Tough day for Canadian women in World Cup relay

CANMORE, Alta. - Norway continued to dominate the biathlon World Cup in Canmore, Alta., winning the men's relay in frigid conditions Friday for a third gold medal.

Johannes Thingnes Boe, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen and Lars Helge Birkeland, who finished first, second and fourth respectively in the previous day's 15-kilometre race, joined Erlend Bjoentegaard to claim victory in the 4 x 7.5 relay.

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France finished second ahead of Russia in third at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

The Canadian team of Christian Gow and Scott Gow of Calgary, Jules Burnotte of Sherbrooke, Que., and Brendan Green of Hay River, N.W.T., was fourth after two legs, but faded to finish 10th.

The women's 4 x 6k relay was won by Germany later Friday, with Norway in silver position, and France claiming bronze in a close race to the finish with Italy.

Canada's Sarah Beaudry, Emma Lunder, Megan Bankes, and Rosanna Crawford were unable to finish the event.

“The first loop I was relaxed and gliding well at the front of the pack” says Beaudry, of Prince George, who finished 34th in Thursday's short individual race. “But it didn't go well in the range at all”.

Tiril Eckhoff of Norway won the women's 12.5k on Thursday.

Arctic temperatures in Alberta have forced organizers to reschedule and shorten races in Canmore. The biathletes have been racing with covered faces, or at least with tape covering their noses and cheeks.

Biathletes carry an additional three rounds of ammunition in relays. The Norwegians commented Friday that windchills ranging around minus-25 made it difficult to handle the extra bullets.

The remaining mass-start races of 15k for the men and 12.5k for the women have been switched to sprints of 10k and 7.5k respectively, and will run Sunday.

The relay was the final race of Green's career. The three-time Olympian, who won a world championship bronze in the 2016 relay, retired after 11 years on Canada's biathlon team.

“Today was special,” Green said. “I tried to have a great race but also let all the little moments sink in. It's been a great career with lots of amazing years, experiences, and people, which is what I will remember.”

The 32-year-old and Canadian teammate Crawford, who is also retiring after this season, will be married in August.

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