Repeat Sprint Win for Hanna Oeberg

Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg shot clean this morning, storming around the last loop to win the Oestersund women’s 7.5 km sprint in 19:01.5, giving local Oestersund fans plenty to cheer about. Today’s victory in her home stadium was a repeat performance of the season-opening sprint last year in Kontiolahti, where she also shot clean for her first-ever sprint win. Anais Chevalier-Bouchet of France also shot clean in second place, 11.3 seconds back. Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, with one penalty, finished third, 15.4 seconds back.

Header iconOestersund Women's Sprint 1

Bouncing back

Oeberg bounced back for the win today after a seven-penalty 74th place yesterday. “I am really happy with the win today. Before yesterday’s competition, I was a bit unsure about my physical shape but I got to see that the skiing worked well. It is not a big catastrophe but I am a bit behind my little sister in skiing, so It meant a lot to me to see the skiing time was good. I know I can shoot; I know I am a good shooter. I was not that upset about the shooting yesterday. Today, I just tried to relax and do what I normally do. But yesterday did bring me more extra motivation for a good performance today.”

Hometown Fans

She truly appreciated the cheering of her hometown fans and winning again in her home stadium. “It was so good. I am happy that I had the support from the crowd. I am really happy that I could bring them some good shooting and now a win!”

 Belarusians Dzinara Alimbekava and Hanna Sola, with zero and one penalties, finished fourth and fifth, 18 and 27.3 seconds back, respectively. Chevalier-Bouchet’s teammate Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, with one penalty finished sixth, 35.9 seconds back.

Chevalier-Bouchet Leads Early

Oestersund offered up a cold -11C, cloudy day for the first BMW IBU World Cup women’s sprint of the season. Cloudy morning skies brought in a moderate wind crossing the range from right to left that the 116-woman field had to deal with. Chevalier-Bouchet, cleaned the prone stage easily to take the early lead. Several others also cleaned but could not top her. Oeberg, after a disappointing 15 km yesterday then challenged, delighting the crowd with a fast clean stage, that put her just 2.2 seconds from the lead. Starter number 30 Sola took the prone lead from Chevalier-Bouchet, with five perfect shots while just after her Olsbu Roeiseland did the same to move into the number two spot.

Oeberg with Slim Lead

Predictably, the standing stage decided the podium. Chevalier-Bouchet set the bar high closing all five standing targets to remain in the lead for a short time. Oeberg who won the first sprint last season cleaned very fast to leave less than two seconds ahead of Chevalier-Bouchet. Sola picked up a single penalty but still left standing in third position. Olsbu Roeiseland had a chance to take the lead but missed one shot, still getting away in third, 11.8 seconds back with 2.5 km to go. Alimbekava put in her challenge, with a clean prone before; she did the same in standing, leaving three seconds faster than the Norwegian.

Sprinting to Victory

By the 6.3 km split, Oeberg was six seconds ahead of Chevalier-Bouchet. With the Swedish fans cheering her on, Oeberg continued to push hard, sprinting down the finish stretch to grab the win. Sola was steady in the last loop, losing just a couple of seconds to initially move into third, but Olsbu Roeiseland, despite slowing was faster than both Sola and Alimbekava on the last loop, sealing third place.

Chevalier-Bouchet: “Need a bad race to do a better race”

Like the winner Oeberg, Chevalier-Bouchet came back today from a disappointing 15 km where she finished 52nd with five penalties. “I was really disappointed of course with my race yesterday; really mad. I often need a bad race to do a better race. Unfortunately, that is my way to win. I was really angry and (today) just did like I wanted to…I just did my very best. I started fast so the last loop was a bit difficult for me…Hanna was very fast today and yesterday, so it was no surprise to be behind her.”

“Good to be back”

Olsbu Roeiseland was thrilled to feel good and be back on the podium. “I am really satisfied today. I wanted to do a great race today. My ski time was much better than yesterday. I felt much stronger on the tracks; my prone shooting was much better than yesterday. I am so happy; it is good to be back.”

Missing Fun and Fans

She admitted to missing the fun of the sport last season and now has that feeling back, especially with fans in the tribunes. “It was a strange year. I was thinking too much and forgot to enjoy it. This year, I want to enjoy every race and just have fun…I love having the fans back. It was so sad last year with no one cheering us and I think now it is so much fun to race now with the audience.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni

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