Biathlon World Cham­pi­onships: Re­lay Bronze for Canada

SkiTrax - - Contents - By Nick Sta­ple­ton

by Nick Sta­ple­ton

The Cana­dian men's Re­lay Team cap­tured a his­toric bril­liant bronze at the Biathlon World Cham­pi­onships in Oslo, Nor­way from March 4-13, bring­ing a na­tion to its feet, while France's Si­mon Four­cade did much the same, tak­ing home four golds.

Mixed Re­lay

France's star an­chor Martin Four­cade bested a pack of four teams for a four-sec­ond win in the open­ing race of the Cham­pi­onships. It was Ukraine's team that had a nar­row edge of less than a sec­ond go­ing into the fi­nal leg, but Four­cade missed just once and was able to fin­ish ahead of Ger­many's Si­mon Schempp and Nor­way's Tar­jei Boe. In the first leg, Team U.S.A. got a big lift as Su­san Dun­klee charged to the front with Nor­way's Marte Olsbu only 1.6 sec­onds back. France's Anais Bescond was a dis­tant 35 sec­onds be­hind af­ter the first leg. But Nor­way's Tar­jei Boe was no match for Four­cade, set­tling for the sil­ver. Ger­many, mean­while, skied con­sis­tently with France and ended only 4.3 sec­onds back of the win­ners in third. The U.S. squad could not hold onto Dun­klee's heroic ef­fort and steadily dropped in the rank­ings to end in 10th at 2:19.6 be­hind the lead­ers. Canada was another 10 sec­onds be­hind in 11th.

Men's 10km Sprint

Yel­low-bib wearer Four­cade proved he was in shape for the Cham­pi­onships, ski­ing away with a 26.9-sec­ond win over 43-year-old Nor­we­gian leg­end Ole Ei­nar Bjo­ern­dalen. Third place went to Ser­hiy Se­menov of Ukraine. The topthree rac­ers shot clean, while fourth place went to Jo­hannes Thingnes Boe, who had to ski one penalty loop. U.S.A.'S Tim Burke had one miss and fin­ished 14th, while his team­mate Leif Nord­gren shot clean, but ended 18th. Bren­dan Green was the top Cana­dian in 35th.

Women's 7.5km Sprint

Tiril Eck­hoff of Nor­way shot clean to win the first In­di­vid­ual race by 15 sec­onds over France's Marie Dorin-habert, who also shot clean. Ger­many's Laura Dahlmeier, who was re­cov­er­ing from an ill­ness, was third with one miss. U.S.A.'S Dun­klee con­tin­ued her fan­tas­tic week and ended eighth de­spite a miss, while her team­mate Han­nah Dreis­si­gacker was 18th, shoot­ing clean. Ju­lia Ran­som was the top Cana­dian in 50th.

Men's 12.5km Pur­suit

Four­cade made it two In­di­vid­ual golds in a row with his Pur­suit win, best­ing Nor­we­gian leg­end Bjo­ern­dalen by 20.1 sec­onds. Nor­we­gian Emil He­gle Svend­sen took the bronze another 11.1 sec­onds back de­spite start­ing 1:16 be­hind. Svend­sen missed only once, while Four­cade had three misses and Bjo­ern­dalen had two. Nathan Smith was the top Cana­dian in 15th with two misses, and Burke was the top Amer­i­can in 17th with three missed shots.

Women's 10km Pur­suit

Ger­many's Dahlmeier shot clean to make up a 20-sec­ond hand­i­cap and win the women's Pur­suit. Dorothea Wierer of Italy was sec­ond, 38 sec­onds be­hind Dahlmeier, while Dorin-habert, who started the day in sec­ond, dropped to third with three misses. Eck­hoff, who started the day in first, dropped back to 17th af­ter seven misses. The top Amer­i­can spot went to Dun­klee, who missed one shot prone and three shots stand­ing and fell from eighth to 10th in the fi­nal. Canada's Rosanna Craw­ford fin­ished 27th with four misses.

Women's 10km In­di­vid­ual

French­woman Dorin-habert led her team­mate Bescond to the top spots of the podium. Both had one miss in the fi­nal stand­ing round, but their over­all ef­forts saw them fin­ish more than a minute ahead of Ger­many's Dahlmeier, who had two penal­ties. The top-three women also had the fastest cross-coun­try times. Craw­ford fin­ished 14th as top North Amer­i­can while Dun­klee placed 18th.

