Career-first Victory for Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold in Mass Start
Norway’s Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold ended the season with her first-ever victory, celebrating over the last 50 meters on the way to winning the Oestersund women’s 12.5 km mass start, with five wind-blown penalties in 34:53.1. Tandrevold’s victory gave her the World Cup Mass Start Score Crystal Globe, also the first in her career. Dzinara Alimbekava of Belarus, with six penalties, finished second, 6.9 seconds back. Germany’s Franziska Preuss, also with six penalties, finished third, 11.1 seconds back.
“My dream season”
Today’s first win and the Crystal Globe made Tandrevold’s season that she thought at one point was going the wrong direction. “It is incredible. In January, it seemed like my worst season ever and I felt I was in trouble and trouble and trouble. Now it has become my dream season. I do not know what to say.”
Words of Encouragement
She described how a few words of encouragement helped her in the tough conditions today. “Yes it was really tough and I had a really bad experience yesterday. I lost all of my confidence on the shooting range. But today I had a really good talk with my waxer and he said this is a new day and you can win this shit. I felt from the first loop that I had amazing skis; I did a good prone shooting and knew that everything was possible and I just had to go on.”
Switzerland’s Lena Haecki, with seven penalties, finished fourth, 15 seconds back, the second-best result of her career. Russia’s Uliana Kaisheva, with five penalties, finished fifth, 201 seconds back. Hanna Sola of Belarus, with eight penalties finished sixth, 24.9 seconds back.
World Cup Total Score to Tiril Eckhoff
Although it had been decided last week, Tandrevold’s teammate Tiril Eckhoff who finished seventh today was awarded the World Cup Women’s Total Score Globe, her first title and the first Norwegian woman since Tora Berger in 2013.
Gusty Winds: Davidova and Wierer In Front
After a multiple-hour delay because of high winds, the final women’s competition of the season started under cloudy skies, with the temperature at freezing and the gusty winds still kicking up on the shooting range. Bragging rights with a win in the season-ending competition as well as the World Cup Mass Start Score were on the line for the top contenders. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Eckhoff in front controlled the pace in the first loop. Both Norwegians ended up with two tours of the penalty loop, while Davidova and Wierer both cleaned to take the lead with young Emilie Kalkenberg also perfect going out third. Only nine women cleaned the first stage, all leaving within nine seconds.
Dzhima Goes 10-for-10
The two leaders as well as Preuss who came to the second prone in third all missed a shot, as the wind blew hard from the left. Yulia Dzhima, the only woman to go 10-for-10 assumed the lead with Marketa Davidova and Wierer, 3 and 5 seconds back respectively. Preuss fell 11 seconds off the pace, with Sola and Tandrevold next.
Wind-blown Penalties for Leaders
By the first standing stage, Davidova was back in the top spot in a group of four. Now the wind was blowing in everyone’s face; Davidova, Sola and Preuss all picked up four penalties. Alimbekava cleaned to jump from 12th to the lead with Wierer in second after two penalties. Janina Hettich with just one standing miss left in third position, but 21 seconds back.
Tandrevold's One Penalty
Going into the final standing stage of the season, the Belarusian had a 25-second gap on Wierer. The wind was again blowing directly at the firing line. The leader struggled than shot fast picking up four penalties, but somehow still went out in the lead. Tandrevold after a single penalty followed in second position, with Lena Haecki after two penalties next but 10.1 seconds back, with Preuss just behind.
Preuss’ Faster Shooting
Preuss was surprised to end up third after a trying something different in the standing stage. “I never thought after the four penalty loops that I could be on the podium today. One of our trainers on the track told me that I should maybe shoot a little bit faster than yesterday. I tried it to find a good solution with fast shooting and clean shooting…It wasn’t good!”
By the 11.3 km split, Tandrevold was in the lead by two seconds, with Preuss moving up to third. The Norwegian continued to pull away, looking back with 100 meters to go, she started celebrating her first-ever victory with a loud “Yes” while punching the sky with her poles at the finish. Alimbekava and Preuss followed in second and third place.
Blue Bib to Alimbekava
Alimbekava’s second place came with an added bonus, the podium spot gave victory in the season-long Blue Bib competition for athletes under 25-years-old. “To me, winning the Blue Bib means that I am the strongest one of the young athletes under 25. Before the season, I had one aim, to keep this Blue Bib and win it. I am really glad because we have a lot of really strong competitors…I am really glad to be the first one.”
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni