The best result of the Polish relay in 12 years
The tricolors were among the favorites of Sunday’s struggle, largely because their most dangerous rivals – the Norwegians – did not decide to field the strongest team. The victory of the French is mainly due to two figures. In the first leg, Fabien Claude had an advantage of over half a minute, while the third stage belonged to Anais Chevalier-Bouchet, who regained the lead after Quentin Fillon Maillet ran the penalty round. With World Cup leader Julia Simon on the last stage, the French team could already celebrate their ninth victory in the mixed relay at a World Cup event.
France won with an advantage of 28 seconds over the relay team of Italy. Didier Bionaz, Tommaso Giacomel, Dorothea Wierer and Lisa Vittozzi, unlike the winners, avoided the penalty round, but turned out to be weaker on the route. Giacomel will leave Pokljuka with beautiful memories. After two great individual starts on Sunday, he recorded the best time of his stage. This meant that Lisa Vittozzi had enough margin over Elvira Oeberg in the final stages and the Swede had to be content with only third place. The culprit of such a scenario was Martin Ponsiluoma, who was running the penalty round in a prone position. The other members of the Swedish team – Jesper Nelin, Mona Brorsson and the aforementioned Oeberg – had much better sights, as they only missed once in total.
It was a successful day for the Swiss national team. After the third place in the super-mix, the mixed relay of this country was also in the forefront, and the phenomenal finish of Lena Haecki-Gross will remain in the memory of the fans for a long time. The Swiss seemed to be in a losing position, and yet she overtook Denise Herrmann-Wick with the last of her strength, pushing the German team to fifth place.
Only in sixth place were the Norwegians, who started without the brothers Boe, Sturla Laegreida or Marte Olsbu Roeiseland. Johannes Dale turned out to be the weakest link, he covered an additional 150 m after shooting in the stance, standing on the second stage. Karoline Knotten also performed below expectations, giving up the substitution with a one-and-a-half-minute gap – too big for Ragnhild Femsteinevik to catch contact with the leaders.
Behind Norway were the Czechs and…. Poles! The eighth place is the best result of the White-and-Reds since February 2011, when the relay team composed of Agnieszka Cyl, Weronika Nowakowska, Tomasz Sikora and Łukasz Szczurek took seventh place.
Already the performance of Jan Guńka heralded that the final result may positively surprise the fans. The young Pole was a good shooter, he took a good shot during both visits, but most importantly, he bravely kept to the lead on the route. Thanks to this, he started in a sensational fifth place for the last lap. The final 2.5 km in his performance was not as good as he admitted after the run, he was running out of strength. Marcin Zawół started the route as ninth, a minute behind the leader. The second of our junior world champions used only one extra cartridge and was overtaken by only three rivals. At the halfway point, the Poles were in twelfth place.
Kamila Żuk quickly made up for the losses and advanced to the top ten. Good shooting and a great run (the best time of the second lap!) meant that in the classification of the competitors competing in the third shift, the Polish woman had the third result, winning i.a. with Dorothea Wierer. Żuk reached the finish line of her episode in ninth place. Jakiła, like Zawół and Żuk before, missed only once, ahead of the Bulgarian relay team, which was sliding down the classification, and crossed the finish line in eighth place.
In total, the Poles missed only five times, which is the second result in the stake. Only the Belgians were better, who needed 42 rounds to knock down 40 pucks.
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