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Fak, Dahlmeier Win Mass Starts; Crawford Crashes Out in Khanty Mansiysk

Darya Domracheva of Belarus finished fourth in today's 12.5 k mass start in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, and secured the first World Cup overall title of her career. (Photo: IBU Biathlonworld/Instagram)

Darya Domracheva of Belarus finished fourth in today’s 12.5 k mass start in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, and secured the first World Cup overall title of her career. (Photo: IBU Biathlonworld/Instagram)

The season ended on a high note for Laura Dahlmeier of Germany and Jakov Fak of Slovenia, who won the season-ending 12.5 and 15 k mass start competitions in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.

Fak shot a perfect 20 for 20 and went to the front after the third shooting stage. He skied the loop by himself, then calmly cleaned all his targets to finish up, skiing to an easy 10-second win. That also secured him third place in the overall World Cup standings.

This is a nice way to end the season and win the final event that I won the World Championship in,” Fak said in a press conference.

Tarjei Bø of Norway left the range in second place after the final shooting stage, but was caught on the trails by Russia’s Anton Shipulin. Shipulin left him in the dust once the pair entered the stadium, and skated to second place in front of a home crowd.

I only wish that I could have shot clean,” said Shipulin, who had two penalties and had to ski the fastest time of the day to make it up to second place. “It is always good to do well here at home, but I would have liked to won a race.”

Canada’s Nathan Smith collected four penalties to finish 17th, and Leif Nordgren of the USA picked up three penalties to finish 24th.

In the women’s race, things were marred on just the second loop by a major crash that snared at least a quarter of the field. On a fast downhill corner, one racer lost control and in the mayhem of trying to avoid her, others went down as well. Three racers fared worse than the rest. Weronika Nowakowska-Ziemniak of Poland lost a ski, which was eventually replaced; it cost her at least a minute and she went on to finish 24th.

Veronika Vitkova, a favorite to podium for the Czech Republic, also lost a ski. She began skating up the the trail on one ski, running with her other foot, until she could find a serviceman with a new ski. She returned to the race, but accumulated five penalties and eventually dropped out.

Canada’s Rosanna Crawford had the worst luck, with her ski running straight through the protective fence and becoming stuck. It was a painful way to stop from high speed, and it took help from several people to get her untangled. She did not continue the race.

With those competitors lost in action, the women’s field raced on. Darya Domracheva of Belarus took an early lead, but picked up penalties in the standing stages and dropped out of contention. Instead, Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic left the final stage first, and put a small gap on Dahlmeier. But Soukalova seemed to have used her energy too early, as later in the loop Dahlmeier drew even with her. Coming into the stadium, Dahlmeier put in a finishing sprint and dropped the Czech.

It was the second win of the season for the 21-year-old German, who ends the year ranked eighth in the total score.

I never thought back in August, October or even in February that I would win this race or any other this season,” she said in a press conference. “It has been a wonderful season for our team…Now I am ready for some holidays and no biathlon for 5 or 6 weeks.”

Marie Dorin Habert of France finished a solid third, and Domracheva fourth. That gave her the overall World Cup title, for the first time in her career.

For the United States, Susan Dunklee finished 19th and Hannah Dreisigacker 26th, each with six penalties.

results: men / women

Nathan Smith 5th; Fourcade Wins Last World Cup Sprint in Khanty-Mansiysk

 

Nathan Smith was back in the flower ceremony on Thursday, the first day of the final IBU World Cup stop in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, as the Canadian placed fifth in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint.

Coming off a silver medal at 2015 World Championships in the sprint, Smith had a single prone miss and finished 34 seconds after France’s Martin Fourcade, who shot clean and won in 23:47. Russia’s Anton Shipulin also hit all his targets and finished 13 seconds back in second, and Germany’s Benedikt Doll placed third with one standing penalty, 18.3 seconds behind Fourcade.

Latvia’s Andrejs Rastorgujevs cleaned and missed the podium by three-tenths of a second in fourth.

Smith finished 0.4 seconds ahead of Germany’s Arnd Peiffer, who was sixth, and 1.5 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Fredrik Lindström in seventh.

“I knew if my skiing came back up that a top-10 should be more than possible,” Smith wrote in an email. “I would say I actually exceeded my expectations a little today.  I would’ve been pretty happy with a top-16.”

American Leif Nordgren missed one standing and ended up 21st, 1:14 behind Fourcade, for one of his top-five career bests.

“I’m pretty surprised with this result today, and really happy about it,” Nordgren wrote, adding that he started to come down with an upper-respiratory sickness after World Championships in Finland. “… The last loop I pushed as hard as I could, I was definitely starting to die a little, but about halfway through I got caught by Shipulin and it was nice to have someone to hang on to for the rest of the loop.”

Canada’s Brendan Green placed 30th (+1:23.5) with one standing penalty, and Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke finished 51st (+1:54.2) and 55th (+1:57.3) for the U.S.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth race recap on FasterSkier.com.

Results

France Wins Mixed Relay, Canada Seventh in Final Race of IBU Cup Season

Zina Kocher (r) tags Marc-Andre Bedard in the mixed relay on the last day of the IBU Cup 8 and 2014/2015 IBU Cup season in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Zina Kocher (r) tags Marc-Andre Bedard in the mixed relay on the last day of the IBU Cup 8 and 2014/2015 IBU Cup season in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

(Press release)

CANMORE – Ecstatic over the news of Canada’s first male world championships medal in the history of the sport, Canadian biathletes had extra motivation for the final race of IBU Cup – the mixed relay. Emma Lunder, Zina Kocher, Marc-Andre Bedard, and Macx Davies suited up for Canada, which was considered one of their strongest relay teams to date on the IBU Cup. All four have World Cup experience.

