Germany Takes Women’s Relay
|10.03.2012, Ruhpolding / IBU Info. Dept. JK|
|Team Effort Seals Win|
|Germany won the women’s relay Gold medal today in 1:09:33, despite one penalty by Magdalena Neuner. France took the Silver, 28.5 seconds back, with seven spare rounds. Norway with a strong last loop from Tora Berger won the Bronze medal, with twelve spare rounds, 39.5 seconds back.
Belarus in Fourth
Belarus was fourth, with six spare rounds, 41.2 seconds back, followed by Sweden, with five spare rounds, 1:05.2 back. Sixth went to Ukraine, with eight spare rounds, 1:20.5 back.
Bachmann Sets Tone
Today was possibly the most pleasant day of the week; perfect conditions for the women. As usual the first leg was a bit of a shake-out, finding out who would be fighting for the top spots early in the competition. Germany probably was the biggest surprise, as Tina Bachmann was excellent on the shooting range and strong on the tracks.
She battled until the exchange, bringing Germany to second position, just behind Marie Laure Brunet of France. These two led three more teams, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Russia who had separated from the rest of the field. The second leg was a match-up between Magdalena Neuner and Anastasiya Kuzmina. Neuner pushed hard on the first loop and paid with spare rounds in prone as Kuzmina shot clean. In standing, Sophie Boilley of France shot clean and got a slight lead on Kuzmina who used a spare round. Neuner was left on the penalty loop. by the exchange, it was Slovakia and France with Germany 10 seconds back. Russia was almost a minute off the pace in fourth position.
Top Three Unchanged
The top three stayed the same in the prone stage in the third leg, with only Anna Bogaliy-Titovets closing the gap to 39 seconds for Russia, but still in fourth. Miriam Gössner pulled Germany up to second before the standing shooting stage. Gössner shot well enough in standing to take the lead as France’s Anais Bescond needed three spare rounds to clean. At the final exchange, Germany had a 17.5 second lead over France as Ukraine had moved into third, 33 seconds back. Slovakia trialed another 22 seconds back in fourth.
Andrea Henkel started the final leg with a clean stage, maintaining a 25 second lead over France’s Marie Dorin Habert. Norway with Tora Berger shooting clean moved into third after prone but was 1:13 behind Germany. Several teams were within 15 seconds of Norway including Belarus with Darya Domracheva. Before the standing stage, the Belarusian had moved to Berger’s side setting up a battle in the final standing stage. Henkel cleaned standing to the roar of the crowd, sealing the Gold medal with France comfortably in second. Berger cleaned first, then Domracheva then Sweden’s Helena Ekholm, putting the Bronze medal to be determined on the tracks. The two battled around the 2K loop with Berger seemingly working harder to stay together, but eventually she won the battle for Bronze.
On The Tracks
Berger commented, “I was trying to go fast because I knew she was really strong. On the last uphill, I got a little ahead and took the chance to lead. I just tried to do my best and it worked out.”
Another person who was flying today was Bachman who said, “I felt like I had wings on the last loop. I could not get that one second in the final meters to tag in first, but I do not think that made much difference.”
Big Nerves for Gössner
Neuner, who many times has saved the German relay team, was saved herself by Gössner who said with a big smile, “This was the most important race of my career. Everyone want so to be on the relay…I was really nervous last night but today I was a little better when I go to the stadium. I am happy it worked out.”
The relay is a team effort and Neuner emphasized that in discussing her penalty.”We won Gold as a team and my individual performance did not matter that much in the end. My running is good but my standing shooting has not been as good as some other times. Still, I think I can catch another medal in the mass start tomorrow.”
The French women were beaming especially Dorin Habert who just missed a medal in the 15K individual. “I was very sad after that, but now I am happy again.”