Sebastian Samuelsson Anchors Sweden to Hochfilzen Relay Win
Sebastian Samuelsson’s strong anchor leg brought Sweden victory this afternoon in the Hochfilzen men’s relay. Samuelsson and his teammates, Peppe Femling, Martin Ponsiluoma and Thorsten Stenersen used five spare rounds in their 1:16:10.5 victory. Norway finished second, with seven spares, 3.6 seconds back while Germany came from seventh at the last exchange to finish third with a penalty and six spares, 28.8 seconds back.
Hochfilzen Men's Relay
The home team of Austria finished fourth, with seven spares, 41.7 seconds back. Russia in fifth had ten spare rounds, 52.7 seconds back, while early leader Italy finished sixth, with seven spares, 1:13.3 back.
The conditions for the afternoon men’s relay remained very wintery and almost windless. That windedness put 16 teams within 10 seconds after the first prone stage, with only 2 of them needing a single spare round. Switzerland’s Benjamin Weger shook up that group with a fast clean standing stage to lead smaller group of seven teams, all without spare rounds to the first exchange.
Weger proved very strong on the tracks, tagging with a 25.0 second lead over Italy and 30.5 seconds over Norway, with eight teams closely packed just behind them. Italy’s Lukas Hofer closed the gap on Switzerland’s Jeremy Finello down to 6 seconds by the prone stage; both needed a spare round with the Italian taking a 3.5 second lead. Hofer needed two spares to clean but extended his lead to 8.7 seconds over the clean, fast Simon Eder of Austria. Sox more teams remained within 20 seconds of the lead.
Hofer and Windisch
Hofer tagged Dominik Windisch just 8 seconds before Sweden’s Stenersen took off, with Slovenia and Austria on the Swede’s heels. Windisch continued to pull away from the field, then shot slowly and clean upping the gap to 14.9 seconds over Austria’s Landertinger, with the next four teams right on the local hero’s tail. In standing, Stenersen cleaned quickly to get a couple of seconds on Windisch, with Klemen Bauer heading to the final exchange in third, 10.1 seconds behind the duo, with Tarjei Boe keeping Norway in contention, 19 seconds back.
*Samuelsson Pulls Away *
Thierry Chenal took the tag half a stride ahead of Samuelsson, with Slovenia next and Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen next. The two leaders hot side-by-side in prone; Samuelsson cleaned in five, slipping away with a 16.8 and 19 seconds over the Italian and Norwegian. Samuelsson’s two spares opened the door for Christiansen who went 5-for-5.leaving just 4.7 seconds back. Benedikt Doll continued bringing Germany back, heading for home solidly in third.
The young Swedish star was stronger than his Norwegian rival in the last loop, pulling away for a comfortable win. Leadoff leg Peppe Femling described the win as an, “awesome performance from everyone.”
Samuelsson explained why Sweden who won the Olympic Relay Gold in Pyeongchang does well in relays. “We have a high focus on these relays; we know that is our biggest chance to make something great…We really like these situations on the shooting range….We come together to support each other and do the best…”
Body Said No Chance
Christiansen described his losing battle with his Swedish rival. “It was a really tough race from the beginning. I was so tired on the last lap. My head said you have to catch him but my body said no chance.”
Standing Shooting Key for Doll
Doll who fell apart in the final standing stage with three penalties in yesterday’s pursuit was focused on mot making the same mistakes today. That focus brought his team to third place. “The standing shooting was important for me; I did not make the mistake like yesterday. Today I tried to shoot a little faster and it worked perfectly.”