Ann Kristin Aafedt Flatland recorded the first World Cup victory of her career in the 7.5 km Sprint competition. Flatland skied a fast final lap to knock Magdalena Neuner off the top spot and drop Andrea Henkel into third place.
Flatland finished in a time of 23:29.5, with one penalty in the prone position. Neuner was only 5.7 seconds back with one penalty each in of prone and standing. Henkel, racing in bib 5, held the lead for much of the day after one penalty in standing but ended up 15.2 seconds behind Flatland.
The conditions at Oberhof were much improved for the Women’s Sprint, as the creeping fog that terrorized the Relay competitions and the Men’s Sprint had drifted away. In addition, the winds that were gusting across the range were now at the athletes backs, resulting in much improved shooting performances.
Laura Spector and Sara Studebaker of the U.S. enjoyed what U.S. team leader Bernd Eisenbichler called “the best day in the history of the U.S. women’s team.” Spector finished in a personal best 19th place (1:50.8 back, one penalty) and Studebaker was 40th (2:37.9 back, two penalties). With her 19th place finish, Spector qualified for tomorrow’s Mass Start competition, which will be the first time ever that a U.S. Woman has competed in a Mass Start.
The Canadian women continued to struggle, with Zina Kocher finishing 45th (2:48.3 back, four penalties), Megan Imrie in 49th (2:58 back, three penalties) and Melanie Schultz in 85th (5:43.7 back, five penalties).
IBU World Cup #4 concludes tomorrow with the first Mass Start competitions of the season. The Men start at 15:30 CET (start list) and the Women start at 18:15 CET (start list). Brendan Green and JP Le Guellec have qualified on the Men’s side, while Laura Spector is the lone North American qualifier for the Women.