Selina Gasparin and Lars Berger were the winners of today’s Sprint competitions in snowy Hochfilzen.
For Gasparin it was her first career World Cup victory, and also the first World Cup win for an athlete from Switzerland. It was a close one too, with Veronika Vitkova and Irina Starykh 1.2 and 2.1 seconds off the pace, respectively.
Three Canadians qualified for Sunday’s Pursuit: Rosanna Crawford (17th place, +47.1, two penalties), Zina Kocher (25th place, +1:02.8, two penalties) and Megan Imrie (35th place, +1:24.0, two penalties). Lanny Barnes was 65th, Susan Dunklee 66th, Megan Heinicke 70th, Hannah Dreissigacker 71st and Annalies Cook 79th.
It was a day for the veterans to shine in the Men’s Sprint, as Berger, in bib 7, took full advantage of good early conditions to ski away from the field. Despite two penalties he finished 13.6 seconds in front of Martin Fourcade, who shot clean. Ole Einar Bjorndalen was third, 15.3 seconds back with one penalty. Christoph Sumann shot clean and finished fifth, making it three guys older than 35 in the top 5.
JP Le Guellec has another strong performance, finishing 55 seconds off the pace in 13th. Other North American qualifiers for the Pursuit were Lowell Bailey (16th place, +1:02.2, no penalties), Tim Burke (24th place, +1:23.4, two penalties), Brendan Green (31st place, 1:39.9, two penalties) and Nathan Smith (48th place, +2:11.4, one penalty). Jeremy Teela was 65th, Sean Doherty was 99th, and Leif Nordgren did not start.
The first Men’s and Women’s Relay competitions of the season are tomorrow. The Women’s Relay starts at 2:30 Pacific, 5:30 Eastern. Canada is bib 13 and the USA is bib 17. The Men’s Relay is at 5:30 Pacific, 8:30 Eastern, with the USA in bib 11 and the Canadians in bib 17.