Shooting Perfection Keys Elvira Oeberg’s Pursuit Win

Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg shot carefully and clean in an unchallenged wire-to-wire victory in this morning’s Pokljuka women’s 10 km pursuit, crossing the line in 29:41.6. Italy’s Dorothea Wierer, with one penalty moved up from third in Thursday’s sprint to second today, 17.6 seconds back. France’s Julia Simon, with two penalties finished third, 22.4 seconds back.

“Living my Dream”

Elvira beamed after shooting clean for the second straight day and claiming a sprint/pursuit double to start 2023. “I was really tired out there on the tracks today so I felt that I needed to do a good job on the shooting range. I almost cannot believe it myself. To do this, starting with bib number 1, shooting clean and staying there the entire race gives me so much confidence. I am living my dream; this is exactly where I want to be. I am so, so proud that I managed to get here. It is quite amazing!”

Winning with Number 1

Although this was Elvira’s third career pursuit win, it was her first wearing number 1. “It really means a lot. I started with bib 1 last year in Ruhpolding but finished second. To be in the lead the entire race, shooting on lane one and shooting clean really means a lot. It means more than just a victory today…I am really proud that I managed to get here.”

Paulina Batovska Fialkova of Slovakia matched her season best in fourth place, with two penalties, 31 seconds back. Marketa Davidova of Czech Republic, with one penalty finished fifth, 34.7 seconds back, with Elvira’s teammate Linn Persson, with one penalty finished sixth, 36.2 seconds back.

Elvira Leads the Way in Prone Stages

Another sunny afternoon with almost non-existent wind and the temperature hovering just at freezing set the stage for the first pursuits of 2023. Elvira led the field into the first prone stage with Simon less than five seconds back. Both shot clean with Simon shooting a bit faster, gaining a second or two. Wierer matched with five steady shots as did Batovska Fialkova, with the duo at 18 and 20 seconds back, respectively.

Elvira gained a couple of seconds in the second loop, but Simon clawed back the seconds before the second prone stage. Elvira cleaned while the Yellow Bib went for a penalty loop. Wierer and her Slovak rival both cleaned, moving into second and third positions, 11.2 and 13 seconds back with Simon in fourth.

Header iconBMW IBU World Cup 4 Pokljuka Women's Pursuit

Struggling on the Tracks

The winner knew she was not at her best on the tracks, unable to keep her pursuers from closing the gap on almost every loop. “I really struggled on the tracks today, I am not 100% sure why. It is the third day on altitude which can be a difficult day. For someone who lives in the low lands, it is not the perfect opportunity or perfect conditions, but because I was struggling, I focused on the shooting range. I showed that I am not only a good skier but a good biathlete.”

Wierer and Batovska Fialkova Close Gap

The two closest chasers slowly closed the gap to less than five seconds behind Elvira before the first standing stage. The sprint winner again shot carefully and clean while Batovska Fialkova and Wierer, both with penalties remained second and third but 25 seconds back.

“One mistake was okay today”

The rather deceptive shooting range caused Wierer to be more cautious than usual, even though she still missed that third stage shot. “It was for sure a good race. I felt better than the last races. The most important thing was to have good shooting; one mistake was okay today. The shooting range looks really easy because you come downhill, but that is the problem. You want to shoot faster because you feel fresher but you have to be really careful, today I was shooting really slow. I just wanted to hit the targets…just feeling shot-by-shot.”

Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold went to 15-for-15, and into fourth position ahead of the Yellow Bib and within striking distance of the Italian and Slovak with the Yellow Bib dropping into fifth.

Total Control

The Swede was in total control coming into the last standing stage, with five careful shots sealing the victory. Wierer shot well as expected, also cleaning to ensure second place. Tandrevold and Batovska Fialkova both ended up on the penalty loop, while Simon cleaned to move into third, setting the podium.

“I was just trying to survive”

Simon admitted that getting back on the podium was not an easy task, with her standing shooting and mental cues the keys to her seventh podium of the season. “It was a really good battle today. I missed two targets, which was too much to beat Elvira. I am really happy with this performance because it was so hard on the track for me today… (in the final loop), I was just trying to survive. It was really hard in the beginning. After the last standing when I saw I was on the podium, I said, ‘okay, you need to fight because it is a podium, something you cannot do all the time’…I tried to be focused on the two standing (stages); that was the key to the podium today.”

Elvira skied the last loop comfortably, waving to the fans as she entered the stadium with her second victory of the week in hand. Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Svoboda

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