Eduard Latypov Anchors Russia to Mixed Relay Triumph
Russia ended their season-long podium drought when Eduard Latypov outsprinted Norway’s Sturla Holm Laegreid in the last 50 meters to win the Oberhof Mixed Relay this morning. Latypov, Uliana Kaisheva, Svetlana Mironova and Alexander Loginov used just seven spare rounds in their 1:08:21.7 victory. Norway, also with seven spares finished .7 seconds back. France, with six spares, leading after the last standing stage finished third, 12.1seconds back.
Latypov commented on his team’s victory. “I am really happy. It is overwhelming…I am almost speechless. For our team, I am glad we had this performance that had been a goal for such a long time. Thank you to everyone who helped us.”
Regarding his deciding leg, Latypov added, “I felt a lot of pressure in the last shooting, but I managed to do it. On the final lap, I felt that I had some power despite being nervous as well. I felt I had some power left for the final stretch where I got the win.”
Belarus, with one penalty and five spares finished fourth, 56.3 seconds back. Germany with a penalty and seven spares finished fifth, 1:06 back. Switzerland also with seven spare rounds finished sixth, 1:29.4 back.
Patches of Blue Sky; France Leads
The fog lifted leaving almost bright skies with patches of blue, again almost no shooting range wind and a thermometer reading of -4C this morning for the 23 teams in the first mixed relay of the 2020/21 season. The first leg was dominated by the French team with Anais Chevalier-Bouchet confidently going 10-for-10 and skiing fast enough to hold a solid lead through the exchange where she tagged Justine Braisaz-Bouchet with an 11-second lead over the USA and Germany. Norway trailed by 19 seconds when Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was tagged by Tandrevold.
Russia Moves Up
Ten teams were within 35 seconds of the leader at the start of the second women’s leg. Braisaz-Bouchet kept her team perfect with five prone targets easily closed, while Denise Herrmann matched but remained 10 seconds back, despite her French rival’s fall as she exited the shooting range. Olsbu Roeiseland needed two spares to clean, dropping Norway to 30 seconds back. Spare rounds for the top two teams and a 5-for-5 for Mironova in the standing stage tightened things up with Germany and Russia now 8 seconds back as the leading trio headed towards the second exchange and the men taking over. Mid-way through the last 2 km loop, Mironova took charge moving past both the speedy Herrmann and the French leader, while Olsbu Roeiseland closed the gap down to a dozen seconds when she tagged Johannes Dale in fourth position.
Loginov maintained a six-second lead over Fabien Claude and Benedikt Doll as they came to the prone stage. Everything changed even with a few spare rounds the top four teams were now within 2 seconds. By standing, Dale was even with Loginov; the two leaders both used a spare round with the Russian grabbing a 10 second lead over Dale and Doll, with Claude now trailing by 19 seconds. Dale was on the hunt, closing the gap to 5 seconds by the next split time, eventually tagging Sturla Holm Laegreid 3.6 seconds behind Latypov. Arnd Peiffer took over 10 seconds back with Quentin Fillon Maillet next at 19.6 seconds back.
Laegreid quickly moved onto Latypov’s shoulder, while Fillon Maillet moved up even with Peiffer. Latypov, Peiffer and Fillon Maillet all cleaned prone in five shots, while the Norwegian needed a spare round. The Russian’s lead bulged to 14.5 seconds over the chasing trio, but they cut that to 9 seconds by the 21.4 km mark. Fillon Maillet cleaned in five shots, while Laegreid needed a spare and Latypov two.
50-meter Sprint and Victory
The French team had a 7.6 second lead after the standing stage with 2 km to go. Laegreid and Latypov did not give up with the young Norwegian pushing the hardest until they topped the final climb. After blowing past Fillon Maillet, Latypov got an advantage on the final downhill sprinting away from Laegreid in the last 50 meters for Russia’s first podium result of the season.
Tough on Legs
Johannes Dale who did not seem to have much pop in his legs today was satisfied with the Norwegian’s second place in light of the tough schedule this week. “It was really tough on my legs. When I saw the schedule with three competitions in three days, I was worried. We would have liked the win, but second place is satisfying too.”
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni