Hochfilzen hosts IBU World Cup second stage

The world’s top biathletes travelled to Austria’s Pillerseetal Valley in Hochfilzen for the second stage of the IBU World Cup. The most challenging conditions seen so far pushed the competitors to new heights, and the crowds witnessed some outstanding shooting and skiing from the sport’s biggest stars.

Clean shooting was essential to win a medal in the 10k Men’s Sprint, as windless conditions put the emphasis firmly on shooting skill. Johannes Boe (NOR), Martin Fourcade (FRA) and Jakov Fak (SLO) all shot perfectly to win Gold, Silver and Bronze. Simon Schempp shot ELEY tenex biathlon to finish in 4th for the German team.

After this settled start the weather deteriorated for the Women’s event later that day; heavy snow hampered progress on the tracks and affected visibility on the range. Domracheva from Belarus excelled in the poor conditions to take Gold, followed by Kuzmina (SLK) and Wierer (ITA).

The Pursuits followed on Saturday. A strong wind accompanied the still falling snow to provide a real test of shooting skill. The dominant trio from Men’s Sprint again ascended to the podium, with Boe, Fak and Fourcade claiming Gold, Silver and Bronze. Schempp chased the leaders into fourth place, just missing out on Bronze by half a second.

The deep snow forced a slow pace on the tracks for the Women’s Pursuit. Kuzmina bettered her Silver from Sprint to claim the brightest medal with just one penalty, trailed by Mäkäräinen from Finland and Domracheva.

The final day saw the first relays of the season. The on-form Norwegian team fought through freezing temperatures of minus 10c and gusting winds to take the win. Germany broke a six year jinx as Schempp anchored the team into second, and France won Bronze. Beatrix from Team France said: “It was very hard to fight with the wind. It is a happy ending for us, especially Emilien Jacquelin. It is his first World Cup Relay and he brought us to the podium!”.

The French women also impressed as they won Bronze. Sochi champions Ukraine impressed to win Silver, and Germany proved their dominance with a comfortable win – their sixth in a row.

It was another great performance for the ELEY sponsored French and Slovenian Teams who shared six medals from the event. The French team will hope to improve on their tally as the World Cup now heads to Le Grand-Bornand in France’s Alpine region – good luck!