The triumph of Lazovsky and the dispute between Loginov and Babikov

The second stage of the Commonwealth Biathlon Cup was completed by big races from a common start. As many as 60 people took part in the men's competition, which was twice as many as in the classical ones. In total, they had to complete six laps, and on the first two they alternated between entering the shooting range. At first, this was done by representatives of the second thirty, after which they were replaced by athletes from the first. And for the rest of the race, everyone worked in the general group. And although at times the distance is frankly crowded, this made the competition even more unpredictable.

For example, in the men's top 30, seven athletes finished at once, who would not have had the opportunity to perform in the traditional mass start. The most impressive breakthrough was made by Maxim Tsvetkov, who moved from 54th to 23rd place, but the main discovery was Daniil Usov. He entered the track under the number 33, missed only twice and stopped one step away from the bronze, ahead of the leaders of the overall standings in the person of Anton Smolsky and Eduard Latypov, as well as Alexander Povarnitsyn, who is fourth.

And this is despite the fact that Usov arrived at the final firing line only sixth, after the leading group. But Alexei Vagin and Daniil Serohvostov, who overtook him, failed in standing and made two and three penalties respectively, which is why they fell out of the top five.

The fate of the gold medal was also decided there. While the competitors were firing past, Anton Babikov, Alexander Loginov and Dmitry Lazovsky confidently closed one target after another. But when three players had one cartridge left, the Russians faltered in unison, while the Belarusian remained calm and left the shooting range in the lead. And not only did he not slow down, but he even increased the handicap from his rivals. Although at the finish line he was clearly not in a hurry and even managed to take the flag from the hands of the coach.

"It's an unforgettable feeling when the flag is handed over. It's not the first time I've finished with him. First it happened at the Junior World Championships in Raubichi, the second time in Ufa after our return, and then again in Ufa. It's great!" said Lazovsky to Match TV.

The dispute for silver turned out to be much more intense. Yes, Loginov was mostly in front, but Babikov did not lag behind for a long time, and before entering the stadium he completely overtook his compatriot. But not for long. Alexander took advantage of his hitch on the turn, bypassed the inside radius and did not miss his own.

"Every morning I heard from Alexander that he was not ready, he would not go anywhere, he would not even have breakfast. On zeroing, you drove two laps around the exchange, and then you watch him drive away from you. This is Loginov's level, his talent... Of course, I'm tired. I thought that if he went to my back, it would be more convenient to go into a turn by moving to the left, but Loginov was already going to catch up with me. So when I moved to the left, I knew I would have to cut it out, but it wouldn't be quite civilized. I knew he was a little stronger at the finish line, so trying to beat him in this way would be unworthy," Babikov admitted.

In turn, Loginov, who started 20th, congratulated Babikov on the bronze medal and assessed his performance as a "solid four", but spoke ambiguously about his condition.

"My form is more complicated as it is: when I go to every race, I don't know how it will go for me. I am glad that I managed to cope with the wind at the firing lines today... I no longer believe that I will return to my best condition, but in any case, I can score the ones in which I enjoy myself on the final lap," the silver medalist admitted.

Slivko's Dominance and Sola's Failure

Surely, the women's mass start could have become even more spectacular if Kristina Reztsova had taken part in it, but the leader of the overall standings of the Russian Cup was forced to withdraw due to a pinched nerve. However, this did not affect the level of competition in any way. The race turned out to be extremely interesting, and the phenomenal density was evidenced by the fact that Ksenia Dovgaya, who became the fifth, lost only 17.5 seconds to the winner.

It was Victoria Slivko, who worked very smoothly both at the distance and at the shooting range. She took the lead after the second stage and did not let go until the very end, although she was not flawless in the final standing, breaking a series of 19 accurate shots. But Natalia Gerbulova, who fought with her on equal terms, could not take advantage of her misfire and fired twice.

"Ufa is a place of power. I'm very glad, you can't imagine. Indeed, I worked very hard, and here is the result that you want to see and strive for. I just don't have enough emotions, I can't express everything that is inside me. I guess I want to cry, scream with happiness – it's great... In fact, I felt quite confident in the first three laps. The shooting somehow inspired me... Then it got a little hard. But I'm happy that I coped with it," the biathlete admitted.

At the same time, Slivko did not follow the example of Lazovsky and take the Russian tricolor from the hands of her mentors, because she was afraid of Anastasia Egorova, who was only 12.2 seconds behind her. She had a great run and missed only two targets, and in the second standing she made no mistakes at all, thanks to which she beat a number of competitors at once. Including Anastasia Batmanova, who left the shooting range as Slivko's main pursuer.

"I'm starting to accelerate, it's visible and noticeable, I can feel it. From race to race, I get to my optimal state. I love climbing, on the very first one I caught up with Nastya (Batmanova – RT), "ate" her and ran away... I'll train for two weeks and then I'll go into battle, I'll run even faster," Yegorova said.

As a result, Batmanova was forced to fight for bronze, but she did not succeed here either. On the sixth lap she did not have enough strength, as a result, she let go ahead not only of the above-mentioned Egorova, but also of Gerbulova. And Dovgoy did not lose only by a miracle, being ahead of her by 0.3 seconds.

"When I was catching up with Batmanova, I had the impression that I could fight for a medal... I understood that if I got close to third place on the last run, I would have to cope with it at the finish. As a child, I accelerated a lot, thanks to my dad for that," Gerbulova said.

At the same time, the main disappointment was the performance of Anna Sola. The Belarusian entered the track under the second number, but made seven penalties at once and fell back to 16th place, 2:53.2 behind. Only Alina Kudisova lost more positions. The native of Sovetsky started 11th, but did not close as many as eight targets and was content with only 37th place.