(ISN) – ANTHOLZ, Ita.—A combination of rookies and veterans joined forces to crack the top-10 as Canada’s top biathletes competed in the men’s and women’s relays at a World Cup stop in Anthloz, Italy.
Led by rookie, Christian Gow, the Canadian men combined to post a ninth-place time of 1:19:12.8 in the men’s 4×7.5-kilometre relay. The 21-year-old Gow, who had a solid outing in his first full World Cup week, handed off to Brendan Green, of Hay River, N.W.T. The older Gow brother, Scott, skied the third leg before fellow Calgarian, Nathan Smith, battled through the deteriorating conditions to get the Canadians across the finish line in ninth.
“I am happy with today’s race. It has been a big learning experience these past three weeks on the World Cup, especially so in the relay competitions,” said Christian Gow. “I felt a bit better skiing today than I have lately, and I was able to keep it together on the range again. I’m happy with the place that I tagged in, but there were a couple things I wish I had done better. It has been a great experience racing so many World Cups, and I am looking forward to continuing to learn and improve in my abilities.”
Norway won the men’s relay with a time of 1:15:36.7. Germany was second at 1:15:53.1, while France captured the bronze with a time of 1:16:18.7.
The relay consists of each athlete skiing 7.5 kilometres (men), 6 kilometres (women) with two bouts of shooting. The first starter of each team begins in a simultaneous mass start with other participants, and complete their leg before handing off to the next teammate. Competitors in the relay each carry three spare rounds. If all five targets are not knocked down with the first five rounds, the spares may be used, which takes more time because they are loaded by hand.
The Canadians battled through difficult winds in the women’s 4×6 kilometre relay. Led by Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C., the Canadian team of Julia Ransom (Kelowna, B.C.), Rosanna Crawford (Canmore, Alta.), and Audrey Vaillancourt (Quebec), combined to post a 10th-place time of 1:22:18.0.
“I think we can all be proud of our efforts today! The wind was quite tricky with huge gusts coming from every direction,” said Ransom. “I learned that sometimes it’s just not worth losing time waiting for the wind to settle down. Days like today you have to gamble a little.
This was the first time us four girls have been a relay team together. This is a great starting block and I believe good things are going to come from this team!”
Germany won the women’s race with a time of 1:18:47.0. The Czech Republic was second at 1:19:22.7, while the Ukraine team finished third at 1:19:33.0.
Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Results:
1. Norway, 1:15:36.7; 2. Germany, 1:15:53.1; 3. France, 1:16:18.7; 4. Austria, 1:16:26.5; 5. Russia, 1:16:35.2
9. Canada, 1:19:12.8
Top-Five Women’s and Canadian Results:
1. Germany, 1:18:47.7; 2. Czech Republic, 1:19:22.7; 3. Ukraine, 1:19:33.0; 4. Russia, 1:19:44.9; 5. France, 1:19:50.8
10. Canada, 1:22:18.0