Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic claimed her third World Cup victory and her second victory in a row yesterday with a two-penalty performance in the women’s 10K pursuit. Russia’s Olga Vilukhina finished second, with three penalties, 7 seconds back. Tora Berger of Norway finished third, with two penalties, 14.8 seconds back.
France’s Marie Dorin Habert finished fourth, 21.6 seconds back, 1.8 seconds ahead of Germany’s Miriam Gössner, with three penalties. Her teammate, Laura Dahlmeier finished sixth, 31.3 seconds back.
Moderate snow accompanied by wind that cut across the shooting range was what greeted the women this afternoon. The snow slowed the tracks and the wind made shooting a bit tricky. In the first prone, the top five shot clean led by Soukalova and Vilukhina. In the second prone, the top two missed a shot, but held their lead, with Vilukhina in front, over Semerenko and Mäkäräinen, who were 13 seconds back
Things sorted a bit in the first standing, as Semerenko remained clean and Soukalova still had just the earlier penalty. They left 1-2, with Soukalova 7 seconds back. In the final standing stage, Soukalova had a single penalty, while Semerenko had to run three penalty loops.The battle for the win would be between the Czech and the Russian Vilukhina who were separated by just nine seconds as the left for the final 2K loop. However, Soukalova extended her lead to 12 seconds with 1.1K to go and maintained her lead to the finish.
Soukalova compared her win today to her first win and three podiums in Pokljuka last December. « My feelings are similar; that was a shock and so was today. So maybe they are same as then…This is great motivation for next season. » She admitted that the new snow helped. « It was a little faster than before; it was great weather. I was only little afraid of the shooting. »