Julia Simon Victorious in Hochfilzen Pursuit

France’s Julia Simon, taking control of the Hochfilzen women’s 10 km pursuit after cleaning the second prone stage was never topped, skiing to victory in 29:56.7. Simon, who remained perfect in prone so far this season missed just one shot today, in the first standing stage. Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold of Norway jumped from 13th position at the start to second place, recording a single penalty, 19.6 seconds back. Marketa Davidova of Czech Republic, with two penalties finished third, 28.1 seconds back.

Winning in Yellow “incredible!”

Simon, wearing the Yellow Bib for the first time in her career and winning in it bubbled at the finish, “It is amazing! It is incredible! It is something really special to win in the Yellow Bib. It was perfect…crazy! It was so fun to race in the Yellow Bib and I took a lot of pleasure in that.”

Last standing stage, “quite easy”

Regarding her last standing stage battle with Linn Persson. shooting on lane one with the eventual winner on lane two, she added, “She wanted to go, so let her try. It was a really good fight. I felt confident. It was quite easy because I just (stayed) focused about my goal to shoot clean. I thought about that and began the fight. It was a nice shooting. I am very proud of this race.”

Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg, with three penalties, finished fourth, 34.4 seconds back. Germany’s Denise Herrmann-Wick, also with three penalties finished fifth, 42.7 seconds back while Elvira’s teammate Linn Persson, with two penalties, finished sixth, 46 seconds back.

Header iconBMW IBU World Cup 2 Hochfilzen Women's Pursuit

Herrmann-Wick Leads Early

The women had very different conditions than in Thursday’s sprint, with low hanging clouds dropping light snow, the air just at freezing and the wind flags flapping periodically to complicate shooting. Herrmann-Wick skied aggressively on the first loop into the first prone stage which she cleaned before anyone else fired a shot. Simon and Davidova matched but were 19 seconds back with Elvira also clean but 30 seconds behind the leader. The next six women all cleaned but were another 20+ seconds back.

Tandrevold’s Chasing Strategy

The German star picked up one penalty in the second prone, opening the door for Simon and Davidova, both of whom cleaned quickly to go into the top spots in that order, 9.1 seconds ahead of Herrmann-Wick. Elvira also had a penalty retaining fourth but now with Persson and Tandrevold in a pack of four women just seconds behind her.

Tandrevold explained her strategy. “I just tried to have fun in the course and be calm in the shootings. I was not at my best in the sprint and today in zeroing my head was somewhere else…it was terrible but I managed to concentrate in the race.”

Simon in Yellow and Red led the loop into the first standing, with Davidova on her shoulder every step of the way, while the sprint winner lost several more seconds to the leading duo. Simon missed her last shot while her Czech rival missed twice.

Yellow Bib Stress

Simon admitted that wearing the Yellow Bib did take a small toll on her. “I felt really nervous at the beginning of the race, but it was a good stress. I wanted to go and push as hard as I could, but knew I had to focus on myself and stay calm.”

Last Standing Showdown

Persson took advantage with her third clean stage to move into second position, just 2 seconds behind Simon with Herrmann-Wick holding third 17.9 seconds back. The showdown for the win came in the last standing stage. Persson got the initial edge, shooting on lane one but had a penalty while Simon on lane 2 shot very fast and clean, going back into the undisputed lead. Davidova after entering in fifth position, cleaned to go out second with Tandrevold, also perfect next, 26 and 28 seconds back respectively. Davidova admitted that Tandrevold was better. “She was better (on the last loop). I did not have the power to fight with her.”

Simon’s almost perfect day sealed her second consecutive pursuit win of the season.

Last Loop Plan “in the garbage”

Tandrevold quickly left Davidova behind as they started the last loop to secure second with her Czech rival finishing third. Initially, Tandrevold did not expect to take the lead so quickly. “My plan was to stay behind and wait for the finish sprint, but I had to put that plan in the garbage because my head wanted something else. I knew I was fighting for the podium but also knew Denise was behind, so I did not want to wait, because she is a really good finisher. When I heard I had some meters on Marketa, I got some extra power!”

Even in third place, Davidova was pleased. “This is my best pursuit result, so I think it is really good for me.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Jasmine Walter

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