Jeanmonnot and Bjoentegaard win Ridnaun sprints

Lou Jeanmonnot of France and Erlend Bjoentegaard of Norway won the IBU Cup sprints in Ridnaun-Val Ridanna. Jeanmonnot, shooting a perfect 10/10, won in the women's 7.5 km sprint in 20:32.4, extending her lead in the IBU Cup Total Score. Sweden's Elisabeth Hoegberg with one penalty, finished second, 15.5 seconds back. Norway's Karoline Erdal also with one penalty finished third, 21.4 seconds back. Bjoentegaard missed once in the standing stage but was fast enough in the last lap to win in 24:33.6. The victory gave the Norwegian the IBU Total Score title. Marco Gross of Germany shot clean in second place, 11 seconds back. His teammate Philipp Horn, the fastest skier of the day, with three penalties finished third, 15.4 seconds back.

Jeanmonnot composed throughout the competition

On a very significant day for the Total Score leader Jeanmonnot and her closest chase Ragnhild Femsteinevik, the Frenchwoman proved to be the athlete with better nerves. Femsteinevik started with the bib 12 and closed all five targets. Jeanmonnot did the same, sharing the lead after prone with her teammate Camille Bened. Femsteinevik was 8.5 seconds behind, with Sweden’s Elisabeth Hoegberg and Ingela Andersson also ahead of the Norwegian.

Ragnhild had moments of doubt in her last two shots of the day as she missed both and had to ski two penalty loops. Hoegberg missed once, as did Karol Erdal, eighth after the prone shooting, giving Jeanmonnot leeway to enter the shooting range with relative calm and shoot 10/10 for her first-ever IBU Cup individual win. Jeanmonnot had the 40th on the shooting range but was third fastest skier of the day, behind Bened and teammate French woman Caroline Colombo. Jeanmonnot’s lead over Femsteinevik in the Total Score increased to 31 before Friday’s pursuit.

“I felt good on the range. I knew I needed to shoot a bit slower than usual as I felt the tiredness of a long season. I think I skied too fast in the first lap, and then in the last lap, I thought the finish line would never show up. It is a win, but with so many girls missing, it doesn’t feel as big as it should,” said the winner Jeanmonnot.

Sprint Cup score to Caroline Colombo

Caroline Colombo had three penalties but skied the second-fastest time to finish sixth and capture the IBU Sprint Score title.

Sprint, Total Score and Sprint Cup Score win in one day for Bjoentegaard

Erlend Bjoentegaard, staring with the late bib 76, closed all five targets in the prone to put him in a strong position before the men's sprint was decided in the standing shooting and the last lap. Bjoentegaard was lagging Gross by 23.1 seconds before the last lap. He kept his cool as he got the information from his coaching team that Gross had a solid but not fast final lap. Bjoentegaard came out on top, winning 11.0 seconds ahead of Gross and 15.4 seconds ahead of Horn, who missed three times but was 26.3 seconds faster than the rest.

The win brought Bjoentegaard the IBU Cup Total Score title and the IBU Cup Sprint Score title.

"The last days were not easy as I knew I had a real shot at winning the Total Score title, a goal for the season. I didn't panic after the miss in the standing as the coaches told me that Gross wasn't particularly fast in the final lap," said Bjoentegaard, who also has three podiums in the BMW IBU World Cup to his name.

Photo: IBU/Harald Deubert

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