Impeccable Lisa Theresa Hauser crowned mass start’s World Champion

Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser mastered the women’s 12 km mass start at IBU World Championships Biathlon 2021 Pokljuka, finishing in 36:05.7. Norway’s Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold finished second (+21.7) with one penalty, while her compatriot Tiril Eckhoff claimed bronze (+23.0) despite three missed shots.

Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff was the first on the shooting range, but she missed once, just as Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg and Italy’s Dorothea Wierer, who were among the main favourites for the win. It was Switzerland’s Elisa Gasparin who left the range in the lead, closely followed by defending champion Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roeiseland.

Hauser and Tandrevold cleared also the second prone, but Eckhoff took the lead with her powerful skiing. However, 27-year-old Hauser together with Latvia’s Baiba Bendika remained flawless at the next range, gaining almost 20 seconds gap.

Austria’s heroine kept the focus and knocked down all the targets in last standing to calmly secure her first World Champion title in Pokljuka.

Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi was also precise and with one prone penalty started the last lap in the second position. But she was no match for impressive Norway’s skiing. Tandrevold, Eckhoff, and Roeiseland raced past her and clashed in the final sprint. Tandrevold emerged silver, Eckhoff took the bronze, while Roeiseland had to settle for fourth place (+23.6).

Hauser was really happy with her first World Champion title: “It’s unbelievable. I had three times zero in the individual race and then the 19th shot was a miss, so before the last shooting today I told myself, ‘Lisa, calm down. It’s about the medal today. Don’t do the same miss like in individual race’. I knew I can shoot very well in standing. It was a tough day today on the track. The conditions were a little bit soft and not so fast, so I just put the rest of the power on the track, but everything worked out so well for me today. It’s just amazing to be here now as a World Champion. It’s history for Austria and its biathlon that a woman is winning gold. It’s just so beautiful and amazing to be the one who won it.”

Tandrevold enjoyed having the upper hand among Norwegians: “At first I was just trying to catch Marte and I saw we were coming closer to Vittozzi. When we passed her I thought this is going to be close, so we are fighting for silver, not for bronze and fourth place. I tried to be behind Marte and I was waiting for the finish sprint. Then I heard Tiril was coming from behind, and I got scared, because we train together every day and I never beat her in the sprint. I just felt I have to go and use my powers on the last two minutes and get the gap.”

“Two kilometres before the finish line, I realized I have the possibility for the medal. I don’t know where the energy came from, but I got really good energy in the last kilometres. Today I had a really really good shape, I had really good skies as well. It was a dream to go around there and I saw all the girls are getting tired. I was really eager to get a medal today. I had little bad shootings, I was really offensive and tried my best, so I am really pleased,” Eckhoff commented on her sixth medal in the last two weeks.

Vittozzi finished fifth and Germany’s Franziska Preuss sixth, 48.9 and 52.6 seconds back, respectively.

WOMEN, 12,5 KM MASS START

1. Lisa Theresa Hauser  AUT36:05.7 (0)
2. Ingrid Landmark TandrevoldNOR   +21.7 (1)
3. Tiril EckhoffNOR  + 23.0 (3)