With yesterday’s sprint race in Ruhpolding, Tiril Eckhoff continued her winning streak and won the yellow jersey for the first time in her career along with her eleventh World Cup victory. Half a minute later, Hanna Oeberg won second place ahead of Dorothea Wierer whose third place did not allow her to defend her World Cup leadership.
Yet again, Tiril Eckhoff demonstrated the outstanding shape she is in this winter. With this victory, she has won five of eight races since December 15th. The previous six gold medals took her nearly five years to win. “Yellow is my favorite color,” grinned the Norwegian in a good mood after the race. The 29-year-old had to wait a long time before she could finally wear the yellow jersey. “Today was a perfect day for me. The conditions were very good. When you succeed, you have more self-confidence and then you can hit the targets in any weather.”
Oeberg overcomes her illness and comes in second place
For the second time this season, the Swede Hanna Oeberg got second place right behind her pursuer in Hochfilzen. Along with 20 other competitors, she did not miss a shot and raced well. Before the race, I knew that in Ruhpolding, you not only cannot miss a target, but you also have to be fast – both on the track and at the shooting range. I was able to put that into practice that quite well.” She was not terribly upset that she was not able to overtake Tiril Eckhoff. Primarily she was happy that she has overcome her illness from before Christmas and is now nearly in top shape. She said, “Now I am back to where I was last winter and that is, of course, where I want to stay.”
Wierer lost the yellow, but kept the red
Although she made third place on the podium, she had to hand the yellow jersey over to Eckhoff. As she reported afterwards, she was still quite satisfied, “Yesterday I did not even know if I would be able to race today because, like in the summer, I had spinal disc problems. For that reason, it was really good that I shot error free twice. But in the third round, I felt that it was no longer going so well.” When will she get the yellow jersey back? “Tiril is currently so good. I have to hit every target myself and hope that Tiril misses the mark.” It’s a consolation that she gets to keep the red sprint-jersey with a 35 point advantage.
The Belarusian Hanna Sola caused a sensation. Even though she missed the podium, she might be the happiest athlete of all. With her fourth place, she improved her best World Cup results by a sensational 26 places. Her 30th place in Hochfilzen yesterday was her previous highest ranking to date.
Vanessa Hinz: Came in eighth place without missing a shot
She did not come in very far ahead, but her 8th place was her best result this season, “I am totally relieved, I don’t even know when the last time was that I didn’t miss in both rounds. Finally I was able to compete the way I perform during training.” Before the race, she put herself under pressure because she knew she could not afford to miss a shot given her current skiing stamina. On the other hand, the spectators who cheered her on enthusiastically did not make her nervous, “I try to absorb the atmosphere here on my home track. It gives me energy.”
The second local star, Franziska Preuß, who also did not miss a target both shooting bouts, was also pleased with her results. That she was not in prime racing shape after her illness was already clear before the race, “While skiing, I still feel how hard the race-pace is for me.”
A setback for Denise Herrmann
Denise Herrmann had the hardest time with today’s results. “Three shooting errors are just too many. When you miss the first shot, you know that you can’t miss another. That might have made me insecure. Maybe I went into the race too quickly.” In the end, she ranks 19th, which is a small set-back based on her latest results that she can make up for with a good pursuit race on Sunday.
Of the other three German starters, only Karolin Horchler could enter the point range placing 38th. Maren Hammerschmidt placed 43rd, “I am pleased with my shooting, but the skiing is tough.” Janina Hettich came in 45th place.