Runaway Mass Start Win: IBU WCH Gold to Dorothea Wierer
Italy’s Dorothea Wierer despite two last standing stage penalties ran away from her rivals to win her first IBU World Championship Gold medal in this afternoon’s women’s 12.5K mass start. Skiing the last loop alone, she crossed the finish line in 37:26.4. Russia’s Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht, also with two penalties, 4.9 seconds back won the Silver medal, holding off Germany’s hard-charging Denise Herrmann in the last loop. Herrmann, with four penalties, took the Bronze medal to go along with her pursuit Gold medal from last week.
Wierer commented on her victory, admitting it was unexpected. “It is amazing! It (the win) was completely unexpected. Today, I was just thinking about finishing my races here. I was really nervous at the last shooting. The last loop was really hard for me, with the others behind me, but I am really happy I did it.”
“After Third Shooting, Knew I Could Do It”
The first-ever Italian female IBU World Champion knew after the first standing stage that the win was possible. “I am happy with my performance today especially my shooting after three times zero. I was not 100% on the skis because yesterday, I had some stomach problems and I could not start in the relay…I knew I could do it today after the third zero shooting. Then I had two misses and was not sure if Ekaterina and Denise would catch me so it was a hard final loop.”
The victory put Wierer in a tie for the Yellow Bib atop the World Cup Total Score with teammate Lisa Vittozzi, going into the final BMW IBU World Cup of the season next week at Oslo.
15K Individual Gold medalist Hanna Oeberg of Sweden finished fourth with three penalties, 52.7 seconds back. Fifth place went to Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff, with four penalties, 57.7 seconds back. Herrmann’s teammate Laura Dahlmeier, also with four penalties, finished sixth, 1:03.4 back.
*Snowy Start: Fast Skiers in Front *
The final women’s competition of these IBU World Championships was held with snowfall and strong winds adding to the challenge of this head-to-head battle for one last set of medals. Two of the fastest women in the field, Herrmann and Kuzmina set a blistering pace on the first loop. Thirteen women led by local heroine Oeberg and Wierer shot clean with the other eleven trailing behind then within 16 seconds. Kuzmina was eliminated from contention with four penalties.
Yurlova-Percht and Wierer
Herrmann again pushed the pace taking the lead into the second prone, picking up a single penalty, as did Oeberg. This time, Yurlova-Percht cleaned as fast as Wierer; they went out together with now just four additional clean-shooting rivals trailing within 7 seconds. Hojnisz also cleaned but was 24 seconds back in 7th position, with Oeberg and Mäkäräinen just behind her. Herrmann came off the penalty loop, dragging this chase group with her, trying to get closer to the leading six before the first standing stage.
Wierer Takes Control
The Italian went 5-for-5 quickly while her Russian rival missed once. That gave Wierer a 31 second lead. Mäkäräinen after skiing back into contention also missed once but came off the penalty loop in third position, along with Olsbu Røiseland and Hojnisz, 55 seconds back. Herrmann lurked dangerously another 10 seconds behind this chase group. The Finn continued to push the pace separating from the group as they approached the final standing stage, as Wierer and the Russian skied alone in front.
Top Three on the Loop
With the winds flags blowing, the leader missed two shots while her Russian rival also missed one. Wierer left the penalty loop 10 seconds ahead of Yurlova-Percht. The German also missed a shot but came off the loop in third, 33 seconds back, with Oeberg another 13 seconds in arrears.
She's had several silver and bronze but today she put the ORO into DORO: @Fisiofficial's Dorothea Wierer gets her first gold in a big event! #2019Ostersund 🇮🇹— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) March 17, 2019
Watch the post-race reactions live on https://t.co/bk5aBBso9Q pic.twitter.com/cfvz2hp7Jn
Gold Medal for Doro
Being frustrated and medal-less in any of the individual competitions in these Championships, Wierer skied on a lonely trek to the win, crossing the line hands high in triumph. Herrmann set her sights on the Silver medal, closing to within 10 seconds of the Russian with 1200 meters to go. However, the plucky Yurlova-Percht held off the speedy German, claiming the Silver medal with Herrmann settling for Bronze.
Second Career IBU WCH Medal for Yurlova-Percht
Yurlova-Percht’s Silver medal was her second career IBU WCH medal. She won Gold in the 15K individual in 2015 at Kontiolahti. Today, concerned about the weather, she focused on the shooting range. “I think I was focused just on the shooting. When I woke up in the morning, I looked at the window and said again a surprise; Östersund, windy and snowy. My goal was to make a good prone and work hard in the standing.”
Fast Starts for Herrmann
Herrmann explained why she always starts fast. “I have to start really fast because I lose so much time in the shooting area. I felt it a little bit in the last loop because I had two more misses than the other girls. It was also hard because it was windy and not so fast on the track…that takes a lot of energy.” With three medals, she admitted, “I am really happy about this World Championships, I hoped for one medal.”