned with a single spare giving Tandrevold a 14 second lead over Lisa Theresa Hauser at the second exchange, just two seconds ahead of Dunklee. France fell from contention with two penalties.
Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold pushed the pace, trying to add to the gap before her last prone stage, while Hauser skied comfortably in second. The Norwegian needed a spare round to clean while Dunklee cleaned in five shots to leave second, but 6.3 seconds back. Persson used a spare to move to third ahead of Hauser who needed two spares to clean. Tandrevold again pushed the pace into standing; with Hauser and Persson moving up alongside Dunklee at the range. Tandrevold and Dunklee used a spare each, going to the exchange just a second apart. Hauser recovered to tag Simon Eder in third, five seconds back with Samuelsson another two seconds in arrears.
Samuelsson Sprints to Victory
Laegreid and the USA’s Doherty battled, with the Norwegian setting the pace into prone. The leader shot fast but used a spare to secure the lead while Samuelsson cleaned in five shots to move to second, 4 seconds back with Doherty and Eder just a step behind. The young Norwegian and Swedish stars came to the last standing together after a seesaw battle over the 1500 meter loop. Laegreid went 5-for-5 while Samuelsson needed a spare round, giving Norway a five second lead. The Swede cut the gap in half by the U-turn, then blasted up the final hill, sprinting like crazy down the last 200 meters passing Laegreid to give Sweden the victory. Doherty brought the USA home in third.
Twice the Fun
Laegreid after the last-minute defeat still enjoyed his first single mixed relay. “It is very fun because it is action all the time; short loops and fast shooting. Also, you get to do the job twice; twice the fun, very fun to race.”
Keep it Simple
Sean Doherty anchoring the USA to third place, admitted focus was critical. “First I was really excited to be in the fight. Then I stayed focused on my own work, my own things and just do my job; keep it simple.”
Today’s competition marked the end of the career for the Czech Republic’s Ondřej Moravec who won three Olympic medals as well as five IBU WCH medals in his career that spanned 410 BMW IBU World Cup Starts beginning back at the Ruhpolding World Cup in January 2003. The Czech veteran was honored by teammates and family after he concluded his career with a 10-for-10 in his last leg in the single mixed relay.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni