Comeback Women’s Relay win for Norway

Norway came back from 17th position at the first exchange, 11th at the second exchange, 1:19 back with Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold anchoring her team to a 1:12:54.1 victory in this afternoon’s Antholz women’s 4 X 6 km relay. Tandrevold and teammates Karolin Knotten, Tiril Eckhoff and Ida Lien had a penalty and ten spare rounds in their first relay podium and win of the season. Russia, with three penalties and twelve spares finished second, 24.6 seconds back. French anchor Anais Bescond outsprinted Italy’s Federica Sanfilippo in the final meters to take third place in a photo-finish, with both at 32.6 seconds back.

Header iconBMW IBU World Cup Antholz Women's Relay 22

Praise for Ida Lien

Tandrevold praised her teammate Lien who put Norway and anchor Tandrevold in a position to win. “It was incredible. It was my first time in the last leg for this year. I was not so nervous, because we were a bit behind but then Ida did the most amazing leg of the day. And then I really felt it in my stomach.”

“A big win for us”

The win was a big step for the Norwegian women. “I think it is really important. We had some bad relays this year. To know that we can be up there on even on the top of the podium is a big win for us. We did not even have the World Cup leader (Marte Olsbu Roeiseland) in the team, so it was a very good day.”

France, fourth place Italy and fifth place USA all used thirteen spare rounds. The USA with their best result in recent memory finished 50.1 seconds back. Czech Republic, with the best shooting of the day, using eight spares finished sixth, 59.8 seconds back.

Sweden and Belarus

A small women’s relay field of twenty-one teams set out under dark thick clouds with some light snow falling, and the same gusty, changeable wind conditions on the shooting range. Mona Brorsson after her career-first podium yesterday led the field into the prone stage, cleaned in five shots and left with the also perfect Alimbekava on her shoulder. Both used spares in standing, but left together with Alimbekava a step ahead, followed by Lisa Vittozzi.

Russia in Front

At the first exchange, Alimbekava tagged Iryna Leshchanka two seconds ahead of Ingela Andersson, with Wierer taking Italy out in third, 7.5 seconds back. The three came to prone together; the Belarusian cleaned in five shots and was gone while Sweden went to the penalty loop and Wierer needed all three spares to clean. Poland, Canada, Switzerland and Czech Republic capitalized on this going out just over 20 seconds back in that order. Positions flipped after standing, with Kristina Reztsova and Canada’s Sarah Beaudry both 5-for-5, going out 1-2, but nine seconds apart.

Reztsova meltdown

Once in the lead, the Russian was super-aggressive tagging Kazakevich with a 24.5-second gap to Poland and Italy’s Samuela Comola. Despite one spare round, the Russian team’s lead grew to 29 seconds after the prone stage, with Poland and Italy hanging on in second and third, while Paula Botet brough France into fourth, but 40 seconds from the lead. The clock showed a 40+-second lead as Kazakevich set up for her standing stage. Battered by the wind, she melted, ending up with three penalties, and opening the door for a change in the standings. Comola and Davidova added two spares but left 1-2, with Ida Lien bringing Norway from 16th before shooting to third position, 17 seconds back.

Reztsova knew shooting was going to be the key for everyone. “The competition was interesting and unexpected. Early in the morning I said everything is going to depend on the shooting. I was hoping shooting would be in favor of our side, but it did not work a little bit…When I came to standing, I just tried to do my best and use not that many spare rounds because I knew everything was possible and no one was going without mistakes today…After that, I went on the tracks and tried to bring as much gap as possible.”

Charvátová Crashes

None of the top three was able to break away before the last exchange with Lien getting a slight edge as she tagged Tandrevold just ahead of Lucie Charvátová and Federica Sanfilippo. Charvátová and Tandrevold dueled shot-for-shot in prone, both perfect and heading out together for the next 2 km. Bescond brough France into third position, with Sanfilippo and Russia next. The Norwegian gained 29 seconds after Charvátová unfortunately crashed before the standing stage. That left the Charvátová dealing with snow in her rifle sights, dooming her podium chances. Tandrevold used a spare round to seal the win, while Bescond and Nigmatullina did the same leaving 38 and 41 seconds back.

Bescond Sprints to Third

Tandrevold was gone, skiing home with the unexpected win. The Russian got a head of Anais Bescond just before halfway around the loop, seizing second. Bescond had to outsprint Sanfilippo in the final meters to secure third place for France.

Botet’s shaking legs

Paula Botet, in her first World cup relay was pretty happy with the result despite some stress. “I was so happy to compete with the French team today. I was happy at the start and now am more than happy. It was really stressful. On standing shooting, my legs were shaking; it was horrible. On the last lap I gave everything I had, because I was quite angry about my last shooting.”

Photos: IBU/Thibaut

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