“It was the topping of everything”
The emotion-filled Herrmann-Wick was overjoyed as well as relieved with the picture-perfect ending to her sprint career. “I have no words. It is like a dream. I was a bit nervous the whole week just thinking (about the globe). I was actually really nervous but super happy that I could focus for this race. It was emotional before; I had a really hard heartbeat in the start area. I knew it was the last race, but when the race was starting, I found the focus and also on the shooting range. I did what I could. My goal was to do the best competition I could today. I did it and I am super happy. I started as a sprinter in cross-country and ended up also as a sprinter in this. It makes me really proud. I love Holmenkollen. I like skiing here. It was the topping of everything today!”
The Sprint Score Globe culminated Herrmann-Wick’s season but also was symbolic of how she wanted to finish her career, going out on top. “It is a sign of the whole season; sprints went really well, also the World Champs in Oberhof with the Gold medal. Yet to be one of the best athletes in the world until the end (of my career). I think it is a really good thing for me. It was my main goal: when I stopped, I would stop on the top.”
Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg also shot clean, finishing second, 3.5 seconds back. After a nail-biting battle, Oeberg’s teammate Anna Magnusson also perfect on the range finished with her second career podium in third place, 33.1 seconds back, just .3 seconds in front of fourth place clean-shooting Chloe Chevalier of France. Her teammate Yellow Bib Julia Simon, with one penalty, finished fifth, 39.3 seconds back. Tereza Vobornikova of Czech Republic, also shooting clean finished in a personal best sixth place, 42.7 seconds back.
Beyond the Sprint Score to Herrmann-Wick, the French team added three discipline globes to their collection. The women’s team received the World Cup Relay Score and prestigious World Cup Women’s Nations Cup globes, and also picking up the World Cup Mixed Relay Score Globe, their first-ever in that category.
After yesterday’s cancellation due to fog, the last women’s sprint of the season started under completely opposite conditions: bright late winter sunshine, warm +6C and the same virtually windless shooting conditions the men had a few hours earlier. The World Sprint Score was on the line with Herrmann-wick holding a small lead over Dorothea Wierer. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Hanna and Herrmann-Wick all cleaned the prone stage, setting up a battle for the podium. Herrmann-Wick was probably the fastest as she wasted some time with a hand reload to fire her last shot. Wierer picked up a penalty, putting her at a disadvantage that she never recovered from. With three of her biggest rivals already clean, Simon matched them, going out with a slim .5 second lead on the field. The Norwegian came first to standing, missing twice, falling from the top group. Hanna was next, cleaning easily. Herrmann-Wick responded with her second prefect stage, leaving 6 seconds faster than her Swedish rival.
Hanna’s “good plan”
Hanna admitted that the ever-changing weather created challenging conditions, but she was able to manage them with a good strategy. “It was really tough conditions out there today with the new snow that came yesterday and the warm weather today. It was a hard fight on the track, I managed to have a good plan how to ski, to not go too hard in the first part and have energy for the second part.”
Simon missed once, falling 36 seconds back, just a few seconds short of slipping onto the podium, with Vobornikova in third position, 30 seconds back. Magnusson was perfect in prone but got in the podium mix only after closing her tenth target, taking a sixteen second advantage over Simon into the last 2.5 km loop. It was not over because Chevalier cleaned three seconds faster than Magnusson, taking over third position going into that last loop.
Herrmann-Wick was the “old Denise” on the last loop, skiing powerfully while maintaining her gap on Hanna. She slowed a bit on the loop behind the shooting range, but held on for victory in the final sprint of her career, sealing the World Cup Sprint Score title.
With 500 meters to go, Simon was just 2.7 seconds from the podium; flying around the shooting range loop, she sprinted down the finish stretch, moving into third. Yet, her spot was not secure, Magnusson crossed six seconds ahead of the Yellow Bib, taking third for the moment. Chevalier sprinted hard down the final stretch but fell .3 seconds short of Magnusson who held on for third place, dropping Simon to fifth.
Watching Chevalier made Magnusson, “a little bit nervous, but I was so happy with my own performance. It was important and very fun to take third place…I was happy to show that when I put everything together, I am really good. It was important for me to show myself that it (the win in Annecy) was not just one time on the podium, because now I did it again.”
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Igor Stančík