“Love to race in Antholz”
Herrmann-Wick gushed about the competition and the crowd support. “It was a great race. I love to race in Antholz. After the third shooting we were totally the same girls like in the World Championships (here in 2020). It was great with all the spectators. It was fantastic. I could enjoy the victory in the last meters; such a perfect race.”
Last shooting, “tried to stay cool”
Regarding the final standing stage where she picked up one of her two penalties on the day, “It was what makes biathlon so interesting. It is the fight against each other. I tried to stay cool, shoot not as fast as the other girls. I tried to make my own (way), focus on my lane and one penalty. I heard that the others made mistakes too. The last loop I gave everything I could; I made more and more seconds and then could enjoy it.”
Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg, with two penalties finished third, just as in Thursday’s sprint, 17.2 seconds back. “I have worried about this week all year because I usually struggle a bit at altitude, not even in the top ten here. Being sick the week before I was quite nervous about how this would go. So, I am super happy with two third places.”
Elvira’s sister and teammate Hanna, with three penalties finished fourth, 21.5 seconds back. Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, also with three penalties finished fifth, 25.4 seconds back. Czech Republic’s Marketa Davidova, with two penalties finished sixth, 27.6 seconds back.
A few clouds drifted across the sky for today’s pursuits, but it was still a good biathlon day at the Südtirol Arena with -3C on the thermometer and the wind flags flapping side-to-side on the shooting range. Missing at the start was Slovenian speedster Anamarija Lampic, out with illness. Dorothea Wierer led the field out, with Chloe Chevalier and Elvira quickly catching up before the first prone stage. All three cleaned with Wierer slightly faster, retaining the lead out of the stadium, while Olsbu Roeiseland, Hanna and Herrmann-Wick were also clean 11-15 seconds back.
The second trio closed the gap to the three leaders by the second prone stage. Wierer pressed the cadence, cleaning again while her closest pursuers all missed a shot. Chevalier retained second position, but 28 seconds with Hanna, Herrmann-Wick and Olsbu Roeiseland alongside.
Wierer, all alone coming into the first standing stage, missed a shot, while Olsbu Roeiseland cleaned taking the lead by a half-second. Hermann-Wick and Elvira also were perfect. Vittozzi went to 15-for-15, moving to fifth, 11 seconds back, later explaining her renewed focus on the range. “I really wanted to shoot clean today. I was focused on my work and it went well… In the sprint, I lost my concentration and was really mad at myself and did not want to repeat those mistakes again. I worked for all the shots to get the zero.”
Herrmann-Wick pressed the pace into the final standing stage with Wierer and the Norwegian following. The German missed a single shot but left in the lead, later commenting about how she felt. “You have to make your own work and stay on your own lane. All the time you feel a bit who is next to you. I knew I had really fast shooters around me; it was clear I had to do my own job.”
Wierer shooting slowly, missed two as did Olsbu Roeiseland. Vittozzi continued her big comeback with her fourth zero, jumping to second, 7.3 seconds back. Elvira cleaned, leaving third.
The German star stretched her lead, securing the victory, and finishing with her hands high, acknowledging the mostly-German fans in the tribune. Vittozzi crossed second completing her move from 13th at the start, followed by Elvira in third.
Second place in front of her home crowd was filled with meaning for Vittozzi. “It is really special. It was really hard to get back on top if you are 45 seconds back. When I started I felt I was not in my best shape; really tired. I told myself to be focused and managed the race in a good way."
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni