In the German Gelsenkirchen hosted the Christmas race at the biathlon, which was the last in the career of Anton Shipulin, OLE Einar Bjoerndalen and Darya Domracheva. Together with the Russian Ekaterina Yurlova-Part to please the fans failed, but the Norwegian and Belarusian won bronze. Bjoerndalen got on the podium thanks to Benedict Doll on the finish missed the legendary biathlete forward.


A beautiful end of the year

Christmas race in Gelsenkirchen traditionally crowns a year in the world of biathlon. Competition since 2002, is regularly held at the end of December and is a huge success among fans.

In terms of the date of the race the only exception was 2010, when the collapse of the roof at the “Veltins-Arena” the start was postponed to 27 Mar 2011.

Over the years, the Champions in Gelsenkirchen became such famous athletes like OLE Einar Bjoerndalen (four times), Michael Grice, Kati Wilhelm, Kaisa Mäkäräinen, Laura dahlmeier and others.

Repeatedly excelled in the German and Russian representatives. In particular, Ekaterina Yurlova-Part and Alexey Volkov won last year.

Another Christmas race was especially interesting to fans for several reasons. First, it was the last for the Olympic champion Sochi Anton Shipulin, who announced his retirement earlier in the week. Company in Gelsenkirchen he was the current champion of the tournament Yurlova-Part for which the current Christmas race became the fifth in career.

Shipulin also followed the example of another famous Russian biathlete Maxim Chudov, who in 2013 has also spent the last race in his career in Germany. While paired with Yurlova-Part Anton already had victory in the Christmas race. In 2012 the Russians are ahead of rivals such as Martin Fourcade, Marie Dorin habert, Kaisa Makarainen and Laura dahlmeier.

Also real excitement was caused by the return of Darya Domracheva and Bjoerndalen. They decided to speak in Gelsenkirchen married couple, and finally put a beautiful point in their careers. However, the young parents admitted that they do not actively practiced before the race, and urged not to expect from them good results.

All in all, the start had to leave ten pairs, two of which (Vanessa Hinz / Benedikt doll, Denise Herrmann / Simon Schempp) represented Germany. Pay attention to the powerful Italian Duo with the leader in the overall world Cup standings by Dorothea Wierer and the strongest biathlete in the country by Lucas Hofer.

The failure of the Russians and surprise from Bjoerndalen and Domracheva

Christmas race has traditionally been divided into two parts — the mass start and pursuit. In the first part formed the starting list of the race, and the lag at the start it was halved.

Shipulin and Ekaterina Yurlova-Part almost immediately left the number of couples who fought for the highest places. If Catherine, recently became the winner of the world Cup in Hochfilzen, the course looked decent, Anton was an obvious problem. It became clear why he was able to make a decision about retirement.

At the first shooting range, the Olympic champion, took the baton in second, made two mistakes, which the Russian Duo dropped to the eighth place. Above this plank domestic biathletes in the mass start to rise. Moreover, at some point, Shipulin and Ekaterina Yurlova-Part were the last.

As a result of the mass-start Anton and Catherine finished in ninth place with a minute gap to the leaders.

But Bjoerndalen and Domracheva was pleasantly surprised. On the last lap of the mass start OLE Einar came first after a great work on the firing line, but the finish still let younger Hofer and Emilien Galena.

Thus, the victory in the mass start was won by the Italians, but their advantage over the French was a little more than three seconds, in which the prosecution was divided into two. 6.1 seconds behind the leaders Bjoerndalen and Domracheva. Fourth finished the Austrians Dominik Landertinger and Lisa Theresa Hauser (+8,2). The rest was lost more serious.

Eighth place Shipulina and incredible denouement on the finish

The pursuit race was no less exciting and intriguing. The fight for the medals immediately identified five pairs: Italian, French, Austrians, Domracheva, with Bjoerndalen and Preuss and Schempp. Good start and Yurlov-Part Shipulin, who were two of the first line at zero and climbed to eighth place.

The first lost voltage racing Preuss, which is just behind the group of leaders. After Jacklin had four penalties. Error partner demoralized anais Bescond, which also had a couple of targets. In the end, the French from the second spot in the mass start fell to seventh in the pursuit.


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But with Bjoerndalen and Domracheva be wrong not in a hurry and led the fight for the medals with the Italians and the Germans. Only on the fifth turn of the experienced pair have made his first mistake — an error recorded in the passive Norwegian.

If his wife speed looked very decently and tried to fight on equal terms even with the leader of the overall world Cup Wearer, most 44-year-old athlete on the track was not easy, given the more than six-month pause after his retirement. But Bjoerndalen had to fight with much younger rivals on the last lap.

The ending of the race was incredibly intriguing. Hofer came to the last frontier, with the rank of a clear leader, but failed to cope with the emotions and had three penalties. However, Bjoerndalen with the Doll also made the mistake, and only Schempp with “zero” went in pursuit of the Italian.

It seemed that the German at the finish not so many chances against a faster opponent, but Simon managed to catch up with Hofer. However, Lucas did not give itself to overtake, and did not allow Germans to climb the first place.

But Bjoerndalen on the last lap was not able to fight with the Doll for the bronze. However, the double prize-winner of the Olympic games in Pyeongchang waited for the legendary Norwegian at the target and finished hand finished with a career biathlete, and he did it so that the third result was shown by the opponent. So Christmas race ended in a noble act of Doll.

Shipulin to finish his career on a high note failed. The Russians finished only eighth with an almost two minute gap to the leaders.