Maddie Phaneuf (U.S. Biathlon “A” Team) made her IBU Cup debut for the season this weekend in Martell, Italy, and showed she meant business with a pair of top-12 finishes.
In Friday’s 7.5 k sprint, Phaneuf was 39th (+3:00.4) with three penalties. But she improved her shooting for the weekend, scoring 12th in Saturday’s sprint (+59.6) with clean shooting, and then moving up to 10th (+2:06.0) in Sunday’s 10 k pursuit with a single missed shot.
That earned Phaneuf a call-up for next weekend’s World Cup races in Ruhpolding, Germany. The U.S. has fielded a three-woman World Cup team all season, and besides competing in a sprint with the possibility of a pursuit, Phaneuf will also join Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, and Joanne Reid for a relay.
“I’m excited to race the relay in Ruhpolding, the atmosphere there is amazing…so many people!” Phaneuf wrote on her blog. “I’m hoping to keep up the great shooting, and hopefully start skiing faster through the coming weeks. I’ve found that it usually takes me a few races to really get my ski speed up, so I’m not too worried.”
Friday’s sprint was won by Austria’s Fabienne Hartweger, who shot clean to take the first victory of her career. Also in Friday’s sprint, Siena Ellingson (Loppet Nordic Racing) and Emily Dreissigacker (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) finished 56th (+4:20.9) and 59th (+4:26.6) with three and four penalties, respectively. Hallie Grossman, also from the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, finished 68th (+5:32.1) with six penalties. The lone Canadian to start, Leilani Tam Von Burg, finished 58th (+4:25.6) with four missed shots.
In the men’s 10 k sprint on Friday, another first-time winner emerged: Andreas Dahloe Waernes of Norway, who had two penalties but held off Austria’s Nikolaus Leitinger by 9.6 seconds. Max Durtschi (U.S. Biathlon “X” Team) led the way for the United States in 41st (+2:29.0) with four penalties. Paul Schommer (+2:57.5) and Jakob Ellingson (+3:04.1) went 54-55 with five and four missed shots, respectively, and Alex Howe finished 78th (+4:12.5) with six missed shots. For Canada Carsen Campell led the way in 56th (+3:04.6) with five penalties. Pearce Hanna finished 74th (+4:00.3) with six missed shots.
In Saturday’s 7.5 k sprint, a new winner took the podium with Julia Simon of France shooting just one penalty. Dreissigacker again made the top 60, and again had four penalties. She finished 56th (+4:04.3) to qualify for the next day’s pursuit along with Phaneuf. Not making the cut were Grossman in 63rd (+4:31.7) with seven penalties, and Ellingson in 83rd (+6:49.4) with eight penalties. Erin Yungblut of Canada, starting for the first time of the series, had just two missed shots but still finished 64th (+4:38.4). Tam Von Burg accrued five penalties and also missed the pursuit, finishing 78th (+5:59.3).
Not the start to 2017 I'd planned.. Was psyched to get racing today in Martell, but was struck hard by terrible food poisoning 36hrs ago. Haven't been able to keep food/water down since.. Not ideal for racing, that's for sure! Fingers crossed I can get some calories in today and tomorrow and get on course this weekend instead. Frustrated and angry after starting last tour with a virus, but what can you do. #playthecardsyouredealt #alliwanttodoisrace #tourlifestruggles #electrolytesandbreadfordayz
In the second men’s 10 k sprint, former Junior World Champion Alexander Loginov of Russia collected a 44.2-second win over Norway’s Martin Femsteinvik, who shot clean. Loginov is coming back from a suspension for using the blood-doping drug EPO. Schommer missed six shots but still managed a 42nd-place finish (+3:20.4). Ellingson had two penalties to finish 47th (+3:29.6), also qualifying for the pursuit. Howe was 77th (+5:15.8) with five penalties. Durtschi did not start. Canada put Campbell in the pursuit: he had four penalties to finish 49th (+3:36.7). His teammate, Hanna, did not finish.
Come pursuit day, the Russians swept the top four places. Virolainen dusted Simon by 55.7 seconds despite both having three penalties. In between them were Irina Starykh – also recently returned from a doping ban and skiing up from seventh place thanks to just one penalty – then Victoria Slivko and Svetlana Mironova. Starykh and Phaneuf were the only two finishers to limit their shooting errors to a single miss. And of the two Americans in the race, Phaneuf wasn’t alone to move up with good shooting. Dreissigacker had four penalties and skied up 11 places to 45th (+8:10.9).
The men’s 12.5 k pursuit was dominated by Loginov, who missed four shots but thanks to the third-fastest course time skied to a 53.4-second win over Emilien Jaquelin of France. Schommer had six penalties but still moved up 14 places in the field, finishing 28th (+5:12.2). He was followed by Campbell in 31st (+5:23.2) with three penalties. Ellingson missed seven shots and finished 46th (+7:18.5).