But while the Canadians performed well and finished a respectable seventh, the French, Austrians and Italians surprised the field by all reaching the podium on the final day of competition. The heavily favoured Germans finished fourth, while the Russians, who had reached the podium all week – finished eighth. The upstart Italians wowed the crowd early on by holding onto first place until the final leg, when they were caught by the French and Italians. France won in 1:07.05, 11 seconds ahead of Austria, and 25 seconds ahead of Italy.

Lunder started the relay for only the third time in her career, and shot extremely well to keep Canada in the mix early on. As the last race of a long week, she left it all on the line

“I was really happy with today’s race. The first loop was super relaxed. I was so happy to be starting, because I really enjoy that now,” Lunder said. “On the last lap, last IBU race of the season, I just went for it.

She shot clean on her standing bout, and couldn’t believe it when she caught the favoured Germans on her final lap. She had raced many of the same athletes earlier in the year on the IBU Cup circuit.

“To be skiing with them, and passing them was confidence boosting, for sure.”

Kocher kept the team in the mix, while Bedard and Davies took risks to make up time, however they couldn’t catch the strong skiers in front of them.

Following the race, Biathlon Canada High Performance Director Chris Lindsay said he was happy with Canada’s performance over the week, as they achieved their goal of two medals. The Canadian women won two medals, and had two more top six performances.

“Overall, it was a fantastic week,” Lindsay said. “I think we had a lot of successes, especially on the women’s side… (with the men) we saw some improvement. It was difficult, especially yesterday. The conditions broke down really quickly and unfortunately we weren’t as ready for those changing conditions as we could have been. But it’s true, I would have like to see more performances out of the men.”

Lindsay said the men’s field in Canmore was extremely tough, and he praised Bedard for his string of strong races.

The organizing committee will now debrief the races, and begin preparations for the World Cup races in Canmore in February 2016.

Results

Kocher One Spot Off Podium in Canmore IBU Cup Sprint

Canada's Zina Kocher after placing fourth in Friday's 7.5 sprint on the last day of individual racing at IBU Cup 8 in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Canada’s Zina Kocher after placing fourth in Friday’s 7.5 sprint on the last day of individual racing at IBU Cup 8 in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Coming off silver in the IBU Cup sprint last Sunday, Zina Kocher finished fourth on Friday to lead Canada in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint on the final day of individual IBU Cup racing in Canmore, Alberta.

Hungry for another podium after placing 19th in Wednesday’s 15 k, Kocher missed two shots to finish 15.1 seconds from the podium and 39.3 seconds behind Russia’s Anna Nikulina, who won in 20:09.9. She continued Canada’s streak of having a woman in the top six in every IBU Cup race in Canmore so far this week.

“I’m happy with it,” Kocher told Biathlon Canada. “I wasn’t actually feeling too great [Friday] morning. I had to focus more on believing that I felt really good, being positive and getting back the clarity of shooting. I was frustrated with my performance in the individual. I just didn’t feel as focused and clear in the shooting as I did [last] Sunday.”

Nikulina shot 9-for-10 yet edged Germany’s clean-shooting Karolin Horchler by 9.4 seconds. France’s Marine Bolliet placed third with one penalty, 24.2 seconds back.

Kocher missed one prone and another standing, but explained she was fortunate the wind calmed down for most of her second shooting.

“With my last shot, it started to pick up again. I took too long and ended up missing,” she said. “It’s frustrating because that would have landed me on the podium. It’s not a perfect race, but a lot more perfect than my season has been. It’s good to end it that way.”

After Saturday’s mixed relay, Kocher intends to finish her season at Canadian Biathlon Championships in Hinton, Alberta, according to Biathlon Canada.

Three Canadian women finished in the top 20, with Emma Lunder in 16th (+2:02.3.) with three misses, and Claude Godbout in 19th (+2:18.3) with two penalties. Also for Canada, Erin Yungblut placed 23rd, Leilani Tam Von Burg was 30th, and Sarah Beaudry was 33rd.

Katrina Howe was the top U.S. woman in 26th (+2:59.3) with three misses, and Kelsey Dickinson made the top 30 in 28th (+3:12.4) with two penalties.

After finishing eighth at IBU Junior World Championships, Aidan Millar of Canmore was the leading Canadian man in Friday’s 10 k sprint in 32nd, 2:54.1 behind Germany’s Christoph Stephan, who won in 25:52.1. Stephan cleaned, as did Austria’s David Komatz, who tied Norway’s Vegard Gjermundshaug for second, 38 seconds back. The Norwegian missed two shots en route to silver.

Temperatures were above 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit) by the time the men raced, yet Millar, 19, posted the second-best IBU Cup result of his career with two misses (2+0).

“It was pretty sloppy. Some parts had lots of water underneath, so it was slow, but for the most part it held up pretty good,” Millar told Biathlon Canada. “Ever since world juniors were here in 2009, I’ve always dreamed of racing internationally at home, so it was an amazing experience.”

Also for Canada, Macx Davies finished just behind Millar in 33rd (+3:03.9) with four penalties, Marc-Andre Bedard was 35th, Scott Perras 39th, Matt Neumann 42nd, and Carsen Campbell 45th.

For the U.S., Patrick Johnson placed 41st, Wynn Roberts was 43rd, Ethan Dreissigacker 44th, and Max Durtschi 46th.

In Saturday’s mixed relay, Lunder, Kocher, Bedard, and Davies are slated to start for Canada, and Dickinson, Howe, Johnson, and Roberts will represent the U.S.

Results: Women | Men

Mixed relay start list

Beaudry Sixth, Bedard Eighth in Canmore IBU Cup 15/20 k

Canada's Emma Lunder skis off from the range to place second in the women's 7.5 km sprint at IBU Cup 7 at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Feb. 28. She placed 17th in Wednesday's 15 k individual with six penalties. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Canada’s Emma Lunder skis off from the range to place second in the women’s 7.5 km sprint at IBU Cup 7 at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Feb. 28. She placed 17th in Wednesday’s 15 k individual with six penalties. (Photo: Pam Doyle/pamdoylephoto.com)

Canada just keeps finding its way to the flower ceremony. On Wednesday, the home nation tallied yet another top six in the third IBU Cup race in Canmore, Alberta, with 20-year-old Sarah Beaudry placing sixth in the women’s 15-kilometer individual race.

