The IBU Cup competitions got off to a difficult start in Arber, Germany, as the women’s individual was postponed on Friday due to bad weather. In the end, the men’s and women’s 20 k and 15 k individual competitions were held on Saturday and the mixed relay and single mixed relay scrapped.
— IBU Cup Biathlon (@IBU_CUP) January 13, 2017
Come Sunday, the Russian team was ready, taking four of the six available podium spots. Irina Starykh and Alexander Loginov, both returning from bans for using the blood-doping drug EPO, took the wins.
In the 20 k, Loginov racked up a monster win of 1:12.2 over Italy’s Jeremy Finello, despite four penalties to Finello’s two. It’s unusual for the winner of an individual competition – where each missed shot accrues a minute of penalty time, rather than a 20- to 25-second penalty lap – to have so many penalties. Loginov’s ski time was the fastest of the day by more than a minute over Norway’s Kristoffer Skjelvik, who ultimately finished sixth (+3:04.2) with five penalties. Third place overall went to Michail Kletcherov of Bulgaria (2:08.4) with three penalties.
Paul Schommer of the United States continued his strong IBU Cup showing this season, leading North Americans in 25th place (+5:58.7) with five penalties. For Canada Carsen Campbell led the way in 31st (+6:24.2) with three penalties. Other American finishers were Jake Ellingson in 37th (+6:41.6 with four penalties), Alex Howe in 64th (+9:58.3 with eight penalties), and Max Durtschi in 88th (+14:32.3 with ten penalties). Also for Canada, Matthew Neumann finished 60th (+9:08.3 with six penalties), Matthew Hudek 70th (+11:31.4 with seven penalties), and Aidan Millar 73rd (+11:47.8 with eight penalties).
In the 15 k individual, Starykh bested Russian teammate Daria Virolaynen by just 0.3 seconds; she had one penalty to Virolaynen’s two. Svetlana Sleptsova rounded out an all-Russian podium in third (+2:56.2) with four penalties. The podium finishers had the fourth-, first-, and third-fastest ski times of the day.
Sarah Beaudry finished 28th for Canada (+7:25.8), with just three penalties. Teammate Leilani Tam Von Burg finished 58th (+11:31.0) with seven penalties, and Erin Yungblut 64th (+12:31.6) with five penalties. For the United States, Emily Dreissigacker placed 71st (+13:26.1) with seven penalties, Siena Ellingson 79th (+15:38.5) with five penalties, and Hallie Grossman 86th (+18:30.1) with 14 penalties.
The circuit takes a one-week break before moving to Duszniki Zdroj, Poland, for Open European Championships.