Soukalova Sweeps with Mass Start Win
|17.03.2013, Khanty Mansiysk / IBU Info JK|
|All Three Competitions to Czech Star|
|Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic pulled off a hat trick today as she won the season-ending mass start, with clean shooting in 38:22.4. she earlier won the sprint and pursuit competitions. Second went to Marie Dorin Habert of France, with one penalty, 11.2 seconds back. Kaisa Mäkäräinen of Finland flew through the finals 2.5K to claim third, with two penalties, 22.9 seconds back.
Fourth went to Russia’s Olga Vilukhina, with 2 penalties, 26.9 seconds back. Vita Semerenko of Ukraine finished fifth, with one penalty, 27.5 seconds back while Selina Gasparin of Switzerland had a season best sixth place, with one penalty, 51.9 seconds back.
Snow and Clean Shooting
Moderate snow fell throughout the competition, slowing the tracks and making parts extremely treacherous, and resulting in a couple falls in the first and second loops.
Seventeen women shot clean in the first stage, with Vilukhina leading the pack into the second prone stage. She picked up a penalty and the Semerenko sisters lead the group out of the stadium, with then only eight women clean and within striking distance of the leaders.
Soukalova Takes Charge
Vita Semerenko cleaned the first standing, as did Soukalova, but the Ukrainian took a 16 second lead as they headed out again. Dorin Habert was now up to third, even though she had a penalty in this standing stage. Vilukhina was just behind the French athlete in fourth position. By the time they reached the stadium Soukalova was alongside Semerenko. Standing side-by-side, Soukalova cleaned and left with a 14.8 second lead while Semerenko picked up a penalty and fell back to third as Dorin Habert cleaned and moved into second position. Mäkäräinen left well behind Semerenko but put on a big push in the final loop and moved up to third.
Soukalova was left speechless by her performance this weekend, "This is an impressive moment for me...perfect. I said yesterday that the win was the biggest shock of my life, but now I can say that again...this is the biggest shock of my life!"
Dorin Habert said this was her best season, because "I was consistently good, except for the World Championships...today the tracks were better than in the sprint, but the uphills were very deep with the new snow."
Makarainen only had one thing on her mind as she started the last loop. "I felt tired before the race today. But when I started the last loop and heard the gap between me and Semerenko, I knew that I needed to try. I was only thinking that I needed to be third today."