Sweden Runs Away with Hochfilzen Women’s Relay

Swedish anchor Hanna Oeberg taking the tag with a 1:30 lead, despite four spare rounds and a penalty loop carried her team to a comfortable victory in this afternoon’s Hochfilzen women’s 4 X 6 km relay. Oeberg and her teammates, Linn Persson, Anna Magnusson and Elvira Oeberg, with a single penalty and eight spare rounds finished in 1:13:52.5, Russia, with ten spares finished second, 29.1 seconds back. France, with fourteen spare rounds finished third, 59.2 seconds back.

Header iconHochfilzen Women's Relay

Shooting range woes: “I took a bit too much time”

Oeberg said the slower pace resulted in her shooting woes with numerous spare rounds and penalty. “I think I took a little bit too much time (shooting). I mean I was skiing very controlled because I had a big gap. It was not the normal competition on the shooting range, different with the breathing. I took a bit too much time.”

“Incredible starting position”; happy birthday to dad!

As for the team’s performance. “The other girls gave me an incredible starting position for my leg, and it is thanks to them that we could win this relay… and I would also like to say congratulations to Elvira’s and my father on his birthday today!”

Germany, with one penalty and ten spares, after a strong anchor leg by Franziska Preuss finished fourth, 1:06.5 back. Ukraine, with thirteen spares finished fifth, 1:33 back, while the home team Austria, with just five spare rounds finished sixth, 1:53.7 back.

Light snow; Italy leads

Light snow continued to fall as the twenty-four teams started the women’s relay. Fourteen teams cleaned the first prone stage, with Lisa Vittozzi leading them all within 14 seconds. Vittozzi was fast and perfect in her standing stage to retain the lead. Persson followed closely 4 seconds back with Switzerland’s Irene Cadurisch leaving third.

France in front

Persson quickly skied past the Italian but the two remained just two seconds apart as they came to the first exchange. Persson tagged Magnusson just ahead of Samuella Comola with Poland 12 seconds back in third. France tagged fifth, 37 seconds from the leader. Magnusson was as effective with her five shots as Persson and was quickly away. Comola used a spare, trailing by 13 seconds, with Poland retaining third and Anais Chevalier-Bouchet moving France up to fourth. The leader needed two spares to clean allowing Chevalier-Bouchet with just one to take the lead with Lisa Theresa Hauser going out in second, just a step ahead of the Swede, but 10 seconds back.

Elvira skis to big lead

By the second exchange, Chevalier-Bouchet had a 7.7 second lead when she tagged her sister Chloe. Elvira took over for Sweden in second with Julia Schwaiger taking Austria out in third, followed by surprising Estonia and Switzerland. Elvira was in the top spot when they came to the prone stage, using two spares to clean, extending her lead to 16 seconds over the 5-for-5 Schwaiger who was a dozen seconds in front of Chevalier. Elvira continued to build her lead, skiing powerfully, upping it to 32 seconds by the standing stage. One spare was all she needed to clean standing, pushing the gap out to 53 seconds. Schwaiger also used a spare to leave second while Chevalier needed two to hold third heading to the last exchange.

Elvira’s confidence

Elvira commented on her skiing that broke the competition wide open. “I know my skiing was super good and six kilometers suits me well. I just wanted to go out and do my best and focus on my own race; to go as hard as I could from the start…I feel confident about my skiing and shape and do not have to worry about someone else.”

Chloe, “Hard to follow Elvira”

Chloe Chevalier who battled Elvira knows how tough her rival is. “We all know Elvira is very strong and today I was not in my best shape, so it was hard to follow her. I tried my best but today it was one the shooting range where I was very good…I am happy with the podium. It is good for the team even if I am a little disappointed with my race.”

Hanna… and a finish line bow

Elvira tagged Hanna with a more-than-comfortable 1:30.9 lead over Austrian anchor Christina Rieder, with Russia and France next, three and six second farther back. Hanna cleaned prone with one spare after a split bullet failed to close the target. Braisaz-Bouchet and Reztsova shot together but the Russian was much faster cleaning with five shots. After three spares, France was still in third with Rieder next. Hanna was unpressured coming to the last standing stage, but used all three spares, picking up a penalty loop. Still, she retained first position, with Reztsova after two spares in second, 36 seconds back. Braisaz-Bouchet left third, but Franziska Preuss after a strong leg and a single spare was just four seconds behind her.

Nothing changed in the last loop, with an easy win for Sweden, followed by Russia, France and Germany. Hanna slowed at the finish, taking a bow as she crossed the line.

Tracks hard on Nigmatullina

Russia’s third leg Uliana Nigmatullina admitted to some troubles on the tough Hochfilzen tracks. “The problem is my standing shooting (three spares). The uphill and downhill before the shooting range is quite tough here and I cannot manage this. That is my main problem.”

Photos: IBU/Evgeny Tumashov, Christian Manzoni

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