With 19-for-20 shooting, Beaudry finished 2:23.1 behind Germany’s Karolin Horchler, who won in 44:34.4 with a single penalty as well. For Horchler, it was her third win of the week in Canmore,  and she edged Norway’s Kaia Woeien Nicolaisen by 12.2 seconds for the win. France’s Marine Bolliet placed third, 1:02.2 back.

“It’s definitely one of my best races this year,” Beaudry said in a Biathlon Canada press release. “It’s just awesome to be at home, do well, hit some targets, have some fun in the mountains in the nice sun. I had some rough races at World Juniors. I wanted to put out a solid race and remember what it was like.”

At the IBU Junior World Championships, Beaudry posted a top result of 15th. On Wednesday, she wore a Canadian flag sticker on her cheek and sent good vibes to her father, who was undergoing hip surgery at the time.

“It’s so easy to be relaxed at home,” Beaudry said. “It feels more like another NorAm in a good way. Knowing everyone out here and the volunteers.”

Also in the women’s 15 k, Canada’s Emma Lunder placed 17th with six penalties, Zina Kocher was 19th with seven misses, and Claude Godbout made the top 20 in 20th with four penalties. Erin Yungblut placed 25th and and Melanie Schultz was 32nd for Canada.

Katrina Howe led the U.S. women in 29th with seven penalties. Kelsey Dickinson placed 35th with six misses.

In the men’s 20 k individual, Marc-André Bedard delivered on his vow that the Canadian men would improve their performance throughout IBU Cup 7 & 8 in Canmore. Contending for a top four throughout much of the race, the 29-year-old Bedard missed one shot too many to finish eighth with 18-for-20 shooting. He was 2:56.4 behind Russia’s Matvey Eliseev, who tallied his first IBU Cup win in 50:25.1.

“I’m really happy with this,” Bedard told Biathlon Canada. “It really sucks to miss the last target, especially when it’s close like that at the end, but it’s great. I’m having fun again.”

Germany’s Christoph Stephan finished 9.9 seconds back from Eliseev to place second, and Norway’s Vegard Gjermundshaug was 56.9 seconds back in third.

According to Bedard, the 20 k’s have been his strong point lately and he considers his fitness to be at an all-time high.

“Every race has the same approach,” he said. “I want to have fun and embrace the suffer. You’ve got to push yourself and get in that zone.”

Carsen Campbell placed 22nd for Canada and had two penalties for one of his personal-best results.

“I wanted to hit at least 18, maybe more,” Campbell said in the press release. “That tied my best shooting for individual. I’m not sure if it’s the best shape of my life, but it’s a lot better than it’s been.”

Wynn Roberts led the U.S. men in 25th with two penalties as well. Teammates Patrick Johnson placed 44th, Max Durtschi was 45th and Ethan Dreissigacker was 46th.

Also for Canada, Matthew Hudec finished 35th, Matt Neumann was 37th, Macx Davies was 42nd, and Scott Perras was 43rd.

IBU Cup 8 concludes with the women’s 7.5 k sprint and men’s 10 k sprint on Friday, followed by the mixed relay on Saturday.

Results: Women | Men

Biathlon World Champs to Air on Eurovision and Universal Sports

KONTIOLAHTI, Finland — Eurovision and Universal Sports will provide television coverage of the upcoming 2015 International Biathlon Union World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland. The event, which takes place March 5 through March 15, will be broadcast live on Eurovision with english commentary from Chad Salmela. Universal Sports will air the footage in prime time on the dates included below.

Broadcast schedule (all times in EST):

Date Eurovision Webcast  Universal Sports Network TV
Mar. 5 Mixed relay: 11:15 a.m. 
Mar. 7 Men’s sprint: 7:00 a.m.Women’s sprint: 10:30 a.m.
Mar. 8 Men’s pursuit: 8:15 a.m.Women’s pursuit: 11:00 a.m.
Mar. 9 Mixed relay (from Mar. 5): 8-19 p.m.
Mar. 10 Men’s sprint & pursuit (from Mar. 7-8): 8-19 p.m.
Mar. 11 Women’s individual: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary) Women’s sprint & pursuit (from Mar. 7-8): 8-9 p.m.
Mar. 12 Men’s individual: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary)
Mar. 13 Women’s relay: 12:15 p.m. (no english commentary)
Mar. 14 Men’s relay: 11:30 a.m. Men’s relay (same-day): 7-8 p.m.
Mar. 15 Women’s mass start: 8:30 a.m. Men’s mass start: 11:00 a.m. Women’s mass start (same-day): 6-7 p.m. Men’s mass start (same-day): 7-8 p.m.

Kocher Silver in Second Canmore IBU Cup Sprint

Canada's Zina Kocher waves to the crowd after a second-place finish in the 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore, Alberta, on Sunday. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Canada’s Zina Kocher waves to the crowd after a second-place finish in the 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore, Alberta, on Sunday. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Saturday was a day for the youngsters, with Emma Lunder, new to the national team this year, leading Canada with a silver-medal performance in the 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore.

Come Sunday, though, the veterans took over. Zina Kocher matched Lunder’s hardware, skiing the third-fastest course time and picking up a single penalty to place second. The three-time Olympian was 17.8 seconds behind Karolin Horchler of Germany, who won for the second day in a row.

“There is definitely huge fire inside of me that says get it together for God’s sake,” said Kocher in a Biathlon Canada press release, referring to her struggles earlier this season bouncing between the World Cup and IBU Cup.” Knowing the accomplishments I’ve had in the past helped me. I really just wanted to enjoy the fact I’m racing at home.”

