Russian Women Take Ruhpolding Relay
|08.01.2014, Ruhpolding / IBU Info/ JK|
|The Russian women, with seven spare rounds won the 4 X 6K relay this afternoon in 1:09:42.2, finishing 6.2 seconds ahead of Germany, who had one penalty and five spare rounds. Norway, despite two early penalties came back from over one minute back at one point to finish third, 16.7 seconds back. Ukraine finished fourth, 37.7 seconds back, followed by France and Belarus, 1:32.4 and 1:37.8 back.|
The 21 relay teams were treated to perfect conditions with no wind, comfortable temperatures and solid fast tracks.
There was a lot of good shooting in the first two legs which put most of the best teams as expected near the front of the pack. At the first exchange, the board read, "Ukraine, France, Italy and Belarus." Strong second legs by Germany's Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, Vita Semerenko and Belarusian Nadezhda Pisareva put their teams at the top of the order at the second exchange. Norway, which had been as far back as 1:12 in 19th position, climbed to within 42 seconds as Synnøve Solemdal took over for the third leg. Laura Dahlmeier held Germany's lead with another strong performance on the shooting range, while Russia's Irina Starykh was 9 seconds back after their standing stage. Solemdal continued to gain ground with five quick shots.
Norway Moves Up
At the final exchange, it was Germany and Russia side-by-side with Norway 30 seconds back, and Ukraine and Switzerland, seven and eight more seconds back, respectively. Russia's Olga Vilukhina and Germany's Franziska Hildebrand both shot quickly and clean in prone, holding their 1-2 positions. Ukraine jumped ahead of Norway's Tora Berger, when Berger needed to use a spare round. The standing stage saw Vilukhina use a spare round while Hildebrand cleaned. However, the Russian shot faster and left with a 4 second lead. Berger used a spare round and slipped back to fourth with 2K to go. Berger quickly got past Semerenko and the podium was set.
The Russian women were all happy with their effort, both personally and that of the team. Olga Zaitseva missed Oberhof to get in some extra training. She admitted that she was happy with that training and felt bad for those who were battling the elements. "I missed Oberhof and I am really happy about that. I think my good work last week helped me this week and in the next World Cups."
Vilukhina said she had plenty of information on the last loop and just focused on her effort to stay ahead of Hildebrand. "I really concentrated on my race and gave all of my effort on that last lap."
Hoping for Podium
Despite missing Andrea Henkel today, Sachenbacher-Stehle was optimistic about their chances. "I hoped we would be on the podium, but this is biathlon and anything can happen. Still, we did our best and I am happy to be on the podium."
Despite a bad start, the Norwegian women ended up third. Solemdal commented, "I did not watch the first two legs, so I had no idea we were so far back. I do not worry about who is around me. I just did my race."