Simon Fourcade and Caroline Colombo Take IBU Cup Individuals
Simon Fourcade of France won the season’s first individual competition at IBU Cup 3 in Obertilliach with perfect shooting in 50:01.9. In the afternoon, his teammate Caroline Colombo brought a second Gold medal to France by taking the women's individual with one penalty in 42:11.6.
Another Norwegian Fredrik Gjesbakk with two penalties missed the podium spot just by 5 seconds. Tom Lahaye-Goffart of Belgium shot clean to finish fifth, 2:32.7 back, while Austria’s Sven Grossegger became sixth with two penalties, 2:46.7 behind.
Increasing the Lead
On a windless, cold morning, 113 men lined up to battle for the medals in the 20K individual competition. Calm conditions at the range allowed many athletes to shoot well. Cleaning stage after stage, Fourcade became the leader after the first standing, increasing the gap on his rivals. At the last stage, he hit all the targets once again, leaving the range with more than a minute advantage, securely taking his first win of the season.
After the finish, Fourcade noted that he was skiing a bit slower in the past few days and did not do much shooting yesterday because of the cold weather to save some energy for today’s competition and the rest of the week.
Second Senior Medal
With his one miss at the first prone, Bakken left the stadium in 37th position. After that penalty, the young Norwegian managed to clean all the other stages, showing his best on the tracks, taking his second senior medal. World Cup regular Bocharnikov, with a penalty in the first standing stage, was also moving up in the standings after the missed shot. For the final lap, he left in third position, keeping it until the finish line.
Fourth place went to Russia’s Victoria Slivko with one penalty, 20.2 seconds back. 20-years old Irene Lardschneider of Italy was perfect at the shooting range and finished fifth, 28.4 seconds behind, while Ukraine’s Yuliia Zhuravok was sixth with one penalty, 34.5 seconds back.
After missing last season due to the injury, the 22-year Colombo started this season with very solid results and strong performances. Cleaning prone and standing, the young French biathlete became a leader but one miss in the second prone dropped her to 7th position. A perfect final standing put her back in contention; she left 8.4 seconds behind leading Lardschneider. By the next split time, she overtook the Italian; now it was the battle between Colombo and Horchler. Knowing early starter Horchler's time, Colombo was fighting until the last meter, crossing the finish line just .6 seconds ahead of the German.
C.Colombo @Clmb25 "It's my first senior medal and it's an amazing feeling. On the final lap, I knew that I had only 8 seconds lead over Nadine Horchler and was so happy to finish 0.6 seconds ahead of her!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 19, 2018
Unlike her rivals, Hoegberg was less accurate at the shooting range but faster on the track. Collecting a penalty after each standing stage, the Swede left in fourth for the last loop with an 18.8 second gap to the leader. She was still in fourth place at the last split point but with a powerful finish, managed to take the podium spot for her third medal of the season.
Photos: IBU/Stefan Adelsberger