She appreciated Lunder’s performance the day before, and is glad that Canada now has a strong women’s team: Canada is currently ranked 13th in the World Cup Nations Cup. The year that Kocher skied her first World Championships, 2003, Canada ranked 22nd in the world.

“It was so exciting for me as an older athlete finishing my career to see all these young athletes coming up that are so strong,” said Kocher. “I didn’t have that when I started. Today was extra special to have so many of my former teammates, friends and family around. Tonight will be a good celebration!”

After her perfect day on the range on Saturday, Lunder picked up three penalties in Sunday’s sprint to place 16th, 1:32.7 behind Horchler. She was followed one spot later by Erin Yungblut, who shot clean. Melanie Schultz and Claude Godbout finished 29th and 30th, and Leilani Tam Von Burg rounded things out for Canada in 33rd.

For the U.S., Katrina Howe led the way in 22nd with three penalties. Maine Winter Sports Center teammate Kelsey Dickinson placed 34th.

In the men’s 10 k sprint, it was a Canadian veteran who led the North Americans for a second day in a row. Marc-André Bédard placed 19th with one penalty, and finished the weekend with impressive 39-for-40 shooting. That put him 1:28.8 behind Florian Graf of Germany, the winner of the day.

Fellow veteran Scott Perras placed 23rd with two penalties, followed by a passel of younger racers: Matt Neumann in 34th, Matt Hudec in 36th, Andrew Chisholm in 40th, and Macx Davies in 42nd.

For the U.S., Wynn Roberts again led the way, this time matching Howe’s 22nd-place finish. The National Guard Biathlon racer shot clean and finished 1:41.6 behind the winner. Patrick Johnson placed 44th and Ethan Dreissigacker 46th.

Results: women / men

 

Lunder Second on Home Turf in IBU Cup Sprint

EmmaLunder skis_pamdoyle ww

Canada’s Emma Lunder leaving the range en route to second place in Saturday’s 7.5 k IBU Cup sprint in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Pam Doyle)

Canada’s Emma Lunder cleaned her first IBU Cup race to finish second in the 7.5 k sprint in Canmore, Alberta, in front of a crowd of friends and family. Lunder, originally from Vernon, British Columbia, turned in the best North American performance of the day.

Lunder was one of only three competitors to hit all ten targets in the competition.

“I’ve never cleaned at an IBU Cup race,” Lunder said, according to a Biathlon Canada press release. “As I was leaving the range the final time, I was like woo hoo – I don’t have to do a penalty loop. What a great day.”

She left the range in second place, 2.9 seconds behind Karolin Horchler of Germany, but was not able to close the gap on the ski trails. Horchler took a 5.1-second win, with Marine Bolliet of France third, 2.9 seconds behind Lunder. Lunder had the tenth-fastest ski time on the day.

“That last loop I said to myself ‘You know this course better than any other girl so do whatever you can to make up seconds,” Lunder said. “There was people all over the course cheering my name and it was such an amazing day.”

Teammate Zina Kocher finished 19th with four penalties (+1:54.8). Former National Team-er Melanie Schultz is out of retirement and finished 27th with one penalty. Erin Yungblut, Claude Godbout, and Leilani Tam Von Burg finished 29th, 30th, and 33rd in the 36-woman field.

For the U.S., Kelsey Dickinson led the way in 28th with two penalties (+2:48.4) followed by Katrina Howe in 31st with four penalties.

In the men’s 10 k sprint, 2010 Olympian Marc-André Bédard led the way for Canada with a 21st-place finish, like Lunder with perfect shooting. He finished a minute and 15 seconds behind Alexey Kornev of Russia, who won the day. Kornev’s perfect shooting gave him a half-second victory over Anonin Guigonnat of France, who’d had one penalty.

Macx Davies was close behind Bédard in 23rd with two penalties, followed by Scott Perras in 25th with one penalty. Matt Hudec, Matthew Neumann, and Andrew Chisholm finished 40th, 43rd, and 46th, also for Canada.

The top American finish belonged to Wynn Roberts, who finished 29th (+1:44.9) with a single penalty. Patrick Johnson finished 35th with four penalties, and Ethan Dreissigacker 45th with two penalties.

Racing continues on Sunday with another set of 7.5/10 k sprints.

Results: women / men

 

U.S. Biathlete Smith Injured in Canmore Crash, In Stable Condition

Preparing for this weekend’s IBU Cup competitions in Canmore, Alberta, Casey Smith (Maine Winter Sports Center/U.S. Biathlon “B” Team) crashed into a tree and sustained major injuries, according to multiple sources.

After crashing “back first” into the tree, according to USBA CEO Max Cobb, Smith had to be moved by EMT’s. He broke his shoulder and injured his back. Smith was moved to Calgary for further treatment, where he was also found to have punctured his lung. He is currently listed in stable condition.

 

France and Russia Claim final Junior Titles; Canadian’s 9th and 16th, USA 13th and 14th

Jakob

Jakob Ellingson opens the relay for team USA. Photo credit to Jim Levins

The 2015 Junior World Championships concluded in Minsk Belarus on Tuesday with the junior women’s 3x6k relay and the junior men’s 4×7.5k relay. Rain before the start of competition made for difficult ski conditions.

Junior women took to the icy trails first, and it was France that would take the lead after the second shooting stage and remain there for the finish. Chloe Chevalier opened for the French team and gave her teammate Julia Simon excellent position to continue the lead. Though, it was Lena Arnaud who would cross the line in 53:27.3 and solidifying her second victory of the week with relay women’s gold for France.

Following closely, Russia finished only 26.9 seconds behind France. Victoria Slivko, Natalia Gerbulova, Uliana Kaisheva took silver. Gerbulova used quick and accurate shooting shooting to keep close to the French team but during the final leg Russia could not hold on.

