Invincible Bolshunov and silver Nepryaeva
The best skiers of the planet came to their senses after the Tour de Ski stage race, and in Czech Nove Mesto a full-fledged stage of the World Cup with distance racing took place. The competition program included a separate start race with a skating style, and the next day they graze with a classic move.
On Saturday’s men's race, Alexander Bolshunov got the opportunity to show off in the yellow jersey of the World Cup leader. And the athlete was not going to return this title to his main rival Johannes Hösflot Klebo. The Russians perfectly laid out their forces at a distance and showed the best time among all the participants. At the same time, Bolshunov earned a solid 24-second margin against the Finn Iivo Niskanen for the Sunday race. Klebo showed only the seventh result and lagged behind the Russians in the overall standings.
In the classic style race, Bolshunov continued to dominate his rivals - in fact, he continued to run from a separate start, and in such conditions it is extremely difficult to defeat him. With each kilometer, the Russians increased the gap from rivals who agreed to play silver at the finish. Klebo figured out his compatriots and consoled himself in second place, and Bolshunov celebrated his 12th victory in his career - now he is one of the twenty best skiers by this indicator.
In women's competitions, Natalya Nepryaeva showed herself perfectly. She, like any other skier, still can not fight for gold with Teresa Yochaug, but after the Norwegian Russian woman is definitely the best in the world. She confirmed this in Nove Mesto, becoming the silver medalist of the race from a separate start. Nepryaeva for a long time went to the third result, but the final acceleration allowed her to beat her main rival in the World Cup overall standings, Heidi Weng from Norway.
The pursuit race also developed for Nepryaeva as well as possible. She immediately abandoned the fight against Johaug and decided to accompany the less agile at the finish line Weng and Ingvild Estberg. The Russian’s plan worked perfectly - she got to the final straight and won silver for the second time in a row. Soon, Nepryaeva will be able to rise to second place in the overall World Cup standings - until Weng, she only needs 13 points.
Triumph at the European Sleigh Championship
The Norwegian Lillehammer hosted the stage of the World Cup in Luge, combined with the European Championship. The first medal in the women's sleigh was a triumph for the Russian team. Tatyana Ivanova won her fourth victory of the season and consolidated her leadership over Julia Taubits in the fight for the Big Crystal Globe. At the same time, she became a four-time European champion ten years after her first success.
The fourth time in the sum of two attempts was shown by Victoria Demchenko, but she did not stay without a medal - in the European standings she went up a line above, as the result of the American Summer Bricher was not taken into account. For the first time in six years, Russian girls managed to be together on the podium of the European Championship.
Russian @LugeTanja World Cup and European Luge Champion in Lillehammer (NOR) # Winterfans # Luge # Worldcup # LugeLove # Ivanova # Lillehammerpic.twitter.com / iD6OjFno5w- FIL Luge (@FIL_Luge) January 18, 2020
A few hours later, the Russians again won gold and bronze, now in men's double sleighs. The first in this season and the third in a career victory was won by Alexander Denisiev and Vladislav Antonov. In both attempts, they were faster than the Austrians Thomas Stoy and Lorenz Koller. The third result was shown by Vladislav Yuzhakov and Yuri Prokhorov, becoming the third Russian deuce to climb the podium this season - even the Germans and Austrians do not have such a deep roster in this type of competition.
2nd Russian Viessmann World Cup Victory and European Championship titel today. Aleksandr Denisev and Vladislav Antonov are the fastest Luge Double in Lillehammer (NOR). Congratulations!#LugeLove#FILuge#Luge#Worldcup#Winterfans#Lillehammer@Ruslugepic.twitter.com/it89KbIHkW- FIL Luge (@FIL_Luge) January 18, 2020
In men's single descents, Russian sleigh riders also won two medals, but were left without gold. Semyon Pavlichenko after the first attempt won only 0.002 seconds against Dominic Fishnaller and could not keep such a modest advantage. He became a silver medalist, and Roman Repilov held third place. In the first eight were two more Russians - Alexander Gorbatsevich and Stepan Fedorov. According to the results of the start in Lillehammer, Repilov remained the leader of the World Cup.
