December 16, 2010 (Pokljuka, Slovenia) – Austria’s Daniel Mesotitsch (Austria) claimed the men’s 20km individual race at the IBU Biathlon World Cup this morning for his third career win while breaking Norway’s winning streak. On the challenging 5-loop course, Mesotitsch finished in 52:05.6 with one penalty while Benjamin Wenger (SUI), a relative unknown, scored his best personal result also with one penalty, placing second at 58.4 seconds behind Mesotitsch. Serguei Sednev (Ukraine) finished third with two penalties.
The wind made it a diffficult day for many on the range and most averaged four or five penalties while the leaders were able to cope with the conditions and only single penalties.
Canada’s Brendan Green lead the North Americans with his third best result to date placing 21st overall with three penalties followed by team mate Scott Perras also with three penalties in 31st.
The US team was not at their best as Lowell Bailey was the top athlete in 48th with five penalties at 5:12.9 back while team mate Tim Burke struggled on the range as well to place 65th following 8 penalties.
Canada’s Nathan Smith was just behind Bailey in 50th and fellow Canuck Jean Philippe Le Guellec also fell victim to the conditions with seven penalties placing 69th. Jeremey Teela (USA) was 77th, Leif Nordgren (USA) was right behind in 78th and Russell Currier (USA) placed 88th.
Norway’s Tora Berger shot clean to edge out Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräisen, who was leading, for the win in the women’s 15km. In the last 700m Berger was down 2.1 seconds on Mäkäräisen but the latter missed a shot at the end allowing Berger to take the win. Marie Laure Brunet (France), down 35.3 seconds, picked up third after shooting clean.
American Sara Studebaker was on fire with only one penalty delivering a new personal best performance with her 21st place finish. This followed her previous personal best just last week in Hochfilzen, Austria where she finished 26th.
“I think today was a lot about luck. I was among the luckier ones,” said Studebaker in a US Biathlon release. “It was not so windy when I got to the shooting range so I really think that race was all about luck. I felt really good on the track as well. There were some strong competitors around me and that always motivates me. I know that I did not reach my full racing speed yet so to see those strong women around me really helps. It shows me what I still have to work on.”
Still with only one missed shot, Studebaker’s shooting was excellent on a day where competitors posted up to ten misses. Though wind was less of an issue than in the men’s race, the women struggled with very cold late-afternoon temperatures.
Canada’s Megan Imrie was the next best North American in 43rd with three penalties, while Laura Spector (USA) placed 60th with four penalties – three of which she accrued in her last standing effort on the range.
“I don’t know what was going on there, maybe I was just a bit tired,” said Spector.
After hitting a rock and destroying a ski Tracy Barnes (USA) placed 64th with three penalties, and Zina Kocher (Can) finished 84th with eight penalties. Canadian Rosanna Crawford did not start the event.
Full women’s results HERE.
Full men’s results HERE.
1. Daniel Mesotitsch (Aut) 1+0+0+0, 52:05.6
2. Benjamin Weger (Sui) 0+0+1+0, 58.4
3. Serguei Sednev (Ukr) 1+0+0+1, 1:21.2
21. Brendan Green (Can) 0+1+1+1, 3:16.1
31. Scott Perras (Can) 0+1+0+2, 3:50.0
48. Lowell Bailey (USA) 1+1+1+2, 5:12.9
50. Nathan Smith (Can) 1+0+1+1, 5:24.2
65. Tim Burke (USA) 0+4+2+2, 6:30.4
69. Jean Philippe Leguellec (Can) 2+3+1+1, 7:15.8
77. Jeremy Teela (USA) 2+2+1+1, 8:01.2
78. Leif Nordgren (USA) 1+3+1+1, 8:10.1
88. Russell Currier (USA) 2+2+3+3, 9:34.1
1. Tora Berger (Nor) 0+0+0+0, 42:47.0
2. Kaisa Mäkäräisen (Fin) 0+0+0+1, 1.8
3. Marie Laure Brunet (Fra) 0+0+0+0, 35.3
21. Sara Studebaker (USA) 0+0+1+0, 03:35.1
43. Megan Imrie (Can) 0+1+0+2, 05:05.1
60. Laura Spector (USA) 0+1+0+3, 06:52.6
64. Tracy Barnes (USA) 1+1+0+1, 07:34.5
84. Zina Kocher (Can) 1+1+3+3, 10:25.2
DNS Rosanna Crawford (Can)