Anna Weidel and Helene Therese Hendel opened for Germany and kept them in contention. When Marie Heinrich started her race she was fighting for the bronze medal, only needing a single spare and an incredible effort of the track brought German onto the podium, 1:33.7 back.

For the USA Madeleine Phaneuf, Mikaela Paluszek, Hannah Streinz took to the tracks to claim 14th. Collecting one penalty loop and using nine spares the USA’s women finished 7:12.2 off the pace of the winning French team.

Canadian jurnior women’s team consisting of Megan Bankes, Sharah Beaudry, and Bryn Robertson finished 16th, also with a penalty loop and using 13 spares 8:38.7 back. Bankes and Robertson, both youth athletes raced up in age cattagory to field a full junior relay team.

Paul

Paul Thomas Everett helps USA men ski to a 13th place at Junior World Championship relay. Photo credit to Jim Levins

The Russian team of Aleksandr Dediukhin, Viktor Tretiakov, Eduard Latypov, and Alexander Povarnitsyn was a clear favorite for a medal. Three of their four racers already claimed medals in the individual races. Confidently taking the lead Russia seemed poised out front and only needing 4 spares to hit their forty targets made them difficult to challenge.

Povarnitsyn started with a comfortable 55-second lead over the rest of the nations, easily securing the gold and expanding the lead to win decisively in 1:19:59.7.

For Norway Andreas Kvam, Henrik Sagosen Smeby, Aslak Nenseter, and Vemund Gurigard fought to stay in touch of the lead team for the entire race. Norway only needed one more spare but could not match the nearly flawless Russian team. Even perfect shooting couldn’t help Gurigard close the gap and he finished 1:12.5 back in second.

Inspired by the victory of their female team mates Aristide Begue,Felix Cottet Puinel, Emilien Jacquelin, and Fabien Claude powered the French men onto the podium. Using eight spares France was 1:22.6 off the pace but only 10seconds behind the silver medal at the finish.

Pearce Hanna, Aidan Millar, Carson Campbell, and Matthew Strum raced for Canada. Hanna, also a youth replaced his fourth junior teammate who has struggled with sickness this week. Collecting a penalty loop in the first leg and using sixteen total spare rounds Canada finished 9th, 6:54.7 back.

USA’s junior men also collected a lone penalty loop and used 13 spares to claim the 13th position. Sean Doherty, Jakob Ellingson, Paul Thomas Everett, and Brian Halligan represented America in the final competition of the week.

Results Men / Women

 

Gold at Home for Belarus Youth Women, Russian Men; U.S. Women 12th, Men 15th

The youth men’s 3 x 7.5-kilometer and youth women’s 3 x 6 k relays held at the Raubichi Winter Olympic Training Center outside of Minsk, Belarus, on Monday, were the last chance for athletes to gain youth world champion status this year.

The Belarus women’s team collectively used seven spare bullets to hit their 30 targets, and was one of only two teams to avoid the 150-meter penalty loop. Dzinara Alimbekava, Hanna Sola and Darya Blashko were all in the top five in the sprint race of the same distance earlier this week, making them the favorite to win gold at home.

Russia led the competition’s early stages, though it lost its lead with a penalty loop and was unable to catch Belarus. Alimbekava, Sola and Blashko took relay gold on their home course for Belarus in a time of 51:50.2.

Despite a penalty loop in the second leg of their relay Russia’s Elizaveta Kaplina, Natalia Ushkina and Kristina Reztsova used their strong skiing to earn the silver medal. On the final leg Reztsova had decisively pulled away from the rest of the pack, but could not close the gap to Belarus and finished 14 seconds behind.

Shooting turned out to be the difference for Kristin Vaagaa Floettum, Eline Grue, and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold of Norway. Using only four spare rounds between the three legs, Norway’s youth women were the top shooters of the day allowing them to claim the third-podium postion having finished 1:03.5 behind the winners.

Siena Ellingson opened the race for the U.S. but would collect three penalty loops in her fist trip to the range and a fourth in her second visit. Chloe Levins and Amanda Kautzer took over for the U.S., neither having to visit the penalty loop but using five and two spare rounds to hit their targets, respectively.

The American youth women finished 12th, 8:32.8 off the pace set by Belarus after their four shooting misses and the use of 13 additional rounds.

Proving to be dominant start to finish, Russia’s youth men were within seconds of the lead for the entire race and decisively pulled away over the last two legs. Hitting all thirty targets having used seven spare rounds Igor Shetko, Nikita Porshnev and Kirill Streltsov became youth relay world champions.

The Ukrainian team of Vitaliy Trush, Nazarii Tsebrynskyi and Dmytro Ivasenko was the only team to challenge the Russians. Within striking distance and only needing eight spare rounds the Ukraine kept the pressure on Russia the whole race. Ultimately unable to make up time on the tracks, Ukraine settled for second place 37.7 seconds off the pace.

Norway’s youth men used more spares (1+11) than any other team in the top six, but with powerful efforts on the skis still maintained a podium spot for the whole relay. Finishing 2:02.5 behind the winning time Uglem Jonas Mabakken, Andreas Kjeverud Eggen and Mattis Haug added to Norway’s medal collection with a third-place finish.

Americans Cameron Christiansen, Sam Zabell and Alexander Kilby struggled to hold onto the pack while having some of the strongest standing shooting of the day. The team incurred two penalty loops and needed nine spares finishing 15th, 10:59.6 off the pace of the Russians.

Results: Men / Women

 — Evan Girard

Doherty Bronze in World Juniors Sprint, Millar 8th

Sean Doherty of the United States made his mark on the World Junior Championships history books on Saturday, after earning multiple gold medals in the youth category in previous seasons. In the junior men’s 10 k sprint, Doherty finished third in 24:59.2 with a single penalty. It was a rebound after his 14th-place finish in the individual competition already held at this venue outside of Minsk, Belarus.

