The Czech Republic team of Veronika Vitkova, Gabriela Soukalova, Zdenek Vitek and Ondrej Moravec got off to a winning start with a victory in yesterday’s season opening mixed relay competition. The gusty conditions played havoc on the shooting range, with every team but two spending time in the penalty loop.
The competition looked like France’s to lose from the beginning, and it all fell apart in the final shooting as the usually automatic Martin Fourcade cracked in the final shooting stage. Fourcade entered the range with a minute lead over Moravec and Tarjei Boe of Norway, but promptly missed his first four shots. Fourcade hit his fifth shot, and his sixth, but after missing with his seventh he forgot to load his eighth and final shot. Instead he skied off for the penalty loop, and was assessed a two minute penalty for failing to take all 8 shots, as per section 5.5(c) of the IBU Disciplinary Rules.
Both Moravec and Boe took advantage of Fourcade’s misses, and slipped ahead of him on the final loop. Moravec continued on to finish 10.2 seconds ahead of Boe, while the penalty to France dropped them back to 5th place. The Ukraine was third, just ahead of Italy and 1:11.2 behind the Czechs.
The Canadian team of Megan Imrie, Zina Kocher, Scott Perras and the very impressive Nathan Smith were 11th, just in front of the U.S. team of Annalies Cook, Susan Dunklee, Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey.
The next competition at IBU World Cup 1 is the Women’s Individual on Wednesday, starting at 8:15 Pacific, 11:15 Eastern.