Russia Wins Mixed Relays at IBU Cup
Sergey Korastylev and Uliana Kaisheva of Russia won the single mixed relay at IBU Cup 6 in 36:20.3 with only two spares. Later in the day, their teammates Anton Babikov, Alexey Slepov, Valeriia Vasnetcova, and Victoria Slivko finished first in the mixed relay with seven spare rounds in 1:16:24.1.
Single Mixed Relay
Germany, with Marco Gross and Marie Heinrich used six spare rounds, crossing the finish line in second place, 1:01.5 behind. Third place went to Ukraine with Vitaliy Trush and Mariya Kruchova, with four spares, 1:05.7 back.
Norway finished fourth, Poland was fifth and Switzerland finished third despite three penalties.
The last competition day at IBU Cup 6 in Lenzerheide started with an exciting single mixed relay, where the men started the competition, covering a distance of 6K, while the women skied the final loop to the finish, covering 7.5K. Fifteen teams lined up at the start to try this new format. Taking the lead after the second prone shooting, Russia went unchallenged by the other teams.
The first exchange saw Norway and Ukraine in second and third places, 13.1 seconds behind the leader. Now it was women’s turn to start the competition. Kaisheva used one spare at the standing, tagging her teammate with a 30-second advantage over Norway, Germany, and Ukraine.
Korastylev was perfect on the shooting range again, without using any spares, holding a secure lead for his team. Behind Russia, at the final exchange, Germany was second, 36.2 seconds back, Ukraine was third, 59.7 seconds behind.
S.Korastylev, "It was an interesting SMR, where the men started the competition, and it was unusual to wait for Uliana at the finish line. For sure, I was worried about her but when she shot clean and had a secure advantage, I calmed down."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) January 27, 2019
Kaisheva used one spare in prone but so did her rivals, keeping the same order. At the final standing, the Russian was fast and clean, leaving his rivals more than a minute behind. Now it was the battle for the last two podium spots. Heinrich, who came to the range 20 seconds ahead of Kruchova, had to use spares, which gave a chance to the clean-shooting Ukrainian to leave the stadium in second.
The German followed her in third, 7 seconds behind. Despite short loops, Heinrich was fast enough to overcome Kruchova on the track and finish in second, moving Ukraine to third. This podium completely matched the top 3 positions in Ridnaun, when Russia, Germany, and Ukraine finished in the same order.
Second place in the mixed relay, despite two penalties and ten spares, went to Germany, 1:24.9 behind. Norway became third with twelve spare rounds, 1:29.8 back.
Fourth place went to Czech Republic, Austria finished fifth and France was sixth.
Like in the first competition, men started first in the mixed relay. At the first exchange, Babikov tagged Slepov in first; Norway followed 9.4 seconds behind, while the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria stayed within 25 seconds. During the second leg, wind gusts at the shooting range became stronger, causing many misses from the athletes. That caused some changes in the standings before the third leg. Norway became the leader, while Russia was following 18.9 seconds behind. Austria, despite only one used spare, was 1:11.3 behind and Germany with two penalty loops, 1:27.4 back.
A.Babikov "This relay was fun and probably more interesting than a personal race. Today, I was on the first leg and it was a new experience. It was not that hard because I knew that I have to shoot clean and be fast on the track!" 🙂— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) January 27, 2019
The third leg made a difference for the Russian team when Vasnetcova shot fast and perfect on both stages. Norway now dropped to second place, 1:10 behind, Germany moved to the third, while other teams had more than a 2:30-minute gap.
Russia’s finisher Slivko supported her teammate with the same clean shooting, confidently leaving in first for the final lap. While the winner was clear, there still was a battle for the second and third places between Germany’s Nadine Horchler and Norway’s Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg.
Coming to the final standing ahead of her rival, Horchler had to use two spare rounds, while Kalkenberg shot clean. Young Norwegian left the stadium with a 5-seconds advantage over the German, nevertheless, more experienced Horchler overtook Kalkenberg, crossing the finish line in second and leaving Germany in third.
Photos: IBU/Vianney Thibaut