The German women’s relay team performed very solidly and came in third place.
The French team had a magical run from start to finish in the Ruhpolding snow-scape, resulting in a 11.5 second advance which appeared as less on paper than it was in reality. Julia Simon, Anais Bescond, Justine Braisaz and Anais Chevalier presented a sovereign front, not so much on the track, but certainly at the range. They were the most reliable markswomen. Having only to re-load four times, they could afford to ski more leisurely. Last year they demonstrated that they know how to win when they got the gold in the relay races in Oslo and Oberhof. It was just the least experienced first racer, Julia Simon, who remained cool and without a miss at the shooting range. She handed over to Anais Bescond even before Dorothea Wierer, “One always wants to be even better for the team than as an individual.”
Chevalier: We were optimistic
Justine Braisaz and Anais Chevalier were the anchorwomen for the first time and nerves arose, as they did not want to lose the pleasant head start. “I certainly pressured myself at the shooting range, but I was able to concentrate well.” After the race, Anais Chevalier said that, after the positive team results in the sprint we were optimistic and set our goals high”
Norwegians were true to the target
Synnoeve Solemdal was able to hand over for the Norwegians without a miss and was only 14 seconds behind. The weaker link was Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, who was just able to avoid a penalty loop but was nearly a minute behind her French competitor when she handed over to Tiril Eckhoff. The sprint world champion from 2016, who has not been able to reach the top 15 this year, had to re-load only once in the prone position and was the fastest of all the starters in the relay. She reduced France’s backlog down to 14 seconds. Marte Roeiseland entered the track as the anchor, “Stuck between France and Germany, I was not feeling comfortable. It really challenged me.” She was not able to reduce the lag behind France with Denise Herrmann behind her, she had to give it all she had to hold onto second place. As seen from outside, it seemed that the results were fairly clear after the final standing position shooting.
A few re-loads too many for the German Ski Federation Team
The German Ski Federation Team could not quite repeat their male colleagues’ results but the team was satisfied with third place. A few re-loads were probably unnecessary and cost them a better ranking. Vanessa Hinz clearly still had a hard time skiing and needed to re-load once per shooting bout. The delay behind the leading Italians was already 40 seconds after the first exchange. Hinz was, therefore, only partially satisfied, “I am slowly getting back in shape. Ahead of me the things were taking off, but I really had to fight hard on the track. The miss in the prone position was unnecessary and really bothered me.” Laura Dahlmeier was the best German on the range with one extra shot which she herself already saw in the black. She wanted to lift her rifle when she saw that the target had not yet fallen. Yet Dahlmeier was satisfied, “Skiing was better than in the sprint. I had power from the get-go, and the spectators gave me additional encouragement.”
Franzi: A tough fight with Tiril
Franziska Preuß almost raced too fast as felt inspired by the 22,500 spectators in the Chiemgau Arena. She had a hard fight with Tiril Eckhoff. She states that, “I was satisfied with the two re-loads in so far as I was able to push them in the cartridges quickly.” In the final round, she gave it her best and was able to hand over to Denise Herrmann third with nearly a minute’s advance in fourth place. In Oberhof Herrmann had to race two penalty loops as anchor woman. This time however, it was important not to have to do penalty loops. She managed this, but had to use up her share completely. That was one cartridge too many to make second place.
Sweden, Russia, and Slovakia far behind
Over a minute passed before the Swedish team crossed the finish line to come in fourth and pushed Russia and Slovakia to the next places. Particularly noteworthy was the Austrians’ performance. They were able to catch up several notches after the first relay team member, Katharina Innerhofer, had to complete two penalty loops. Julia Schweiger with two re-loads and Christina Rieder and Lisa Theresa Hauser who shot flawlessly caught up thirteen spots by the time they crossed the finish line. For a moment they were even sixth, until Anastsiya Kuzmina raced up from behind and passed Hauser. The Czechs, still third in Oberhof just managed ninth place.