Back in 2013, Sean Doherty enjoyed every second of his time carrying the American flag across the finish line as a World Champion in the youth pursuit, the first American gold since 1997. In his first season in the junior age category, Doherty finished third in the World Juniors sprint in Belarus on Saturday. (Photo: UBSA/NordicFocus)

Back in 2013, Sean Doherty enjoyed every second of his time carrying the American flag across the finish line as a World Champion in the youth pursuit, the first American gold since 1997. In his first season in the junior age category, Doherty finished third in the World Juniors sprint in Belarus on Saturday. (Photo: UBSA/NordicFocus)

The win went to Alexsandr Dediukhin of Russia, who had been in third place after the final shooting. Dediukhin was the only one of the top competitors to shoot clean, and in bib 30 also a later starter. He attacked on the final loop and made up 2 seconds to take the win.

Doherty had the fourth-fastest split after the last shooting, but surpassed Niklas Homberg of Germany to secure a medal.

For Canada, Aidan Millar finished eighth. Like Doherty, he is making the move up from the youth category, where he finished ninth in the sprint last year in Presque Isle, Maine. Millar also had a single penalty, and was sitting in fifth after the last shooting. He was unable to hang onto that position though – possibly because as one of the earliest starters, he was at a disadvantage in that his competitors knew how fast to ski to beat him.

In the junior women’s sprint earlier in the morning, Maddie Phaneuf of the United States was the top North American finisher, placing 33rd.

Stay tuned for a full report on the men’s and women’s junior sprints later today.

Results: men / women

Anna Kryvonos, Kirill Sterltsov Win Opening Races of IBU Youth World Champs

By Evan Girard

The ultimate test of the best youth and junior biathletes kicked off Wednesday at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Minsk-Raubichi, Belarus. Youth skiers, ages 18 and under, took to the stage first for the individual races. Youth women raced 10 kilometers and youth men raced 12.5 k each with four trips to the range, alternating prone and standing positions, with each miss adding one minute to an athlete’s finishing time.

First on course was a group of 83 youth women. Many of the early starters raced well but the podium would not be decided until the end of the race. Elizaveta Kaplina of Russia was the 72nd woman to start her race and moved into second at the finish. Kaplina’s time in second was short lived when the 75th starter, Norway’s Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold claimed, and ultimately held onto, the silver-medal position.

Ukrainian Anna Kryvonos was steady on the shooting range, missing only a single target on her second trip to the range on her way to the fastest time of 30:09.1 to claim the first gold medal of the week.

Both Tandrevold and Kaplina missed two targets each, though it was Tandrevold that gained the advantage on the trail, finishing second by 18.8 seconds and beating Kaplina by 9.9 seconds.

American Siena Ellingson was the top North American of the day, finishing 30th(+5:16.5) with five misses (1+2+1+1). Canada’s Megan Bankes claimed 42nd (+6:44.1) with eight penalties (1+3+3+1). Also for the U.S., Amanda Kautzer and Chloe Levins both missed eight targets, finishing 54th (+8:13.9) and 55th (+8:20.4), respectively.

The second Canadian youth woman, Bryn Robertson, was 66th (+9:22.5), also with eight misses. American Hannah Streinz took 70th (+11:21.3) with 11 penalties.

Youth men were the next athletes to take to the tracks, this time skiing the 2.5 k loop five times. Kirill Sterltsov of Russia narrowly came back to achieve the fastest time of 35:04.8 and to become youth world champion despite missing two targets in the opening half of the race.

Anders Emil Schiellerup of Denmark took full advantage of his early start as the third starter who went on to hit the perfect 20-for-20 and put the pressure on every athlete that followed. He finished just 4.7 seconds behind the winner to earn second.

Igor Shetko matched his Russian teammate Sterltsov’s shooting, but not his speed on course to finish 15.6 seconds off his pace in third.

For the North American men, Canada’s Pearce Hanna was the top finisher in 32nd (+3:56.9), missing six targets (1+2+1+2).

Americans Paul Thomas Everett finished 35th (+4:39.4), Cameron Christiansen was 51st(+6:35.7), and Sam Zabell was 70th (+9:00.9) all incurring five misses on the shooting range. Also for the U.S., Alexander Kilby was 74th (+10:44.8) with nine misses.

Results: Men | Women

 

Tam Von Burg Doubles Up at Canada Games, Hudek Earns First Gold

Leilani Tam Von Burg of Ontario and the Biathlon Alberta Training Center took her second win in as many competitions at Canada Winter Games in Prince George, British Columbia, on Tuesday. Missing a single target in the 7.5 k sprint, Tam Von Burg picked up a 55-second victory over Prince George native Emily Dickson, who had three penalties. Nadia Moser of Yukon placed third with four penalties, just over two minutes behind Tam Von Burg.

Tam Von Burg also won the 12.5 k individual competition on Sunday, over Moser and Dickson. The trio has an advantage towards winning more medals in Wednesday’s pursuits, where only three other women will start within a minute of Moser.

In the men’s 10 k sprint, Matt Hudek of Saskatchewan notched a 24.5-second win over Alexandre Dupuis of Ontario despite two penalties to Dupuis’s clean shooting. Jules Burnotte of Quebec placed third, another ten seconds behind with two penalties.

The men’s pursuit is shaping up to be more competitive, with Arthur Roots of British Columbia starting just 16 seconds behind Burnotte and keen to earn his first medal.

Results: men / women

US Biathlon Names Teams for World Championships, IBU Cups 7 & 8

(February 16, 2015) — US Biathlon is happy to announce the World Championship Team roster for the IBU Biathlon World Championships presented by BMW. The event will be hosted in Kontiolahti, Finland March 4 to 15 (more event info here: http://www.kontiolahtibiathlon.com/).  The team will train in Norway until they travel to the World Championships on March 2.

“The team has a great mix of youth and experience,” said Chief of Sport Bernd Eisenbichler.  “We have podium proven athletes in Susan Dunklee, Lowell Bailey and Tim Burke.  We have a very experienced 19 year-old junior athlete in Sean Doherty and Clare Egan had her first World Cup start at the end of January.  With five of the team members already having top 20 finishes this season it looks promising for great results from both the women and the men and we are especially looking forward to opening the championships with the mixed relay on March 5.”

Men
– Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.)
– Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)
– Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.)
– Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.)

Women
– Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.)
– Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.)
– Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)
– Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

US Biathlon is happy to announce the team for IBU Cups 7 & 8 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, Feb 27 to March 7 (more information here: http://canmorebiathlon.ca/)

Women
– Kelsey Dickinson (Winthrop, Wash.)
– Katrina Howe (Fort Kent, Maine)
– Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.)

Men
– Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine)
– Ethan Dreissigacker (Craftsbury, Vt.)
– Patrick Johnson (Truckee, Calf.)
– Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, Minn.)
– Casey Smith (Winthrop, Wash.)

In “Tough Day”, U.S. Women 18th in Oslo Relay

Susan Dunklee skied a strong leadoff leg for the United States in the 4 x 6 k World Cup relay in Oslo, Norway, on Sunday, tagging off in sixth but just 25 seconds behind the leaders. Dunklee used a two spare rounds in the standing shooting stage, but skied the fastest time of all leadoff skiers to climb from ninth place after standing up to sixth.

“Lately I’ve been feeling physically run down and a little burnt out from a lot of racing,” Dunklee wrote in an e-mail. “However, as soon as the gun went off the skiing felt great and the hunger was there. The first loop was a blast; Andreja Mali [of Slovenia], my 7th row start buddy (way in the back) started passing people like crazy and I hopped in behind her. Halfway around the first loop, she was leading the race.”

From there the team struggled with spare rounds and penalty loops, and dropped to 18th place before being lapped and pulled from the race. Hannah Dreissigacker – coming off a career-best sprint on Saturday where she shot clean – Annelies Cook, and Clare Egan each had two penalty loops.

“It was a tough day for the team and we know we have plenty of room to improve going forward,” Dunklee wrote. “The skills are there for sure; I think the main thing is going to be getting everybody’s confidence levels in a good place. Luckily we’ve got two weeks [before World Championships].”

Dunklee knows a thing or two about getting confidence back. After finishing 11th in the 15 k individual competition on Thursday, she picked up four penalties in the sprint and finished 69th; prior to the sprint, her weakest result all season had been 41st during the very first weekends of racing in Östersund, Sweden.

But picking up the fastest ski time in the relay helped begin to put the sprint in the rearview mirror, Dunklee said.

“I didn’t want to go into the break with the off feeling that I had yesterday,” she wrote. “Today felt much more normal.”

The U.S. men did not enter a relay team today, as they have only three men in Oslo. The IBU Cup team returned to the U.S and Sean Doherty, who has competed in several relays so far this season, is busy preparing for World Youth and Junior Championships, which starts this week.

U.S. Biathlon Association President Max Cobb wrote in an e-mail that the federation will announce its World Championships team selection “early next week”. The World Cup is on break until Championships begin on March 5 in Kontiolahti, Finland.

Results

Canada Eighth in Junior Mixed Relay

The last junior race of Open European Championships, a mixed relay, was held on Monday morning in Otepää, Estonia.

The Russian team, which has been dominant all week, was never in worse than second position. But that didn’t make it a less exciting race: when it came down to the anchor leg, Russia’s Alexander Povarnitsyn left the range 0.4 seconds behind Fabien Claude of France. Claude had won the sprint; Povarnitsyn had been third in the pursuit. It was obviously going to be a good race.

The Russian managed to pull away on the trails, and gave his team an 8.2-second win. Ukraine placed third (+39.8), one of only two teams in the field to avoid the penalty loop.

The Canadian team of Emily Dickson, Leilani Tam Von Burg, Arthur Roots, and Matt Hudec finished eighth (+6:39.9). Each racer had the eighth-fastest ski time of their respective fields, and they made three trips to the penalty loop while using 12 spare rounds.

“It has been an awesome opportunity for me to race in the Open European Championships this year,” Dickson, a first-year youth competitor, wrote on her facebook fan page. “Coming in to this event, I knew that I was a lot younger than most of the girls & that I would not be a contender for top results. Instead, my main focus for these championships has been to take in the experience, have some fun, and learn from some of the top biathletes in the world! Overall I am really happy with how the trip went just because I succeeded in all three of these goals. And now I am already excited to get back to training to see what kind of improvements I can make over the next few years!”

The United States did not field a team.

Racing in Estonia concludes on Tuesday with senior men’s and women’s relays.

Results

Open European Champs Continue in Estonia, Tam Von Burg 17th

Racing has continued in Otepää, Estonia, as part of Open European Championships this week. In Friday’s junior women’s 7.5 k sprint, Anastasiya Merkushyna of Ukraine shot clean to pull out a 5.4-second win over Austria’s Dunja Zdouc, who was also clean. It was the second runner-up placing for Zdouc at the championships so far, after finishing second in the individual competition as well. Russia’s Uliana Kaisheva placed third despite two penalties, just 12.9 seconds out. (Full results)

  • Leilani Tam Von Burg placed 17th for Canada with clean shooting. It is the best international result to date for the Ottawa native. Emily Dickson placed 32nd with two penalties.
  • Maddie Phaneuf led the United States again, finishing 27th (+3:04) with one penalty. “Waking up with a slight cold didn’t make the skiing very energetic today, but I was pleased with my shooting,” Phaneuf said in a USBA press release. “I’m hoping to fight off whatever I have by Sunday’s pursuit to end this week of racing with a bang.”
  • Her teammates Siena Ellingson and Mikaela Paluszek finished 52nd and 56th.

