The Norwegian Championships at Ovrebo marked the return of the man who dominated the sport last season, winning the World Cup Total Score and five IBU World Championships titles, Johannes Thingnes Boe. After skipping all of the team camps so far, training at home while helping with a new child, JT did not miss a beat in his summer debut. He shot clean, skiing to a 20:40.5 win for the Gold medal, Second went to IBU Cup star Endre Stroemsheim, with a single penalty, 6.6 seconds back. Johannes Dale also shot clean in third place, 25 seconds back. Fourth and fifth places Sturla Holm Laegreid and Martin Nevland also shot clean.
With Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold out due to illness, the women’s title went to Karoline Offigstad Knotten, who like JT also shot clean to win the National Championship title in 20:23.8 win. Marit Skogan finished in second place, also shooting clean, but 28.8 seconds back. Third went to Jenny Enodd, with two penalties, 40.6 seconds back.
In France at the Alexis Boeuf Stadium at La Feclaz, the French team lined up for their sprints on rain-soaked tracks. Lou Jeanmonnot, who flashed her ski speed in winning the women’s xc race at the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival two weeks unleashed that speed with a furious last loop overcoming a single prone and two standing penalties to win her first National Championship in 20:40.3. Just behind her with single penalties in both prone and standing, new mother Justine Braisaz Bouchet finished second, 5.1 seconds back. Gilonne Guigonnat, with one penalty finished third, 29.4 seconds back. 2023 World Cup Total Score winner Julia Simon, with three penalties finished fourth, 38.5 seconds back.
Emilien Claude, like Jeanmonnot won his first summer senior title, shooting clean to win the men’s sprint in 22:40.9. Emilien Jacquelin missed a standing shot that relegated him to second place, 19,1 seconds back. Third place went to Eric Perrot, who missed twice in prone but cleaned standing, 21.9 seconds back. 2022 World Cup Total Score winner Quentin Fillon Maillet finished fourth, with a single prone penalty, missing the podium by a mere one second.
Jeanmonnot, “We play to win so I am happy”
Sunday’s French pursuits, under sunny and much better conditions did not award championship titles but Jeanmonnot still secured a sprint/pursuit double with a 19-for-20 shooting day. Jeanmonnot commented to Nordic Magazine after her third consecutive victory this month, “There is no point in drawing hasty conclusions. Still, it is good for my confidence; we play to win so I am happy. If I keep this shape until the start of the winter, I will be happy.” Oceane Michelon moved up from sixth in the sprint to take second place, overtaking third place Gilonne Guigonnat in the last loop.
The king of the four-stage competitions, Quentin Fillon Maillet, after a frustrating fourth in Saturday’s sprint, roared back to capture the men’s pursuit with 17-for-20 shooting. Fillon Maillet lined up for the last standing stage with Fabien Claude and prevailed while his young opponent went to the penalty loop. Emilien Jacquelin matched his sprint finish in second place, with four penalties, 15 seconds back, while Claude held on for third place, 1:05 back.
Up in Norway, the men’s pursuit went to a Boe brother, but this time the elder statesman, Tarjei who eked out a 35:47.2 win despite single penalties in the first three stages. The win was maybe a birthday present for his son Aron who celebrated his first birthday on Saturday. Second place went to Vebjoern Soerum, flying around the tracks despite six penalties, finishing 4.1 seconds back. Sprint champion JT Boe matched his older brother with three penalties, in third place, 7.2 seconds back.
Knotten like Jeanmonnot in France claimed a sprint/pursuit double with a single penalty in36:12.4. Marthe Krakstad Johansen with two penalties, finished second, 3.3 seconds back. Eline Grue, also with two penalties, finished third, 1:05.5 back.
Over in Obertilliach, the Austrians conducted their Championships with the Slovenian team also on hand. Lisa Theresa Hauser won the women’s title, with one penalty, in 20:59.4. Slovenian Anamarija Lampic finished second, with three penalties, just 15.4 seconds back.
Felix Leitner who ended his season after the IBU OECH came back to take the men’s sprint title, with one penalty in 24:04.7. Forever young Simon Eder, also with one penalty finished second, 19.8 seconds back. Slovenian Jakov Fak, also with one penalty finished third, 20.9 seconds back.
On Sunday, Lampic won the individual with six penalties, with teammate Lena Repinc second and Hauser falling to fifth.
Photos: IBU/Nordic Focus/Manzoni, Emil Soergaa / Norwegian Biathlon Team