January 13, 2011 (Ruhpolding, Germany) – Russia’s Olga Zaitseva battled through torrential rain and sloppy racing conditions on Thursday to win the women’s 15km Individual race at the IBU World Cup in Ruhpolding. Zaitseva, who was one of only three racers to shoot clean on the day, grabbing the ninth win of her career, and first of the season, in a time of 41:46.1.
“I felt very good today, [I] had a good performance today both on the shooting range and skiing,” said Zaitseva in an IBU report, “Starting early was a big help. It maybe was a little bit easier for me than some of the athletes who started later. I also had good skis for this kind of weather.”
The rain, which began early in the morning and persisted throughout the competition, made the snow incredibly slushy, namely on the downhill portion of the course.
“The downhill was not the best part of my race today,” said Andrea Henkel of Germany, “In the final loop, I went out with 6 seconds to make up. By the top of the hill, it was 5 seconds; I knew when I left the shooting range that if I did not have the lead by the top of the hill I would never have it.”
Henkel grabbed her second silver medal of the season, shooting clean in all four stages for a time of 42:00.6, and Sweden’s Helena Ekholm took the last podium spot also with clean shooting and a time of 42:23.5.
Megan Imrie of Canada posted the top North American result placing 35th – a career-best for the 24 year-old Alberta native who missed just one shot on her way to a finishing time of 47:17. “I knew shooting would be critical because of the difficulty of the course and the insane amount of water dumping from the sky,” said Imrie who hails from Falcon Lake. Man. in a Biathlon Canada release, “Shooting is always the difference for me. Finally today I realized I don’t have to think about each target, but I just have to see every target and it worked out.”
Melanie Schultz, also from Canada, placed 70th after a 2-miss performance, and Zina Kocher hit 11 of 20 to finish 82nd.
The top US biathlete of the the competition was Sara Studebaker, who made 17 of her 20 shots to finish 55th. Fellow American Haley Johnson finished 62nd with 4 misses and a time of 50:21.2, and Laura Spector, who is coming off a record performance in the previous world cup, placed 67th after hitting 15 of 20 in the range.
Full Results HERE.
1. Olga Zaitseva, RUS (0+0+0+0) 41:46.1
2. Andrea Henkel, GER (0+0+0+0) 42:00.6
3. Helena Ekholm, SWE (0+0+0+0) 42:23.5
35. Megan Imrie, CAN (0+1+0+0) 47:17.0
55. Sara Studebaker, USA (0+2+1+0) 49:14.7
62. Haley Johnson, USA (1+0+1+2) 50:21.2
67. Laura Spector, USA (1+2+0+1) 50:49.4
70. Melanie Schultz, CAN (1+0+0+1) 51:02.1
82. Zina Kocher, CAN (3+2+2+2) 54:27.6