Wins for Anastasiia Morozova and Johannes Dale in IBU Cup Pursuits
Anastasiia Morozova of Russia, despite three penalties, won the women’s pursuit today at IBU Cup 2 in Ridnaun in 31:05.1. In the afternoon, Norway’s Johannes Dale took the men’s pursuit with two penalties in 33:36.8.
Ukraine’s Yuliia Zhuravok finished fourth with one penalty, 1:06.2 back. Ingela Andersson of Sweden finished fifth with four penalties, 1:19.2 behind. Matching her teammate’s shooting, Elisabeth Hoegberg took sixth place, 1:30.7 back.
Change in Standings
The last competition day at IBU Cup 2 started with light snow and calm conditions on the range, resulting in a lot of clean shooting at the first prone. While yesterday’s sprint winner Morozova went to the penalty loop, Ukraine’s Nadiia Bielkina left in first. The second prone stage saw a change in the standings. Morozova cleaned, taking back the lead and was followed by Slivko and Andersson within 8 seconds.
While her rivals were missing, clean-shooting Slivko left the stadium in first after the third stage, but only with just a 9.7 second lead on Andersson and 13.7 seconds from Morozova. At the final standing, the two Russians matched with a perfect shooting, leaving for the last lag 1.8 seconds apart. Zhuravok, with one penalty in the first standing, shot fast and clean, taking the advantage over Andersson, who went for two more penalty loops. By that time, bib 12 Mironova with three total penalties, moved up to the fifth position and left the stadium 20 seconds behind the Ukrainian. The fastest skier of the day Mironova was way too strong and reduced the gap from Zhuravok by the next split point. She securely took the last podium spot, finishing after her teammates Morozova and Slivko.
A.Morozova, "I am full of emotions. It is incredibly great to take the third Gold here and to feel a winner every day. I am just happy right now!"— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 16, 2018
Sivert Guttorm Bakken, after third in the sprint, had three penalties and missed the podium by 4 seconds. Fifth place went to France’s Fabien Claude with the same three penalties, 1:00.7 back, while Dale’s teammate Fredrik Gjesbakk matched his start number 6 with two penalties, 1:09.9 behind.
An exciting men’s pursuit was held this afternoon. The first prone saw perfect shooting from sprint top 3: Dale, Babikov and Bakken, who followed each other in the same order. At the second prone, the Russian took advantage of his rival's mistakes and while they went to a penalty loop, Babikov hit all targets, leaving 7.2 seconds ahead of Dale.
The fast Norwegian reduced the gap by the first standing, getting on the mat almost simultaneously with the leader. They matched each other with one miss, leaving the penalty loop also together. While Babikov and Dale were battling for the top position, Bakken stayed third with two mistakes and bib 8 Fourcade with a perfect shooting moved to the fourth. At the final standing, the Russian and the Norwegian practically mirrored each other on every shot. Closing all the targets at the same time, they left for the final lap, where the fate of the win would be decided.
The young Norwegian, who was faster than Babikov yesterday, proved his power again, and overtook more experienced rival, taking a second Gold in his second-ever senior competition. While this duo was battling for the victory, Bakken and Fourcade were dueling for the last podium spot. The Norwegian and the French veteran matched each other in shooting with one penalty, leaving the stadium 3 seconds apart, with Bakken ahead. By the last split point, Fourcade overtook the young Norwegian, keeping third until the finish line.
J.Dale, "I think, my debut at the #IBU_Cup was very good; two wins in two competitions. And now I just have to take this great feeling with me and continue a good work."— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) December 16, 2018
Photos: IBU/Harald Deubert