Another Big Crowd
A spectacular Saturday for biathlon: clear skies, little wind and another wildly enthusiastic crowd.
Dorin Habert was the early leader with a clean fast prone, but two standing penalties pushed her out of podium contention. One by one the Czech athletes were cheered and responded with single penalties by Vitkova and Soukalova. Vitkova looked like she had a chance to win, skiing the last loop quite fast to take the lead for a couple of minutes.
Dahlmeier and Hildebrand
Then it was time for the German women. Hildebrand and Dahlmeier continued their good shooting from last month, with both shooting clean. Dahlmeier who had her first career podium with a third place in the Antholz sprint moved took no chances today, flying around the tracks with confidence to cross the finish line with in first position. Hildebrand, who had been the momentary leader, was just a second slower, pushing Vitkova back to the third spot. Domracheva, despite two penalties, made run at the top three with a strong last loop going from 36 seconds back after standing to 23 seconds back at the finish, just short of the top three.
Smiles for Dahlmeier
Dahlmeier was all smiles after her first win. "I thought it might be a great day when I woke up. It was nice outside; I felt good; but on the tracks, no so strong that I could win the race. So I am very happy to have won...I have dreamed about this since I was a junior. I always said that I wanted to go to the World Cup and win."
She added that her injury and missing the competitions was a blessing in disguise. "I think it is positive to not have so many races. I am still fresh...I thought it would be very hard to win this season and especially not this early in February."
Her teammate Hildebrand was just as happy with her first podium. "It is amazing. I felt a little tired from the relay, so I said I would just see what would happen today...The last loop was hard; I am happy to reach the podium. I remembered this place form the World Championships when it was very cold, so it was nice that there was no wind and I had warm fingers today."
Vitkova who is now fourth in the World Cup Total Score said that the change in coaches but also her teammates helped her to be better this season. "He brought new ideas, but we also have a very good team atmosphere, everyone supports everyone else."
Sprint Women (7,5 km):