Canada climbs to 11th in women's relay in Oberhof

Canada’s women’s biathlon team posted its best World Cup result of the season Saturday in Oberhof, Germany, finishing 11th in the 20-team event.

The Canadian team – Nadia Moser of Whitehorse, Emma Lunder of Vernon, Megan Bankes of Calgary and Prince George’s Sarah Beaudry – completed the 24-kilometre course 3:23.5 behind the gold medalists from Germany.

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Germans Vanessa Hinz, Janina Hettich, Denise Herrmann and Franziska Pruess celebrated their win on home soil in front of an empty stadium with fans prohibited because of the pandemic. Germany took the lead after anchor skier Preuss cleaned her standing targets to head into the final segment before the finish. They went penalty-free and used just five spares in eight shooting bouts.
Belarus used nine spares and also went penalty-free,  stopping  the clock 17.9 seconds behind Germany. Sweden (0+9, +35.7) took bronze.

Canada was in 12th place when Moser tagged Lunder. Lunder picked up four positions after cleaning her standing targets and was seventh at the second exchange, where she tagged Bankes. The Calgarian equalled Lunder’s shooting performance and used just one spare to knock down 10 targets. Bankes worked her way up as high as fourth place after a rapid 5-for-5 shooting display while standing and the Canadians were sixth, about a minute off  the lead, when Beaudry was tagged to begin her six-kilometre race.

Beaudry struggled in her prone round and went through all three spares and was forced to ski one 150-metre  penalty loop, which dropped her another minute behind the leaders. The 26-year-old Caledonia Nordic Ski Club alumni had two misses while standing but needed just two spare rounds to leave the range without further penalty to help solidify her team’s 11th-place result.

"It's hard being the weak link on the team but I am so proud of the amazing races my teammates put together today,"said Beaudry. "I am thankful to have them here supporting me on the good days and the bad days. Now it's time to get ready for another chance next week."

Canada used 15 spares and had just one penalty. The three medal-winning teams, as well as 10th-place Finland and 12th-place United States, were the only teams to avoid shooting penalties.

Racing resumed Sunday in Oberhof with the men’s and women’s mass start races. Lunder, the only Canadian to qualify, finished 16th, 58.6 seconds behind gold medalist Julia Simon of France.  Johannes Thingnes Boe won the men’s 15 km mass start.

The BMW IBU World Cup tour moves to Antholz-Anterselva, Italy next week for individual, mass start and team relay events. Last February in Antholz at the world championships, the Canadian women (Lunder, Bankes, Moser and Emily Dickson of Burns Lake) finished ninth in the relay.




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