Repeat Performance for Hanna Oeberg; Second Sprint Win
Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg repeated her sprint performance from Sunday by shooting clean to win this evening’s Kontiolahti women’s 7.5 km sprint in 21:11.5, only 10 seconds slower than that first-ever sprint victory. Anais Chevalier-Bouchet continued her strong return from maternity leave, also shooting clean to finish in second place,9.6 seconds back. Yet, it was 21-year-old Elvira Oeberg who made the biggest splash with her single penalty third place, 27.9 seconds back, creating a Swedish Sister Act that matched the Boe Brothers 1-3 finish earlier this afternoon.
Oeberg, “Do the Bib justice”
Oeberg was pleased with her second consecutive sprint win. “I am really happy with my race especially the shooting. I got to race in the Yellow and Red bib today; it was so much fun to have the opportunity to do that…I wanted to do the bib justice today. I feel so confident on the range; just feel really calm and do the work.”
Push Each Other
The Yellow Bib admitted that her younger sister is a tough, strong opponent. “It is so much fun to see her race. She is so strong. She is really good for me also in training; so strong and I try to take advantage of that as I can. We push each other in every session the whole year. It is no surprise to me that she makes these skiing times. I do not think this will be the last time that you see us on the podium (together).”
Marte Olsbu Roeiseland finished fourth, 33.8 seconds back while Germany’s Denise Herrmann finished fifth, 47.6 seconds back and Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova finished sixth, 48.1 seconds back. All three women had a single penalty.
Prone Stage to Elvira
104 women lined up to start the second sprint of the season with the temperature just above freezing, the wind flags flapping from right to left for the early evening start and light snow falling. Hermann set the tone with a fast 4:22 for the first 1800 meters. She followed that fast start with a perfect prone stage, but was slower than the also clean-shooting Chevalier-Bouchet and Davidova. Olsbu Roeiseland took over the prone lead with her own 5-for-5, but only held it for just a short while. Oeberg skied her first loop a bit slower but made up time on the range, overtaking the Norwegian. Mid-way through the start list, number fifty Elvira Oeberg proved to be just as accurate while 3.5 seconds faster than her more experienced sister, grabbing the lead.
Adding to the Lead
Chevalier-Bouchet took the lead with a second clean stage, easily getting ahead of Herrmann, who missed her last shot and was 33 seconds back. Herrmann was not as sharp as usual on the tracks, unable to challenge for the podium. Olsbu Roeiseland just missed once in standing, leaving her in third position behind Chevalier-Bouchet. Yet, it was again Hanna Oeberg, who padded her lead with another 5-for-5, leaving 12.5 seconds up on the field. The younger Oeberg later repeated her prone stage, putting her with a chance for the podium.
Hanna Rules; 1-3 Oeberg Finish
Olsbu Roeiseland, as usual had a good last loop, closing on the leading Chevalier-Bouchet, but still finished behind her. With these two in the finish, the winner of Sunday’s sprint was steady over the last loop, coming off the Wall with a 11.5 second gap. Oeberg, although tiring, was intent on defending her Yellow Bib, digging deep in the last several hundred meters to cross 9.6 seconds ahead of Chevalier-Bouchet. By the 6.1 km mark, Elvira had moved into third position 6.8 seconds ahead of Olsbu Roeiseland and still maintained it after topping the Wall. With her face etched in pain, she looked as determined as her sister, continuing to push until crossing the line with her first career podium, matching the Boe brothers 1-3 finish earlier.
Perfect for Chevalier-Bouchet
Chevalier picked up her first podium since Oberhof in January 2019. “I am very happy with my race because it was a perfect race: zero in shooting and a very good ski time. I doubted my shape before the season because I have not put on a bib since the World Championships in Oestersund, but then this summer, I felt I was in good shape.”
“Give it my all”
Elvira Oeberg, struggling to describe her feelings admitted that getting her first-podium was, “really amazing. I am so happy. She went on to describe her inspired last loop that sealed the podium spot. “I knew I was in a good position after the prone shooting. When I missed one in standing, I saw on the big screen that I was third or something…I felt I would have to push and it would be tight…I knew I would have to give it my all with the big uphill at the end of the loop, I really had to push so hard and I did.”
Inspired by Hanna
She emphasized the importance of Hanna in her life and biathlon career. “She means extremely much for my biathlon career; she has taught me so much and I have always looked up to her as an inspiration. That I am here already today is a lot because of her…To be able to share this day with her makes everything even better.”
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni