Unexpected bronze of Mironova
At the first stage in Ostersund, the Russian women's biathlon team breathed hope into the fans. Girls periodically showed very good speeds at a distance, imposed a fight on the leaders at certain moments of the races and stopped considering the mean World Cup points to be their ultimate dream. Larisa Kuklina and Svetlana Mironova would even have a chance at a medal if shooting had not failed them.
It became clear that when everything goes smoothly at the firing lines, there will be hits on the podium. We did not have to wait long for such a development of events - already at the stage in Hochfilzen, Mironova was able to win the first medal of the World Cup stage in her career.
Mironova’s chances of winning the reward were precisely in the sprint, since the less often she had to shoot, the less chance she would make of a mistake that her legs would no longer play. After the first turn, the 25-year-old athlete was able to seize the leadership, shooting not only accurately, but also quickly. At the counter, Mironova made a serious mistake - she hurried with the last shot and greased him, although before that there were nine hits in a row. Without a penalty loop, she could confidently get ahead of the Italian Dorothea Wierer, but she herself extended the distance by 150 meters.
On the last lap Mironova was slightly tired, it was noticeable how her speed dropped. She already had to fight not for the second line with the Norwegian Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, but for the third, which was claimed by the more accurate Paulina Fialkova from Slovakia. But she won this confrontation.
On Sunday, an athlete from the Tomsk region will try to become a medalist in the pursuit race - she will start 18 seconds from Wierer and 12 seconds from Tandrevold.
“For me, the race went well. I was mistaken only once, I have many positive emotions in this regard. I'm glad that everything turned out today. When I left after the second line, they told me that I was leaving the leader. But my strength was over, although I did everything I could, ”Mironova told the Championship after the race.
The best race in her career was held by Kristina Reztsova. The 23-year-old biathlete has never entered the top 60 at the stages of the World Cup, but this time she took 19th place and became the second among Russians. The daughter of Olympic champion Anfisa Reztsova made one slip while lying down, but on the second lap she showed the sixth time among all the participants and rose to the top twenty. Ekaterina Yurlova-Perkht became the 26th with two misses, although after the first shooting, along with Mironova, she claimed medals. The race didn’t work out except for Larisa Kuklina - four unclosed targets will not allow her to perform in the pursuit.
Ostersund vice versa
Weather conditions became more complicated for the men's sprint in Hochfilzen - the snow was falling continuously, in addition, the temperature dropped. Even the day before, it was difficult to predict which starting numbers would be more lucky with the state of the track, and the favorites were divided into two camps. Some decided to start the sprint as early as possible, while others chose to enter the last group.
The first joined Matvey Eliseev and Alexander Loginov, who took third and fourth places in the sprint in Ostersund. They were also joined by the brothers Tarja and Johannes Boe. It was this four that initially fought among themselves. The youngest of the two Norwegians held the race almost perfectly - before his miss on the rack, he overtook everyone by almost half a minute, but after an error he continued to lead confidently. Loginov immediately followed him and shot even better, but he couldn’t catch the Norwegian with his feet. At the finish, the Russian became second with a lag of 14.6 seconds.
Eliseyev also acted to match Loginov - with ten hits he, too, immediately after the second shooting, lost to Beau Jr. for less than four seconds. On the last lap, the bronze medalist of the Östersund race slowed down a little, and almost took advantage of Tarja Boe. He fled no worse than his brother, but even two misses at the counter he couldn’t win back. On the last lap, he tried to catch up with Eliseev and almost succeeded in this, but still lost less than three seconds.
After that, all the finishers had to wait for the next group of favorites, which included World Cup leader Marten Fourcade, Italian Lucas Hofer, Frenchman Simon Detieu and Norwegian Vetle Shostad Kristiansen. All of them, without interference, overcame the first shooting and, if successful, on the second, they could easily deprive the Russians of a double podium, and the French biathletes could even force Boe. But everyone ended up dropping into the penalty circles.
Hofer limited himself to one and almost got Eliseev - two biathletes were separated in just 0.2 seconds. Christiansen made two misses and was outside the first twenty. The same thing happened with Fourcade. With two misfires, he left the firing line of the 15th and at a distance he could only play five positions, eventually closing the top ten.
The Child did not avoid mistakes, but even with one slip he started the last lap in seconds behind the Russians. At each subsequent cut-off, it became clear that this lag was not a problem for him. The Frenchman walked first around Eliseev, and then Loginov, ending up in just 7.8 seconds from Be. The Russians were left without a double podium and repeated the result of the previous sprint race, only now Loginov and Eliseev exchanged places.
“Partly it turned out to keep a fairly high distance speed - this is a positive point. But I still need to look for my best shape. In addition, microtraumas, which are felt not only at a distance, but also in everyday life, interfere so far. However, when compared with the sprint in Ostersund, I feel better, ”Loginov said after the race.
Other Russian biathletes also failed while standing. Nikita Porshnev and Dmitry Malyshko, who claimed the top 10, ended up in the top ten, making three misses for two. Evgeny Garanichev was left without cup points, but, unlike Eduard Latypov, he will perform in the pursuit race on Saturday.
Sprint in Hochfilzen made big changes in the overall standings of the World Cup - Beau the Younger and the Children pulled ahead, Fourcade and Beau the Younger lost two positions. Eliseev fell to fifth place, behind the Child by only ten points, and Loginov rose to sixth line. In the offset of the sprint races for the two Russian leaders, everything is much better - they share third place, giving the whole point to the eldest of the Boe brothers.