Kirkeeide was 11th after the first shooting, moved to fifth position after both prone stages, took the lead after the first standing shooting, and never looked back, winning in 23:59.8. Her teammate Frida Dokken, with one miss, finished second, 24 seconds behind. Fany Bertrand of France, also with one miss, finished third, 31.4 seconds behind Kirkeeide.
“I felt tired after the qualification round. I focused on my shooting and took advantage of the others in the first standing stage. It feels really good to be on top of the podium again”, said Kirkeeide, also the fastest skier of the competition.
Anna Juppe of Austria, with four misses, finished fourth, 56.9 seconds behind the Norwegian. Felicia Lindqvist and Ella Halvarsson, both of Sweden, both shot 19/20 and completed the flower podium. Lindqvist was 59.9 seconds behind KIrkeeide and Halvarsson 1:03.4.
After today’s win, Kirkeeide is the new IBU Cup Total Score leader, with 366 points, 14 ahead of Gilonne Guigonnat of France.
Eric Perrot, shooting 17/20 and skiing the fastest men’s time of the day, showed remarkable fighting nature as he chased down 8.7 seconds advantage that Mats Oeverby of Norway had over him before the final lap. He won in 20:45.6. Oeverby, who fell on the sharp turn not far from the stadium, shot 19/20 for second place, 10.1 seconds behind Perrot. His teammate Martin Uldal shot 16/20 and finished third, 11.1 seconds behind the French winner.
“Winning this competition means a lot to me. It was my first-ever win in the IBU Cup, plus I fought well in the final lap. I am sorry for Mats. It is never nice falling into the competition. I knew I had to attack the climb and edge in front of him before the last 200 meters as he is a super powerful finisher,” said Perrot.
Isak Frey of Norway, competing in his first-ever IBU Cup, finished fourth, 14.8 seconds behind Perrot and 1.8 seconds ahead of his teammate Aleksander Fjeld Andersen. Wojciech Skorusa of Poland finished sixth, his personal best, 16.8 seconds behind Perrot.
Photo: IBU/ I. Stančik