The early starters had a definite disadvantage due to the heavy snowfall because the snow let up during the race. Starting seventh, Miriam Gössner suffered as well. Three penalty loops from the standing position bout and slow conditions left her 23rd in race time and in 53rd place overall.
Things went better for the second German starter Franziska Hildebrand. She shot without error twice and was periodically in the lead. For her, the conditions were “alright.” Regardless, she gave her best in the race and made 6th place with less than a minute deficit – not a bad position for the pursuit race.
Mäkäräinen did not miss a shot
There was hardly any doubt about Kaisa Mäkäräinen’s pending victory. After two silver medals in Östersand and Oberhof, leading in the sprint world cup and a flawless relay race behind her, she was able to make up the lacking gold in her biathlon record. Not only was this Mäkäräinens first gold of the season, but also her first victory ever in Ruhpolding. Two error free shooting bouts were the foundation for her success. There was no way to catch up with her on skis today. She said, “I knew that one has to shoot a zero in Ruhpolding to win and so I concentrated entirely on the shooting. None-the-less, before the last standing shot I thought about what would happen if I missed. Luckily, the target fell.” The Finnish athlete was then on her way to victory. “In the last round, I gave all I had. Here there are barely any sections where you can rest a bit. And the snow was slow. It was a lot of work.” But, it was worth it. Mäkäräinen was clearly the fastest on the track and will start in the pursuit with a 22 second lead in the pursuit race.
Koukalova is focused on the World Championships
Gabriela Koukalova also did not have to do a penalty loop and was on the podium for the fifth time in a row. But she does not want to hear any more questions about defending the total World Cup lead. “Even if it is nice race in yellow, I have said this so often, and will say it one more time: This year I am focused on the World Championships.” Last winter she won one podium spot after another, but specifically in the World Championships in Oslo she left empty handed. The late start number of 64 was helpful this time. Koukalova said, “The longer the race went on, the faster it got.”
The Czech athlete is still wearing yellow
Laura Dahlmeier is also not focusing in the yellow jersey. The Partenkirchen native is concentrating on the World Championships in Hochfilzen and is steadily improving her form. “After the longer Christmas break, I am right back in race mode and feel really good. I am super happy to have gotten a spot on the podium. None of us can catch up with Kaisa.”
Even if Koukalova and Dahlmeier are not particularly interested, the Czech athlete is leading in total World Cup points by 533 points ahead of the Germans and 512 counting and Mäkäräinen only has four points less.
Similarly to Gössner, Dahlmeier’s her victorious teammates in the relay race, Vanessa Hinz, Franziska Preuß and Maren Hammerschmidt, did not have a good day. Hinz and Preuß each missed twice leading to 31st place for Franziska Preuß, who suffered from the remains of her illness in the slow snow. Vanessa Hinz was 35th. Maren Hammerschmidt had to do three penalty loops and landed on 39th place. That was clearly too much for a top placement.