Germany won the women’s relay in 1:06:27.8 this afternoon at le Grand Bornand,
with a strong three-spare-round shooting performance. Ukraine, with four spares
edged Norway, 23.3 seconds back to Norway’s 23.8 back. The Norwegians used ten spares. Surprising Canada finished fourth, 1:35.8 back, followed by France, 1:43.8 back.
The great weather of the past two days continued today as 23 teams started the women’s relay. Just as in training, the wind was non-existent and the sun was shining out on the tracks, but the shooting range remained in the shadows. Still the calm conditions made shooting easy especially after some of the recent wind-blown competitions. Switzerland’s Selina Gasparin controlled the first leg, with 10-for-10 shooting, followed by Germany. The Swiss faded in the second leg as Germany’s Andrea Henkel shot clean and took the lead tagging Franziska Hildebrand 10 seconds ahead of Norway’s Synnøve Solemdal. Canada, after two strong legs and just two spare rounds was in third position with home team France in fourth but 32 seconds off the pace. Hildebrand continued to build the lead for her team, keeping Norway over 30 seconds back, while Ukraine continued to move up and was in third at the exchange, after a strong leg by Valj Semerenko moved them ahead of the Canadians.
The anchor legs pitted Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier against Norway’s Tora Berger and Ukraine’s Olena Pidhrushna in what looked like the battle for the podium. All three shot clean in prone, with the positions remaining the same. In standing Dahlmeier dispensed with the five targets quickly and headed to the finish line to claim the victory. Pidhrushna hit five consecutive shots but Berger used two spare rounds, giving Ukraine a 9 second lead as they left the shooting range. Berger closed the gap over the final 2K loop, making a final push near the finish line, but stayed in third place behind Ukraine.
Henkel commented on the team’s good shooting. « It is good to not have so many spare rounds. It makes it much easier when you go out on the tracks: you have a lot more energy. » Leadoff leg Franziska Preuss added, « I think the difference between our second place last week and this week was the shooting, with only three spare rounds. »