Eckhoff’s Last Standing Stage Seals IBU World Championships Pursuit Gold
Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff sealed a sprint/pursuit double and her third Gold medal in the three opening days at the IBU World Championships by cleaning the last standing stage in this afternoon’s women’s 10 km pursuit. Eckhoff, with two penalties on the day finished in 30:38.1. Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser, with one penalty, also cleaned the last stage to move up from sixth to the Silver medal, 17.3 seconds back. Sprint Silver medalist Anais Chevalier-Bouchet of France with two penalties won the Bronze medal, 33 seconds back.
“Amazing” Hat Trick
Eckhoff with two individual Gold medals and a mixed relay Gold was more than pleased with her pursuit and IBU WCH Hat Trick. “It is amazing! I am very, very satisfied. I cannot say anything more.”
Regarding her tougher than usual pursuit, she added, “I think I did a really good pursuit. I was a little bit bad on the first shooting but I am happy with my last standing; it was very good.”
Italy’s Dorothea Wierer, one of only three women to shoot clean moved up from 20th at the start to finish fourth,45.2 seconds back. German teammates Franziska Preuss, with two penalties and clean-shooting Vanessa Hinz finished fifth and sixth, 49 seconds and 1:05.1 back, respectively.
Eckhoff Penalty in First Prone
Conditions remained the same for the women’s pursuit, with more blue sky and light shooting range winds. Eckhoff wearing Yellow and Red put the hammer down right from the start, moving away from the field before the first prone stage. She missed her first shot while Chevalier-Bouchet cleaned to take a 17-second lead over Eckhoff. Olsbu Roeiseland, Oeberg and Preuss also were perfect, going out in that order but over 33 seconds back.
Chevalier-Bouchet and Eckhoff
In the second prone stage, the French leader missed her last shot while Eckhoff cleaned, reversing their positions with the Norwegian 18 seconds up. Olsbu Roeiseland and Preuss went to 10-for-10, moving to 24 seconds back as the closest pursuers with Herrmann farther back at 39 seconds.
In the Lead
Eckhoff held her pace steady over the next 2 km before the first standing stage. With the wind picking up, Eckhoff again had a penalty while her French rival cleaned; they left the stadium together this time. Olsbu Roeiseland also missed a single target while Herrmann cleaned to jump up to third, 21.7 seconds back with the Norwegian another three seconds back.
Last Standing Stage Decision
The Norwegian tried to shake adversary eventually getting a four-second gap by the 7.1 km split. Still the top spot would be decided in the last standing stage. Eckhoff with the title on the line cleaned while Chevalier-Bouchet had a single miss. The sprint winner went out of the stadium with a 32-second lead over Chevalier-Bouchet. Hauser after a clean final stage went out just four seconds later with Wierer next at 40 seconds.
Eckhoff skied comfortably on her way to a sprint/pursuit double and her second consecutive IBU WCH Gold medal. Hauser quickly powered past the French sprint Silver medalist, setting the podium. Eckhoff made her traditional jump across the finish line, quickly adding an emphatic “Yes!”
Fighting for fourth, fifth…then saw I was in third”
Hauser continued her torrid 2021 pace with a Silver medal which she called, “unbelievable,” after a shaky start to her day. “I did not have such a perfect beginning because my first shot was a miss… I tried to go on and do my work on the shooting range; then I had three times zero. It was just amazing. On the last shooting, I did not expect to be fighting for a medal. I thought the other girls were already on their way on the track. I was surprised because all of the coaches and service guys were next to the track screaming. ‘come on Lisa, you have to fight.” I thought ‘for what’ fourth, fifth; I did not know. Then at the ski test area, I saw the screen in the stadium and saw I was in third place and then I thought you have to fight in the uphill and it worked!
Chevalier-Bouchet was initially disappointed with her Bronze medal. “I am happy with this Bronze medal. I was a bit disappointed when I crossed the line because I played for the Gold. But five minutes after, I was happy. It is a medal at the World Championships.”
Hard Last Lap
In her early battle with Eckhoff, Chevalier-Bouchet was, “only focused on myself. I did not know the times of the girls behind me, only focused on my race…Lisa was too fast for me. When she passed me, I could not jump on her skis… I was afraid of Doro Wierer but she was 10 seconds back…It was a very hard last lap.”
Photos: IBU/ Thibaut/ Manzoni