Ruhpolding Relay Title to France
The French team of Julia Simon, Anais Bescond, Justine Braisaz and Anais Chevalier won the Ruhpolding relay this afternoon, with just four spare rounds in 1:09:27.7. Today’s win was the first for the French women in Ruhpolding since 1994 they topped the home team Germany by 11.8 seconds. Norway finished second, with seven spares, 11.5 seconds back. Germany finished third, with nine spares, 23.4 seconds back, extending their Ruhpolding podium streak to six consecutive years.
Ruhpolding Women's Relay
Sweden finished fourth, 1:29 back, with Russia in fifth, 1:46.2 back. Slovakia’s anchor leg Anastasiya Kuzmina flew through her leg to bring her team from 16th at the last exchange to sixth place, 1:57.6 back.
Sunny; Huge Crowd
Sunshine, blue skies, no wind and a huge boisterous crowd set the stage for the 22 women’s relay teams this afternoon. It was just another perfect day for biathlon at the Chiemgau Arena with 25,000 fans ready to cheer for everyone, but especially for the home team.
Wierer Wins First Leg
The first leg was dominated by three teams: Italy, France and Norway, with all three teams going 10-for-10. France’s Julia Simon actually shot a bit faster than Dorothea Wierer in standing; they left together with Norway four seconds back. By the exchange, Wierer tagged Federica Sanfilippo .3 seconds ahead of Simon, with Norway’s Synnøve Solemdal fading to 14 seconds back. After using two spare rounds in standing, Vanessa Hinz tagged Laura Dahlmeier in 6th position, 37 seconds off the pace.
Bescond Moves to First
Sanfilippo got a slight advantage when the French veteran used a spare round in prone. Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold kept Norway in third with another clean stage, while Dahlmeier fumbled spare round, remaining 39 seconds back, losing all the time she gained on the first loop. Bescond rebounded with a solid spare-free standing, while the Italian used two. Paulina Fialkova blew through the stage, moving up to the number three spot, with Germany in fourth.
Bescond tagged Justine Braisaz tagged Justine Braisaz, now 20 seconds ahead of Slovakia and Italy, side-by-side. Dahlmeier lost time in the 2K loop but tagged Franziska Preuss in fourth. Braisaz cleaned prone in six shots and was gone before anyone else shot. Preuss went 5-for-5 to leave in the second spot, next to Slovakia. Two penalties knocked Italy out of contention. Braisaz closed the five standing targets in six shots and again was gone before anyone else shot. Tiril Eckhoff was outstanding, calmly hitting every spot to move up to second, while Preuss used two spares, losing 15 seconds to her Norwegian rival.
For the first time in 25 years the @FedFranceSki women win the women's relay in Ruhpolding! And right behind them in 2nd place, @NSSF_Biathlon finish in 2nd place #RUH19— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 19, 2019
You can rewatch the entire race on https://t.co/bk5aBBso9Q pic.twitter.com/o21FLtvUZw
Chevalier Brings the Victory
The 22-year-old Braisaz faded over the last 2K loop while Eckhoff gained time. Anais Chevalier headed out on the anchor leg with a mere 14 second lead over Marte Olsbu Røiseland with the speedy Denise Herrmann another 13 seconds back. Chevalier cleaned prone easily to extend her lead, while the Norwegian and German used spares. Shooting alone, Chevalier used a single spare to clean standing to guarantee a French victory.
Goal: “Be Happy”
The French anchor was nervous but had a single goal. “I was under a lot of pressure (as anchor) because it was the first time for me; the girls did a very great job. I was focused on doing the best job for the team. We knew we could shoot clean; we wanted to do well to be happy tonight!”
Røiseland and Herrmann shot side-by-side in standing; the more experienced Norwegian needed two spares to the German’s three. The Norwegian got away with a 21 second gap on the speedy Hermann to assure second place for Norway while relegating Germany to the last podium spot.
Love the Fans
The third place Germans were awed by their fans today. Vanessa Hinz commented, “All the German fans cheered for us so it is a little bit easier to go (fast).” Franziska Preuss added, “To run in front of this amazing crowd is very special but you run faster than you should…We are very happy about the third place; it means a lot to us. It was a good day.”