Kuzmina celebrates her first victory in Ruhpolding
The Slovakian Anastasiya Kuzmina makes her last season into a true winner’s round by winning the women’s sprint race in the Chiemgau-Arena without any shooting errors. The currently highest ranking athlete in the discipine, Lisa Vittozzi also did not miss a shot and came in second. The Hanna Oeberg from Sweden came in third, repeating her third place win in Oberhof. The best German racer was Laura Dahlmeier, who achieved ninth place.
Anastasiya Kuzmina does not regret that she decided to complete her biathlon career through the end of the season. She decided to finish the season after her first three World Cup races. The victory in the mass start in Nove Mesto convinced her to go through with the last three months of race stress. She was, therefore, all-the-more pleased to celebrate her first victory at the Chiemgau-Arena. “So far I have never been extraordinary in Ruhpolding. Now I am so very happy,” said the Slovakian biathlete. She also stated, “Today everything was perfect: no wind, perfect skis and a great feeling.” She improved her sprint rank to third place and her overall ranking to fourth place. If she continues at this rate, the three time Olympic gold medal winner will be amongst the top medal candidates.
Also amongst these candidates is Lisa Vittozzi, who is continuing her upswing and won second place after two victories in a row. She did not, however, put herself under pressure by the last two victories. “I don’t have a secret for success. I have a calm nature and I remain realistic. I did everything the way I usually do and could fully concentrate on the race.” Even the masses of spectators and their proximity did not bother her. Like Kuzmina she did not miss a shot and was the second fastest after Kuzmina. “Today everything went nearly ideally. Therefore I am really happy with second place as well.”
The third athlete on the podium was Hanna Oeberg. For her the medal is simply a logical result of the last few weeks. For the sixth time in a row she is amongst the top ten, where she has achieved third place every second race. For the Swede who often trains at the Chiemgau Arena with her trainer Wolfgang Pichler, Ruhpolding is nearly a second home. “By now the region is very familiar to me and I really like it here in the Chiemgau area. I feel really comfortable here.” I am really happy about how my season is developing. In contrast to her trainer, “Wolfgang is also happy, but he is never really satisfied.”
Yesterday Marte Roeiseland was the best with one shooting error and gained fourth place as she did in the sprint in Oberhof. The World Cup leader, Dorothea Wierer also only missed once – which was once too often to win a medal. The French women’s team offered a strong team performance: Anais Bescond fourth, Anais Chevalier und Justine Braisaz simultaneously seventh.
This was not quite the case for the German team. Some aspects went very well, in other areas there is room for improvement. Before the race, hopes were set on Laura Dahlmeier, who however, felt that she was off kilter after the first few meters. “I was totally motivated and was really looking forward to the race, but it was really hard. Every once in a while I had to slow down.” She was obviously spent at the finish line. Her illness shortly after Christmas is clearly still affecting her. Thus, her insight that she has to work herself free step by step. None-the-less, she was the best German coming in ninth place.
Franziska Preuß was the happiest member of the German Ski Federation even though she arrived one place behind Laura Dahlmeier. “I was looking forward to the race in my home area. I was super motivated. It was a lot of fun. The conditions were perfect, no wind, great skiing.” Her missed shot was darn close, “I felt my former power coming back.”
Even though the third best German came in 17th, Denise Herrmann was close to the top 15, but fell short of the half World Championship norm. The two misses in Oberhof might have been sufficient there, but in Ruhpolding it was one miss too many. Franziska Hildebrand was sick over the New Year holiday and was, therefore, satisfied coming in 18th. “I can notice an upwards trend in my skiing. On my tenth shot, I had stopped to think, and it was gone.” That’s all it takes to lose 8-10 places. Karolin Horchler came in 19th and was thereby the fifth German in the top 20. A great result for the team. Vanessa Hinz, who also returned to the World Cup after recovering from an illness, still feels her skiing deficit, had two shooting errors and came in 38th.