RUHPOLDING, Ger.—Canada’s women’s biathlon squad is on the right track heading towards the World Championships, but are still looking for more, after a solid 10th-place outing in the team relay even in Ruhpolding, Germany on Thursday.
The Canadian team of Megan Tandy (Prince George, B.C.), Rosanna Crawford (Canmore, Alta.), Emma Lunder (Canmore, Alta.), and Julia Ransom (Kelowna, B.C.) joined forces to post a combined time of 1:12:53.6 in the 4×6 kilometre relay in front of thousands of boisterous German biathlon fans.
“We had a great shooting day today, and some really fast skis,” said Crawford. “I think with just three spares for the whole team, our expectations should be quite a bit higher, but this year the ski speed seems to be below where we usually are.”
Tandy led the charge for the Canucks, tagging off to Crawford in 15th spot after the opening leg. The two-time Olympian Crawford moved the Canadians into eighth spot overall after her six-kilometre leg where she handed off to Lunder and then Ransom for the anchor leg.
The relay consists of each athlete skiing 6 kilometres 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.
Each of the first three Canadians used one spare. Ransom shot clean.
“Ruhpolding has one of the easier ranges on the World Cup circuit with little to no wind,” said Crawford. “It was raining for most of the morning and through the first two legs, but the track was still quite fast and held up nicely.”
Cheered on by the hometown crowd, the German’s skied away with the women’s relay title after crossing the finish line first at 1:09:53.0. France finished just under four seconds off the pace at 1:09:56.5 for the silver medal, while the Norwegian women celebrated the bronze medal at 1:09:57.5.
The men’s 10-kilometre sprint competition is set for Friday in Ruhpolding. The top women biathletes in the world will be back on the start line Saturday for a sprint race of their own.