Top-10 events of Hochfilzen II

The Russian team opened its victory's score at the third world cup, which took place in Hochfilzen. The great performances of Olga Zaytseva, who took all the gold medals of the tournament and set the new country's record, Timofey Lapshin's breakthrough, Bjoerndalen's comeback to the podium, Svendsen's failures, and the meeting of the Russian team with its fans are in the Vyacheslav Sambur's report for Biathlonrus.com.

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Number and hero of the cup

Olga Zaytseva warmed up well at the second world cup and turned from being just great to incomparable. The competitors were left behind in the snow cloud, while Olga printed the victories one by one — sprint, pursuit and the mixed relay. The great rise in the total position (to top-4) and the new national record were the results of such a great performance. Zaytseva became a leader in the Russian rating of the world cup victories, with her 11 victories outstripping Olga Medvedtseva — 10, and Kukleva — 9.

Flash of the cup

The third world cup race in the Timofey Lapshin's carrier unexpectedly brought him a bronze medal. Gathering the weather luck, top athletes' mistakes and his own speed and accuracy the 23–years old newcomer ended up on the podium.

Boe and Fourcade, smiling at the top steps of the pedestal, asked who was the blonde guy from Russia, standing next to them. If Lapshin continues the same way the will know it very soon.

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Loser of the cup

Emil Hegle Svendsen has probably planned to spend the Christmas hugging the yellow bib, but it did not happen. The Austrian storm added to his bad luck.

54th position after the sprint — the Norwegian was lower only two times in his carrier. He rehabilitated himself in the pursuit winning back 30 positions, but his main competitors for the total scores managed to secure a great handicap.

Spurt of the cup

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Andi Birnbacher and Simon Fourcade started the pursuit far from the peloton's head; but met each other after the fourth shooting and performed a show. Fourcade gave up first, Bjoerndalen lost 0,3 seconds to Birnbacher in the finish spurt. All three of them did not feel themselves as losers and were really happy.

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Express of the cup

There were even greater performance from American Jay Hakkinen and Canadian Jean Philippe Legellek in the pursuit. Both of them started with the last numbers and made no mistakes at the shooting range. As a result they outstripped the dozens of the other biathletes. Legellek finished at the 8th place (winning 40 positions), Hakkinen — 9th (plus 36).

Renaissance of the cup

Helena Ekholm corrected her shooting, making only 2 misses for 30 shots, and speeded up. The results are the bronze and the silver podiums — the first podiums without Pichler. Another result is - Helena changed her mind to end her carrier after this season.

Team of the cup

Olga Vilukhina, Olga Zaytseva, Alexey Volkov, Anton Shipulin — the Russian mixed team was not ideal from the very beginning, but finished first spending only 5 extra bullets. Our girls passed the baton to the guys at the first place. Alexey and Anton secured the top position, showing the nerves of steel and the other skills.

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Quotation of the cup

«The best thing was to start the last lap knowing that the competitors 30 seconds behind. It is a first time I have had this situation. I just dreamed about it, as I have never run the last leg of the relays before. It is a great responsibility to finish the relay. But it is such a happy to finish it and win, you cannot compare it with anything else. To say the truth, it was really hard to wait for my leg. Now I understand the guys, who run the last leg. This is very hard from the emotional side.» (Anton Shipulin).

Meeting of the cup

On the Saturday's evening the management of the RBU, the coaches and the biathletes of the national team met their fans in the Leonhard hotel. They discussed everything — starting from the regional stadiums, finishing with the sportsmen's performance. Wolfgang Pichler was not shy and answered many questions from the fans. Ekaterina Yurlova presented her book of poems, the autograph-cards of the Hochfilzen's stars (especially Zaytseva's) disappeared right away.

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Conclusion of the cup

Three gold medals of the one cup and nine podiums in two weeks in Hochfilzen.

With the help of Zaytseva the women's team looks stronger, but the men's team — more harmonious. Let us put away the pessimistic thoughts and compare this year to the previous season — we had far less reasons to be happy then. We are progressing!

Vyacheslav Sambur for Biathlonrus.com