Olsbu Roeiseland, with her first win since last December in Hochfilzen, described the last part of the competition. “It was just crazy. On my way into the last standing, there were how many people, was it seven that could win? Just a tough competition. I just had to focus on what I could do, just shut off my brain and just closed them. I think that was a good plan.”
Hauser shot clean but finished fourth, 7.9 seconds back. Germany’s Franziska Preuss, with two penalties, finished fifth, 18.8 seconds back while Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg with three penalties, finished sixth, 22.2 seconds back. Yellow Bib in front
The first pursuit of the season got away under slightly better conditions than Thursday’s sprints with the temperature at -7C. very light snow falling and a very light breeze on the range. Hauser wearing Yellow for the first time in her career led as well as starting first in a pursuit for the first time ever, led the pack through the first 2 km loop, with Elvira and Sola about 5 seconds back. Hauser cleaned the first prone while both of her rivals went to the penalty loop. Chevalier-Bouchet matched to leave second but 18 seconds back while Elvira was 25 seconds farther back in third, and Olsbu Roeiseland back at 35 seconds. By the 2.8 km split, the two chasers had closed the gap to 10 seconds.
By the second prone stage, Elvira and Chevalier-Bouchet were side-by-side with the leader. Hauser cleaned slowly but first, with her rivals matching and closing the gap a couple of seconds back. Olsbu Roeiseland after a strong second loop did the same, moving up to 20 seconds out of the lead along with Hanna, after also cleaning on her shoulder in fifth.
Elvira flew out of the stadium after the second prone stage, taking the lead with Chevalier-Bouchet behind her, leaving Hauser, 13.3 seconds back at the 4.8 km split. The leader continued to pull away, piling up a 12.8 second lead by the first standing stage. She missed twice and Chevalier-Bouchet once while Hauser cleaned to move back into the top spot with a 19 second lead over the Chevalier-Bouchet and Olsbu Roeiseland, Hanna, and Bescond at 25 seconds back.
Hauser continued to lead but Elvira moved up to third. By the time they entered the stadium for the last standing stage, the Norwegian and Bescond were on Hauser’s shoulder, with Hanna and ‘Elvira just behind. The last standing stage would be decisive, with a half dozen women in contention. Hauser as well as Olsbu Roeiseland and Chevalier-Bouchet cleaned simultaneously, heading out for the last loop with Bescond 6 seconds back.
With 1200 meters to go, the Norwegian was in control with 6 seconds on Chevalier-Bouchet and Bescond next. Olsbu Roeiseland blasted down the final hill easily taking the win. Bescond, with her first podium in almost two years, held on for second with Chevalier-Bouchet, edging Hauser for the last spot on the podium.
Bescond: “Ooh La! La! This is going to be tough”
The 34-year-old Bescond was probably as happy as anyone on the podium in recent memory. “I am really glad today; it has been a long time ago the last time I was on the podium. I am really proud of my shooting also; it was really good work. I think I probably I lost time on the range although it was my goal not to lose time. 20/20 is really good work…I really like the ski track, even if the like the 3K, but the 2K is okay…the first loop was really tough for me. I was thinking, ‘Ooh La! La! It will be tough’ But then it went better and better, so I am really really happy with this result today.”
Chevalier-Bouchet moved from sixth to third today for her second podium of the season. “I am happy with the week here and happy to do the shooting that I wanted. It was a really good race for me.” As for the last standing stage and the podium fight, she added, “There were six fighting for the gold medal. I think it was the first time I could battle on the last loop for the win. I just had to shoot fast and clean; I did that and well. I have no regrets.” Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni