“Wanted to do Better”
Elvira’s second win of the 2022/23 BMW IBU Cup season was a bit of sweet revenge after missing out on the sprint win at Annecy Le Grand Bornand last month. “I am most happy about the clean shooting, finally. I had the opportunity in the sprint in France but missed the last shot. I really felt that I wanted to do better than that today when I had the opportunity; super happy and a perfect start to the new year.”
“It worked out quite good”
The winner admitted this first competition felt a bit funny, almost catching her by surprise. “I felt a bit weird that we were racing today; we got here on Tuesday and only had one day of training. It felt like, ‘oh, it is time.’ But I really did just what I do in training. I did my thing and it worked out quite good!”
Although she won rather handily, Elvira considers it a result of knowing herself well and being smart during the competition. “I did nothing special; I have this level now that without not having not 110% focus and the best legs that I can still manage to pull off this kind of race. That is a really nice thing to have with me for the rest of the season. I have not been in altitude since September so it is obviously not perfect for us…I discussed this with Johannes last night. You have to be smart and not go too fast since you have the altitude…my legs were hurting on the first lap… so I had to stay cool.”
Italy’s Dorothea Wierer also shot clean in third place, 18.7 seconds back.
Paulina Batovska Fialkova, leading after cleaning the prone stage, missed a standing shot, to finish in a season-best fourth place, 26.5 seconds back. Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova, with one penalty, finished fifth, 28.7 seconds back. Germany’s Denise Herrmann-Wick, with two penalties, finished sixth, 36.3 seconds back.
The first competition of 2023 kicked off under partly cloudy skies, a warm +4C and virtually no wind atop the Pokljuka plateau. The warm weather softened the snow, making for slow-going in the tracks. Start number 3 Batovska Fialkova started the new year with a fast clean prone stage, taking the early lead after the first stage, faster than Elvira, also clean but 7.8 seconds back. Yellow Bib Simon opened 2023 just where she left off before the holidays with another perfect prone stage but 3 seconds slower than Elvira. Although she shot clean, Simon said, ‘The shooting range is not so easy because we are in altitude…the track is really hard…You have to stay focused.”
Wierer also cleaned quickly but trailed a dozen seconds back. In her first competition of the season, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland showed she had lost nothing, cleaning quickly to move into the second spot, 6.6 seconds back with Davidova next, both ahead of Elvira.
The early leader missed a shot in standing but remained in the hunt for her first podium of the season. Elvira and Wierer both cleaned standing with the Swede gaining the upper hand by 6 seconds, taking the lead.
Wierer was especially pleased after that last target closed, giving her a 10-for-10 day “I am really happy that I finally had a clean shooting. The last time was in the Olympic Games (almost a year ago), a long time ago. The important thing was to shoot clean. The track was a little difficult; you had to be really careful, but they did good work (preparing) for these conditions.”
Olsbu Roeiseland missed a shot to drop her from contention. Simon stayed in the fight with her own perfect standing stage, going out just 4 seconds behind her Swedish rival with a loop to go.
At the 6.1 km split, Elvira’s lead was up to 9 seconds, and she pulled further away by the finish to take a lead that would be hard to top. Wierer also had a strong last loop, but could not match Elvira’s pace. Just behind, Simon pushed hard, but was not as fast as the Swedish leader, crossing the line 6.9 seconds back in second but a dozen ahead of Wierer in third.
Simon: “happy…tough race”
Even in second place, Yellow Bib Simon was quite pleased with herself but because of the many French fans supporting her and her teammates. “I am really happy. It was a tough race, especially on the track because the legs were really hurting. Perfect shooting; that was the most important thing.”
Regarding the French fans, “It is crazy; French fans are everywhere. It is very cool, very nice. They are really important; it is a great pleasure to see them on the tracks cheering for the French team.”
Photos: IBU/ Christian Manzoni, Svoboda