Philipp Nawrath and Elisabeth Hoegberg Take IBU Cup Pursuits
Philipp Nawrath of Germany won the men’s pursuit today at IBU Cup 1 in Sjusjoen with a single penalty in 32:22.8. Later in the day, Elisabeth Hoegberg of Sweden finished first in the women’s competition with two penalties in 31:07.6.
Yesterday’s sprint winner Fredrik Gjesbakk of Norway finished second with two penalties, 27.2 seconds back, while another German Lucas Fratzscher matched his start number 3 with third place and three penalties, 33.3 seconds behind.
Endre Stroemsheim moved from 19th start position to fourth at the finish with two penalties, 42.2 seconds back. Russia’s Said Karimulla Khalili was fifth with a single penalty, 59.0 seconds behind. His teammate Vasilii Tomshin with bib 20 finished sixth with two penalties, 1:02 back.
The final competition day in Sjusjoen kicked off with the first season’s pursuit under very good weather conditions: no wind and the temperature around -6C. Leaving the starting gate with a 20-second lead over the pack, Gjesbakk kept his first position until the final shooting. He missed once at the third stage, adding one more penalty at the last standing, which saw him dropping to the second place.
While his rivals were making mistakes, Nawrath, bib 4, took advantage. With one penalty at the first standing, he was perfect in the last shooting, which was the price of today’s win. He left the stadium almost 25 ahead of Gjesbakk, calmly keeping this gap until the finish line. This win became second for the German, as last year he also finished first in the pursuit competition at the first IBU Cup stage in Idre, Sweden.
🇩🇪P.Nawrath, "Before the final shoot I overtook Gjesbakk. I didn't know if it was right decision, but in the end, it paid off. When I was leaving the range, I had no idea I was leading and understood that I am going to win only in the middle of the loop!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 1, 2019
📸: Jan Rune Bakkelund pic.twitter.com/C8wVDyXaWt
Three Podiums in Three Competitions
Like Gjesbakk, Fratzscher also started his competition from a perfect first prone, nevertheless, the next three stages saw him collecting three penalties: one at every bout. Still, the German, who stayed on the podium in the first two competitions, was fast enough today to overcome the penalty loops and keep his start number 3 at finish. Despite having three podiums in three competitions, Fratzscher is currently second in the IBU Cup Total Score, while Gjesbakk takes the lead with just one point advantage over the German.
Irina Starykh, the winner of the women’s sprint, finished second with just one penalty, 15.4 seconds behind Hoegberg. Third place went to her teammate Ekaterina Glazyrina with one penalty, 19.4 seconds back.
Norway’s Synnoeve Solemdal moved up from the 19th start position to fourth with a single penalty, 46.6 seconds behind. Irene Cadurisch of Switzerland was fifth with one penalty, 55.2 seconds back, while sixth place went to bib 14 Natalia Gerbulova with two penalties, 1:13.8 behind.
Battle for Second and Third
The same calm conditions remained during the women’s competition, allowing the athletes to shoot well. Starting her competition with bib 5 and one penalty at the first shooting, Hoegberg was perfect at the next two stages. She moved up to the first position before the final standing, entering the range with more than a 20-second gap from the rivals. The Swede missed the last target but was fast enough to cover the penalty loop, while others were still on the range.
🇸🇪E.Hoegberg, "I was sure I would hit targets on the final standing, but I guess I was too fast with the last shot and there was a miss. I tried to do the penalty loop as fast as possible and knew I still could battle for the win!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 1, 2019
📸: Jan Rune Bakkelund pic.twitter.com/NhLIIpysom
While Hoegberg had a confident advantage and no one challenging her, the battle for the second and third places was on. With one penalty each, Glazyrina and Starykh left the final standing 3 seconds apart. On the final lap bib 1 Starykh showed great skiing, overcoming her teammate and finishing second. This result helped the Russian to take the first place in the IBU Cup Total Score with a 2-point advantage over Hoegberg.
Photos: Jan Rune Bakkelund