Haecki-Gross's second win of the season

Lena Haecki-Gross emerged victorious in the thrilling Oslo Holmenkollen Women's 12.5 km Mass Start. The race's dynamics were notably shaped by the challenging wind conditions, leading to frequent changes in the lead position with each passing lap. Demonstrating remarkable composure, the Swiss athlete maintained her focus throughout the latter half of the event, securing a well-deserved win with a significant lead over France's Julia Simon and Lou Jeanmonnot.

The first Saturday competition at Holmenkollen stadium was a rollercoaster, as the lead shifted dramatically among contenders. Mona Brorsson took an early lead after the first shooting, Amy Baserga was the race leader after the second shooting, and Sophie Chauveau was first after the third shooting. Ultimately, none of these three competitors found themselves at the flower ceremony, which shows how wild and unpredictable the race was. All thirty biathletes accumulated a staggering total of 132 penalty rounds throughout the race.

Amidst the chaos, Lena Haecki-Gross stood out. Despite missing twice during the prone shooting, the Swiss athlete's impeccable performance during the standing shooting propelled her to the forefront of the competition. Before the final lap, a 28-year-old had established a commanding lead of almost twenty seconds over her rivals, confidently steering towards her second victory of the season.

"Yesterday I had a crash and felt really terrible. I didn’t sleep very well last night, but I thought today was a new day", said Haecki-Gross, who was only 36th at Friday's 15 km competition.

"During the final shooting, I heard that Simon had a miss. I tried to focus on shooting my targets, but it was not so easy because of the wind. After the shooting, I had to check once again to see if it was really a zero. The last round was hard because I knew that Simon was behind my back. It is such a great feeling to win here".

So far, Haecki-Gross's best mass start result was third place in Antholz in January this year.

Julia Simon secured second place, trailing 17 seconds behind the winner. The four-time world champion from Nove Mesto encountered a penalty round after each of the four shots. Following closely behind, Lisa Vittozzi, Ingrid Tandrevold, and Lou Jeanmonnot engaged in a fierce battle for the third spot. The Frenchwoman retained the most strength, narrowly overtaking the Norwegian and the Italian. These results mean that Tandrevold will head to Soldier Hollow as the World Cup leader, boasting a 93-point lead over Vittozzi and a 97-point lead over Simon. Meanwhile, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, who finished eleventh in today's race, has slipped to fourth place in the overall standings.


Tereza Vobornikova deserves a mention, as she was the best shooter of the day. Despite the challenging wind conditions, the 23-year-old hit 19 out of 20 shots, securing an eighth-place finish and marking fifth top 10 result in her career - three of them were achieved on the Holmekollen hill.

Photos: IBU/Dmytro Yevenko

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