The winner was quite pleased to win this final competition before the IBU World Championships next month. “It feels incredible. I am really happy with this race. Almost perfect shooting, but I took a lot of pleasure in this race, so I am really happy.”
She appreciated the huge crowd that included many French fans. “That was incredible. I think they were also cheering for Lou because her family is here. The French fans were all over the tracks, so I am really happy to win.”
Jeanmonnot shot clean in second place, 8.9 seconds back, finishing on the podium for the second time this week. Single Individual winner Lena Haecki-Gross of Switzerland finished third, with one penalty, 20.7 seconds back.
Germany’s Vanessa Voigt finished fourth, 28.6 seconds back with her third consecutive perfect shooting day, closing all sixty targets in the three Antholz competitions. Karoline Offigstad Knotten of Norway, with two penalties, finished fifth, 46.4 seconds back, while Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi, with one penalty finished sixth, 49.3 seconds back.
The final competition before Nove Mesto featured “Suntholz” at its best: clear and cold, fast tracks, windless and the Südtirol Arena packed with enthusiastic fans. About half-way through the first loop, Simon took control, setting the tone for the afternoon as she led the field into the first prone stage. The eventual winner cleaned, leaving with Haecki-Gross in second, seven seconds back, followed by seventeen clean-shooting pursuers. By the second prone stage, Jeanmonnot was up with Simon, 10 seconds clear of the field. As was the case during the whole competition, Simon shot faster than her teammate, opening up an eight-second lead, with their Swiss rival leading a large pack 15 seconds back.
The first standing stage was Simon’s only weak spot. She missed her first shot, opening the door for Jeanmonnot who carefully closed all five targets, slipping away 4.2 seconds up on Simon. Vittozzi left third, nine seconds back. Haecki-Gross fell back to sixth position, after a penalty loop.
By the final, decisive standing stage, the French teammates were back together. Simon went for the victory: five perfect shots in quick succession shot and was gone, heading to the top of the podium. Jeanmonnot shot deliberately going to 20-for-20, 8.5 seconds back. Haecki-Gross solidified third place with a clean stage, setting the podium.
Photos IBU/Vianney Thibaut, Nordic Focus