Gabriela Soukalova eked out a victory in today’s Women’s 15km Individual, while Martin Fourcade blew away the field in the Men’s 20km Individual.
Soukalova finished with two penalties, only 1.2 seconds ahead of Anastasiya Kuzmina, also with two penalties. Marie-Laure Brunet was in third, 16.2 seconds off the pace with one penalty.
It was a challenging day at the range for the North American women, with costly penalties taking their toll in the Individual format. Rosanna Crawford fared best with a 48th place finish, 5:11.6 back with 5 penalties. Annalies Cook was 50th (+5:33.7, five penalties), Susan Dunklee was 58th (6:03.9, seven penalties), Zina Kocher was 70th (+7:13.8, eight penalties), Megan Heinicke was 77th (+8:29.2, nine penalties), Hannah Dreissigacker was 80th (+8:51.3, eight penalties) and Megan Imrie was 85th (+9:32.9, nine penalties).
Everyone wanted to see how Fourcade would do following his struggles in the Mixed Relay, and he erased any doubts about his form and his mental toughness with a flawless competition. Fourcade hit all 20 targets, and recorded the second fastest time ; only Emil Hegle Svendsen was quicker, but he had four penalties. Fourcade’s closest competitor was Simon Eder, who with one penalty was 2:06.1 back. Daniel Mesotitsch rounded out the podium, 2:20.2 back with one penalty.
JP Le Guellec got his season off to an excellent start with a fourth place finish, 2:31.3 back with one penalty. Nathan Smith also had a great day, finishing 16th, 3:45.3 back with three penalties. Lowell Bailey also cracked the top 20 with a 19th place finish (+3:57.9, two penalties). Tim Burke was 60th, Jeremy Teela 76th, Scott Perras 81st and Leif Nordgren was 83rd.
The Women race again tomorrow with the Sprint competition, starting at 8:45 Pacific, 11:45 Eastern. Here is the start list for the competition.