Unfortunately, brilliant performances in certain types of programs did not bring a medal in the team relay. Pavlichenko’s mistake led to the fact that the team took only fifth place behind Austria, Italy, Latvia and Germany. But still, the Russians won the medal standings of the European Championship both in gold and in the total number of awards.
Double bronze in the snowboard
The fog in the Slovenian Rogla did not prevent the next stage of the World Cup in snowboarding in turning disciplines. In the parallel giant slalom competitions, Russian athletes won two bronze medals. For men, Vick Wild climbed the podium - for the two-time Olympic champion, this was the first World Cup medal from the 2015/2016 season. In the small finals, he overtook Dmitry Loginov, who still cannot return to the podium after last year's triumphal world championship.
Natalya Soboleva, who finished second in Rogla a year ago, became the bronze medalist among women. In the semifinals, the Russian woman lost to Olympic champion Esther Ledecke from the Czech Republic, but did not remain without a medal after defeating Austrian Daniela Ulbing. In the overall standings of turning disciplines, Sobolev climbed to fifth place - none of the Russians in other types of programs is so high.
Third place of the Tretyakov
Innsbruck hosted the World Cup stage in skeleton and bobsled. This time, the catch of Russian athletes consisted of only one bronze medal. Its owner was Alexander Tretyakov. The victory, the first of the season, but the tenth in a row on the local track, was won by the Latvian Martins Dukurs, to whom Tretyakov now loses 29 points in the overall standings of the World Cup. Two hundredths of a second from a Russian was won by South Korean Yoon Song Bin.
Elena Nikitina claimed at least second place after the first attempt in women's competitions. However, an error during the second half of the route threw the Russian woman out of the prize troika. Her total time allowed to take only fourth place behind the German Jacqueline Lölling, the Austrian Janine Flock and the American Megan Henry. In the overall standings, Nikitina dropped to third place.
The long-awaited Khoroshilov medal
The strongest Russian skier in recent years, Alexander Khoroshilov, returned to the podium of the World Cup. He became a bronze medalist in slalom at a competition in Swiss Wengen. After the first attempt, Khoroshilov took only ninth place, but the incessant snowfall helped him rise higher. Russian perfectly in such bad weather passed the track for the second time, which many of those who spoke after him did not succeed. He remained the leader until the appearance of the Frenchman Clemen Noel and the Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who managed to press Khoroshilov.
For the 35-year-old skier, this medal was the tenth of his career. The last time, Khoroshilov was the winner of the World Cup three years ago, after which he was constantly suffering from injuries, unsuccessfully performed at the Olympic Games and World Championships. Now he again became a favorite of slalom competitions, and in his favorite discipline broke into the top ten of the current World Cup.
Local success in curling
Several worthy results were noted during the week by Russian curlers. The men's team was selected for the World Cup following the qualification tournament. The team of Sergey Glukhov took second place in the group stage and was then to dispute a ticket to the main tournament of the season with either the Chinese team or the Japanese. Athletes from the Middle Kingdom turned out to be stronger, and the Russians beat the Japanese team with a difference of one point and got the right to play in Glasgow in March - this World Cup will be the first in the selection for the 2022 Olympic Games.
Women have been selected for their world championship long ago, and now Russian teams participate in various competitions, earning practice and prize-winning. Alina Kovaleva’s team performed at the Canadian Open Grand Slam Tournament. According to the results of a complex selection system, the Russians reached the quarter finals, where they defeated the 2014 Olympic champion Jennifer Jones from Canada. In the semifinals, Kovalyova and her partners lost to the Koreans, led by Kim Min Ji, but this result was the best for Russian girls in this tournament, having one of the largest prize pools.
At the same time, Anna Sidorova’s team performed at lower status competitions in Glasgow. Her girls also managed to reach the semifinals, but the Swedish team with skip Isabella Vrana prevented them from going further.