“If I shoot clean…”
Olsbu Roeiseland knew that a lot was riding on her five standing shots, victory with a potential celebration if all the five targets closed in five shots, thinking, “If I shoot clean now, I am going to do it. That was my big motivation!”
“Today we were the best”
Norway’s win was only their second of the season and a huge comeback after finishing sixth at the IBU World Championships. “It was really important. We know that we are good enough to fight for the podium but the relay is not so easy sometimes. We have struggled a lot this season with the relay but today we were the best. I am so happy for the team.”
Italy, also with seven spares finished fourth, 49 seconds back. Sweden, with ten spares finished fifth, 1:10.9 back. Austria with the best shooting of the day, a mere three spare rounds finished sixth, 1:53.8 back.
France by virtue of finishing in front of Germany won the World Cup Women’s Relay Score with 345 points to 325 for Norway in second place. The French women last won the Relay Score in 2012. Chloe Chevalier called winning the globe, “very great for our team. Last year was so close but no. We were very focused on this and very happy to have it…We did not think too much about it before the start, just do a good race; win, maybe and the globe.”
Partly cloudy skies, -2C and light winds set the stage for the fifteen women’s teams in the final relay of the season. First leg Rebecca Passler’s five fast standing shots put IBU World Champion Italy in the lead with France’s Lou Jeanmonnot after using a spare round second 3.5 seconds back. By the first exchange, the Jeanmonnot was well in front of the field, tagging Chloe Chevalier almost ten seconds before Dorothea Wierer took over for Italy. In prone, Chevalier needed a spare to clean while Wierer closed the gap to 1.4 seconds with five perfect shots. Wierer needed two spares to clean standing, but Germany’s Hanna Kebinger closed her five targets with five shots, getting away six seconds ahead of the Italian.
Norwegian second leg Lien who tagged Tandrevold just 9.5 seconds back admitted, “It was quite exciting. I was very nervous before my leg. Everyone was starting so fast and I needed to keep up with them, did a good first shooting and only one spare in standing so I am quite happy with my performance.”
Wierer and the young German battled into the second exchange. Kebinger was quite pleased with her leg, revealing, “I am quite satisfied. It was my first time to shoot two times zero this season and I also had a good shooting time. I tried to not give up (on the tracks) and tried to stay behind Dorothea. It is important for me to see that I have the same running speed (as Wierer).” She tagged Vanessa Voigt .4 seconds before Wierer tagged Samuela Comola, with France’s Caroline Colombo another six seconds farther back aa Tandrevold moved into the lead group. Tandrevold and Voigt cleaned prone simultaneously with Colombo matching five seconds slower. The three leading teams battled side-by-side into the standing stage. Voigt and Tandrevold again dueled shot-for-shot, heading to the last exchange in a dead heat.
Tactics and Shooting Seal Win
The final exchange set up a potential battle royale: Olsbu Roeiseland in front with Herrmann-Wick chasing from two seconds back. Chevalier-Bouchet left in third, 18 seconds off the pace. The German quickly moved into the lead, controlling the tempo but the Norwegian with an obviously well-planned tactic, moved up to shoot prone on lane one. Olsbu Roeiseland used a spare to clean; her German rival struggled using all three spares, falling three seconds behind Chevalier-Bouchet. Five fast shots for Olsbu Roeiseland in standing and it was all over; the win going to Norway. Chevalier-Bouchet also went 5-for-5, sealing second. Herrmann-Wick needed two additional extra shots to solidify third place for Germany.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Per Danielsson