In the men’s junior sprint, a 10 k competition, Fabien Claude of France used clean shooting to post a 25-second win over Eduard Latypov of Russia, who had one penalty. Russians filled the next two spots as well, with Aleksandr Dediukhin and Alexander Povarnitsyn. (Full results)

  • Canada’s contingent of Matt Hudec and Arthur Roots finished 34th and 55th, respectively. Hudec had two penalties, while Roots struggled through six penalty loops.
  • The sole American in the race, Brian Halligan, placed 58th with four penalties.

Saturday meant senior racing, with more competitive fields since the previous age restriction to 26-year-olds and younger was lifted this season. In the women’s sprint it was Coline Varcin who kept the ball rolling for France. Like Claude the day before, she used clean shooting to power past the competition. Weronika Nowakowska-Ziemniak, currently ranked 12th in the World Cup total score, finished second, 9.7 seconds back; another World Cup stalwart, Ekaterina Shumilova of Russia, was third just one second behind. (Full results)

  • Canada’s Emma Lunder finished 33rd with three penalties, all of which came in the prone stage. Ranked 44th after leaving the penalty loop, she climbed her way up with clean shooting in standing and turned in the fourth-fastest last-loop time of anyone in the field.
  • Teammate Erin Yungblut placed 63rd with four penalties.
  • The United States did not field a team.

Finally, the senior men raced in their own 10 k sprint competition. It was another Alexey from Russia who won the day, but where Alexey Volkov won the 20 k individual earlier in the week it was Alexey Slepov in the sprint. Slepov shot clean to post a 14.5-second win over Norway’s Lars Helge Birkeland, who had one penalty. Antonin Guigonnat of France finished third, also with one penalty. (Full results)

  • Macx Davies was the top North American. The Canadian had three penalties to finish 28th (+1:33). Scott Perras will also make the pursuit, after finishing 48th with four penalties.
  • Their teammates Matt Neumann and Guillaume Bertrand finished 70th and 82nd with four and two penalties, respectively.
  • After skipping out on the 20 k competition, Leif Nordgren led the U.S. squad by placing 51st with three penalties. Russell Currier placed 62nd and Casey Smith 68th.

Racing continues February 1-3.

Rough Day on the Range for US, Canada at Open European Champs

Luminita Piscoran of Romania won the 15 k individual by 20 seconds despite five penalties, giving her country its first title ever. (Photo: http://otepaa.biathlon.ee)

Luminita Piscoran of Romania (bib 40) won the 15 k individual by 20 seconds despite five penalties, giving her country its first title ever. (Photo: http://otepaa.biathlon.ee)

Senior racers got their first chance at glory at Open European Championships in Otepää, Estonia, in the 15 k and 20 k individual races today.

Gold went to Luminita Piscoran of Romania in the women’s 15 k. Under extremely tough shooting conditions, Piscoran missed five shots – but between that and the tenth-fastest ski time, she came out ahead by 20 seconds. It was the first podium ever for a Romanian biathlete at the Championships. Second-place Christina Rieder of Austria had three penalties and the best shooting of the day. World Cup regular Ekaterina Yurlova of Russia placed third.

Canada’s two entrants, Emma Lunder and Erin Yungblut, missed ten and nine shots, respectively, to finish 47th and 55th.

In the men’s 20 k, Alexey Volkov of Russia came out on top with just two penalties. Sergey Semenov of Ukraine was the closest to touching him, with the fastest ski time of the day but four penalties; he finished 1:05 back. Vladimir Iliev of Bulgaria placed third +1:31.

Russell Currier led the United States in 55th with seven penalties, followed by Maine Winter Sports Center teammate Casey Smith in 61st with five penalties. Leif Nordgren did not finish the race, dropping out after the third shooting stage.

Macx Davies placed 45th for Canada, with eight penalties, and Scott Perras 54th with nine. Matt Neumann and Guillaume Bertrand rounded out the squad in 67th and 93rd with six and 12 penalties, respectively.

“Today wasn’t the best,” Davies posted on his facebook fan page. “Shooting 0,3,3,2 For a total of 8 misses out of 20. A poor performance when each miss adds a minute to my time. But I am happy with the skiing, my best 20km ski race I have done. Overall am OK day, considering the winds in the range, but looking for some big improvement going into the weekend races.”

Results: women / men

Phaneuf 20th In European Champs Junior Race

Estonia's Rene Zahkna gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he finished second in the junior men's 15 k individual race at Open European Championships in Otepää. (Photo: otepaa.biathlon.ee)

Estonia’s Rene Zahkna gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he finished second in the junior men’s 15 k individual race at Open European Championships in Otepää. (Photo: otepaa.biathlon.ee)

Maddie Phaneuf had the top North American performance on the first day of biathlon’s Open European Championships in Otepää, Estonia, placing 20th in the 12.5 k junior women’s individual competition. Phaneuf had four penalties and finished 4:56.9 behind the winner, Victoria Slivko of Russia, who only accrued a single penalty. It was a close race: Dunja Zdouc of Austria, the runner up, had a time just 9.9 seconds slower than Slivko. But, as a later starter, Slivko was able to overcome a slight deficit after leaving the range for the final time and make it to the top of the podium.

Also for the United States, Mikaela Paluszek and Siena Ellingson placed 46th and 48th out of 53 finishers with seven and nine penalties, respectively. Canada’s Emily Dickson and Leilani Tam Von Byrg were just ahead of them in 43rd and 44th, with eight and nine penalties.

In the junior men’s 15 k, both the U.S. and Canadian racers also strugged to find their marks on the shooting range. Matthew Hudec and Arthur Roots represented Canada with five and six penalties, respectively, to place 33rd and 40th. France’s Aristide Begue, who is a World Junior Champion in the discipline, won by over a minute with Estonia’s Rene Zahkna placing second. Begue was one of only two men in the field to shoot clean for all 20 shots; the other was Heikki Laitinen of Finland, who placed tenth.

Brian Halligan, the sole U.S. entrant, missed six shots and finished 53rd.

Racing continues in Otepää through February 3rd.

Results: men / women