Action and atmosphere in Antholz

A unique challenge faced the biathletes at the sixth IBU World Cup: high altitude, steep climbs, changeable wind, -14 temperatures, and the pressure of the last event before the World Championships.

The Sudtirol Arena in the Italian valley of Antholz-Anterselva, high in the Dolomites mountain range, hosted the latest instalment in the World Cup Calendar. Set 1,600 metres above sea level, the thin air increased the breathing and heart rate, leading to longer recovery times and difficulty staying on target. The wind gusted up from the valley into the open shooting range, buffeting the athletes and blowing shots wide. This added up to an unpredictable and thrilling competition, with some competitors falling victim to the elements as others thrived.

IBU world cup biathlon, individual men, Antholz (ITA)

Germany, France and Italy dominated the Women’s Individual and Relay races, taking Gold, Silver and Bronze in both. Dahlmeier took first place in the Individual, with Chevalier just missing out on the top spot 3.8 second behind, and Italy’s Runggaldier with her first podium in front of her home crowd. Dorin Habert was just 9 seconds off the podium in fourth place. These three nations again topped the leaderboard in the Relay, with France leading initially but Germany reeling them in with each leg.

The men’s events saw ELEY-sponsored France continue the team effort with two more second places. Fourcade took Silver in the Men’s Individual, with Shipulin in first and Semonov in third. The wind and altitude severely hampered the shooters, and only one man shot clean in the whole match – Leant Oblack from Slovenia shooting ELEY tenex biathlon.

The wind mercifully dropped for the Men’s Relay. In the final anchor leg Simon Schempp using ELEY brought home the Gold after a close battle with Norway’s Svendsen. They fired their last shots at the same time then raced to the finish, but the German’s greater ski speed saw him take victory.

France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet won the men’s second Silver in the Mass Start. He led until the final stages when Norway’s Boe, back from illness and keen to prove a point, passed him for the win.

The athletes now look towards Hochfilzen in Austria for the World Championships. With 11 events set over 9 days, and expectations running high, the stage is set for an epic competition and the highlight of the biathlon season.

IBU world cup biathlon, relay women, Antholz (ITA)