“Power in the last lap”
Vittozzi who also won the Ruhpolding 15 km individual last January was elated with today’s nail-biting win. “It feels really nice. Also last year, I won here and today I had the power in the last lap and knew I could do it. I went for it so I am really proud and happy. It is unbelievable!”
“It was my day”
Regarding that last loop battle, she added, “It was so close. I tried to keep in my head, ‘okay I have to go on the finish line and do my best.’ I never lost a sprint so now today was my day.”
Tandrevold after leading until the last standing stage, finished second, .7 seconds back. Despite not winning, Tandrevold vaulted into the Yellow Bib with 666 points to former leader Justine Braisaz-Bouchet’s 657 points, while Vittozzi moved into third in the season-long competition.
Tandrevold’s teammate Juni Arnekleiv shot clean, equaling her personal best result in third place, 9.1 seconds back. France’s Lou Jeanmonnot, with two penalties finished fourth, 31.1 seconds back. Switzerland’s Lena Haecki-Gross and Germany’s Franziska Preuss, finished fifth and sixth, 43.2 and 44.5 seconds back, respectively, each with two penalties.
The wind flags fluttered ever so lightly today, previewing good shooting conditions on this final sunny afternoon of competitions in Ruhpolding. Tandrevold led the field into the first prone, cleaned, and was gone before any of her rivals fired a shot. It looked like the Norwegian would run away with the win as Preuss and Arnekleiv both shooting clean trailed by 38 seconds. The second prone was a carbon copy: clean shooting for the top three, Tandrevold 30 seconds up.
Coming to the first standing, the top three had not missed a shot. Tandrevold cracked with a single penalty, cutting her lead to five seconds over her two closest chasers, both closing all five standing targets.
Tandrevold seemed to struggle coming into the last standing stage with Vittozzi and Arnekleiv moving onto her shoulder. All cleaned quickly with Vittozzi gaining a step off the mat.
The 28-year-old Italian skied much of the last loop confidently in front. Tandrevold got on her ski tails entering the last 100 meters, but Vittozzi found some extra power in the home stretch, sprinting to victory.
Photos: IBU/ Jaroslav Svoboda, Nordic Focus