Tiril Eckhoff’s standing shooting seals Norwegian relay victory
Tiril Eckhoff cleaned the last standing stage in this afternoon’s women’s relay using just a single spare round to key Norway’s third relay win of the season, in 1:14:11.6. Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Røiseland moved the team that included Synnøve Solemdal and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold from 55 seconds back to the win, despite using eleven spare rounds. Sweden, with ten spare rounds finished second, 21.1 seconds back while France, with twelve spares was third, 33.1 seconds back.
“No one wanted to go”
Eckhoff described her leg that led to the victory. “It was pretty hard. I tried to push hard the first loop and then I wanted the others to drag with me. No one wanted to go so then I just had to go. It was a tight fight and I am very happy to come out the winning part.”
Germany with Denise Herrmann’s strong anchor leg finished fourth, with one penalty and eleven spares, 1:10.4 back. Switzerland, with a single penalty and nine spares finished fifth, 1:24.5 back. Sixth went to Ukraine, with one penalty and seen spares, 1:35.1 back.
First Leg to France
After two very wet and foggy days, today was finally dry with the temperature just at freezing, creating much improved competition conditions for both relays. Some light snow overnight improved the track conditions and made it look much more like winter.
Although nine teams got through the first prone stage without a spare round, everyone but Bulgaria added some spares in standing. Lisa Vittozzi, even with two spare rounds left the stadium with a slight lead over Switzerland’s Elisa Gasparin and France’s Julia Simon heading to the first exchange. At the exchange, Simon tagged Anais Bescond in first, with Vittozzi tagging Dorothea Wierer, less than a second back, with Selina Gasparin going out in third.
Wierer shot fast in prone but needed a spare round while Gasparin cleaned in five to go out of the range a step ahead of the Italian, putting the rivaling duo 28 seconds ahead of the field. Gasparin cleaned in five, while Wierer fell apart picking up two penalties to fall from contention. After struggling in prone, Bescond recovered with five perfect shots to head to the exchange in second with Kaisa Mäkäräinen and Sweden’s Linn Persson just behind. Selina tagged sister Aita with a 26 second lead over the Finnish team after an extremely fast last 2 km by Mäkäräinen. Bescond faded to tag Celia Aymonier 41 seconds back. Marte Olsbu Røiseland took over for Norway 55 seconds back in sixth position.
Olsbu Røiseland Third to First
The third Gasparin sister cleaned in five shots, despite an increasingly windy shooting range, while Olsbu Røiseland cleaned with five quick shots to move up to second position, 39 seconds back, with Sweden’s Mona Brorsson on her shoulder. Surprisingly in standing, Aymonier and Brorsson cleaned in five shots while the leaders used spare rounds, going to the exchange1-2 Even with the spares, Olsbu Røiseland moved Norway closer to the front, leaving in third13 seconds back. The Norwegian star put her foot on the gas in the last 2 km loop powering up to first when she tagged Tiril Eckhoff a second ahead of Justine Braisaz and six in front of Hanna Oeberg. Denise Herrmann took over for the home team Germany, one minute back in sixth.
Tiril Wins Last Standing Stage
The leading trio used spares in prone, with Oeberg and Eckhoff closing their fifth targets simultaneously and Braisaz, 3 seconds later. The group of three got back together quickly, skiing together into the last standing stage. Again all three used spares, but Eckhoff shooting aggressively with a single spare cleaned first and was away, 6 seconds ahead of Oeberg, using all three spares in second and Braisaz farther back in third. The Norwegian pushed the pace leaving no doubt about another Norwegian relay win.
Secure on the Range
Sweden’s Mona Brorsson admitted the skiing was much harder for her than the shooting. “I was just trying to ski as fast as I could all the time, trying to keep up with the other girls. It was a relief coming into the range because I feel most secure there. It was harder on the tracks but I am really happy with how I managed to compete today.”