Russia Edges Norway to Take Men’s Relay
|04.01.2013, Oberhof / IBU Info JK|
|Decisive Final Standing Stage|
|Russia’s Dmitriy Malyshko, outshot Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen in the final standing stage to claim the men’s 4 X 7.5K Relay tonight in 1:20:35.7. Norway finished 8.4 seconds back, while Germany was third, 39.3 seconds back.The Russian team used twelve spare rounds, while Norway had a penalty and eight spares and Germany had a penalty and nine spare rounds.
Tonight’s men’s relay was a repeat of the women’s relay as far as conditions went; wind, fog, warm but not so much rain. The salted tracks were the big exception, as they seemed much harder than last night.
As usual, the first leg was a sorting out of the top teams. Yet the wind played with the men a bit as Germany and Norway both picked up penalties pushing them down to fifth and ninth, respectively. Ukraine was at the head of the pack, followed by the Czech Republic and Russia, both about 19 seconds back. Ole Einar Björndalen took over for Norway and closed the gap a bit before the prone stage. Then he shot rapidly and was in first position. He looked like the Björndalen of a few years ago as he dropped the five standing targets just a rapidly. By the exchange, he tagged Erlend Bjoentegaard with a 25 second lead over the USA’s Tim Burke and Germany’s Erik Lesser.
The young Bjoentegaard needed just a single spare round in prone to stay in the lead, while Russia’s Anton Shipulin matched the Norwegian with one spare round and moved up to second position. Bjoentegaard did the same thing in standing, a single spare round to maintain a lead of just 1.5 seconds at the exchange. Shipulin needed two spare rounds and fell back behind Germany’s Arnd Peiffer as they left the standing stage. However, the Russian pushed hard over the 2.5K loop, regaining the second spot by the exchange, with Ukraine in fourth, just behind Peiffer. Suddenly, this had become a very tight competition, with the top four teams within six seconds.
Malyshko Holds Off Svendsen
Emil Hegle Svendsen masterfully cleaned prone in five shots to put a 14 second gap between him and Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko. Germany’s Florian Graf maintained third position, as they headed to the decisive standing stage. Svendsen needed three spare rounds to clean standing while Malyshko needed but one. The Russian took the lead by 10 seconds and was running with everything he had as Svendsen relentlessly went after him. Graf was safely in third position as they headed for home.