Men's 20km In­di­vid­ual

Four­cade kept his streak go­ing, ek­ing out a nar­row 5.1-sec­ond vic­tory over two Aus­tri­ans, Do­minik Lan­dertinger and Si­mon Eder, who both shot clean. Four­cade had the fastest cross-coun­try time by 30 sec­onds and grabbed his fourth gold of the Cham­pi­onships. Amer­i­can vet­eran Low­ell Bai­ley fin­ished in 15th, Cana­dian Scott Gow was 18th and Amer­i­can Nord­gren snuck into the top-30 in 27th.

4x6km Women's Re­lay

Nor­way's team of Eck­hoff, Olsbu, Syn­no­eve Solem­dal and Fanny Horn Birke­land won the women's re­lay ahead of France and Ger­many. Nor­way fin­ished 5.1 sec­onds ahead of France, who fin­ished the first leg more than a minute be­hind the lead­ers, but came within eight sec­onds by the sec­ond leg. Com­ing into the fi­nal leg, Olsbu had a 28-sec­ond lead over Dorin-habert of France, but the Nor­we­gian was able to hold off the world cham­pion, who skied the fastest fi­nal leg of the day de­spite two missed shots. The Amer­i­can team fin­ished the

day in 13th, while Canada faded to 15th af­ter a fan­tas­tic sec­ond leg by Craw­ford, who tagged off to the third leg with the race lead.

4x7.5km Men's Re­lay

Team Canada's Gow broth­ers, Smith and Green, stole the show with a bril­liant bronze as Nor­way hand­ily beat Ger­many, win­ning by 14 sec­onds. On the first leg, Chris­tian Gow handed off to Smith with just a 14.7-sec­ond gap to the race leader, Erik Lesser of Ger­many, while the U.S.A.'S Bai­ley was strong in sec­ond. Smith had a spec­tac­u­lar leg and moved Canada up to third, just 1.2 sec­onds be­hind the lead­ers. Smith's time was only beat by Si­mon Eder of Aus­tria. Scott Gow held his own on the third leg earn­ing the fifth-fastest time to main­tain Canada's third-place po­si­tion de­spite three missed shots in the stand­ing po­si­tion. An­chor Green de­liv­ered on the fi­nal leg shoot­ing clean to fin­ish a spec­tac­u­lar his­toric third just 23 sec­onds be­hind the first-place Nor­we­gians, who cap­tured the gold. “We have trained to­gether for years in Can­more, ev­ery day, year af­ter year, twice a day,” Smith said af­ter the race. “We are a real team, so that makes it so much sweeter.” France fin­ished a dis­ap­point­ing ninth with 10 misses.

Women's 12.5km Mass Start

Dorin-habert fed another de­feat to the Nor­we­gian home crowd, shoot­ing clean to best Ger­man Dahlmeier and Kaisa Makarainen of Fin­land, who both had one miss. With the win, Dorin-habert achieved six medals in the Cham­pi­onships, three of which were golds. Amer­i­can Dun­klee fin­ished her solid Cham­pi­onships in 11th place de­spite three misses, and her team­mate Dreis­si­gacker was the only other North Amer­i­can to qual­ify for the top-30, end­ing her biathlon ca­reer in 27th.

Men's 15km Mass Start

Twenty-two-old Nor­we­gian Jo­hannes Thingnes Boe was fi­nally able to break Four­cade's streak, tak­ing a home a solid vic­tory in the men's 15km Mass Start to the de­light of the par­ti­san crowd on the fi­nal day in Oslo. Both had one miss in the fi­nal round, but the Nor­we­gian was able to out­ski the French­man in the last kilo­me­tre, fin­ish­ing 2.8 sec­onds ahead. “My body was just empty to­day, and when I saw Jo­hannes come up be­hind, I felt that my chances were not so good,” Four­cade said af­ter the race. Bjo­ern­dalen com­pleted his Cham­pi­onships with another medal, this time bronze. Bai­ley of the U.S.A. skied into 10th with near-per­fect shoot­ing, his team­mate Burke was 12th, while Nord­gren did not fin­ish. No Cana­di­ans qual­i­fied for the fi­nal start.

(above) Su­san Dun­klee led a stel­lar first leg in the Mixed Re­lay and was eighth in the women's sprint for a superb week. (left) Martin Four­cade took home a mon­u­men­tal four golds. (op­po­site) Canada's (l-r) Bren­dan Green, Scott Gow, Nathan Smith, and Chri

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