Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi, with two penalties, finished second, 20.4 seconds back. France’s Julia Simon with three penalties finished third, 46.9 seconds back.
Although she missed the victory, Simon’s day was special, “Wearing this Yellow Bib at home is crazy. Everyone is here for us, but wearing the bib is more special… It was a joy today. It as an amazing atmosphere here. The crowd was crazy. Everyone was cheering. My family and friends were here, so it was a perfect day; a podium at home is something really special.”
Norway’s Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold also with three penalties, finished fourth, 1:19.9 back. Vittozzi’s teammate Dorothea Wierer, also with three penalties finished fifth, 1:51.9 back, while Sweden’s Linn Persson finished sixth, with one penalty, 1:56.1 back.
Conditions remained the same for the women’s pursuit, with icy tracks causing the shortening of the loop for safety purposes. Denise Herrmann-Wick led the field into the first prone stage but picked up a penalty. Led by Vittozzi, Persson and Anna Magnusson, seven women cleaned, all within 17 seconds.
Simon and Elvira cleaned the second prone simultaneously to take over the lead as Vittozzi had a penalty. Tandrevold, Sophie Chauveau, and Magnusson continued to be perfect at 12.2. 29.5 and 42.2 seconds back.
The winner knew how to handle the difficult track conditions that everyone faced. “I knew it would be a difficult race today with the conditions on the track and you have to shift focus. You have to be really smart out on the track. You cannot get stressed, because then you have no grip and you will be basically standing still and getting frustrated. Then you just need to keep calm and switch the focus to the shooting range after struggling in the track. It was a challenge but I was well-prepared.”
The French/Swedish duo skied almost side-by-side, with Simon always a half-step ahead over the loop into the first standing stage. The Yellow Bib ended up with a tour of the penalty loop, dropping 15 seconds behind the clean-shooting Elvira. Tandrevold had a penalty but left int third, 34.5 seconds back with Vittozzi and Wierer trailing 42.2 and 59.1 seconds back respectively.
Vittozzi’s track strength put her in a good position heading into the last standing stage. “I felt very good. I tried to attack from the first loop. I am very satisfied.”
Elvira put the hammer down on the loop into the final standing stage and went 5-for-5 while Simon visibly pushing the envelope, added two more penalties, ceding the victory to her Swedish rival who commented on that last stage. “I came into standing with Julia a few seconds behind like last year so I knew what to expect (from the crowd noise). I knew she would shoot fast. The key for me was just to focus on myself…I think I managed it well especially from the experience here last year.”
Vittozzi cleaned to leave second 14.6 seconds ahead of Simon, setting the podium.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Vianney Thibaut