NTHOLZ-ANTERSELVA, Ita.—Emma Lunder is mixing up more than coffees of choice for the local Canmore faithful these days.
On Thursday, thousands of miles away from her hometown Starbucks where she regularly holds court whipping up lattes, mochas and frappuccino’s, Lunder replaced her apron with a World Cup biathlon race bib for the first time this year to deliver Canada’s Nordic community a career-best 21st place finish in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy.
The energetic 25-year-old won the battle against varying wind conditions, missing just one shot in four rounds of shooting, in her first ever 15-kilometre World Cup individual competition. Starting near the end of the 100-athlete field, Lunder took advantage of being back on the World Cup to clock a time of 48:18.4.
“To finish just out of the top-20 today feels amazing and I am so happy to add this to my resume,” beamed Lunder, who began the season on the IBU Cup development circuit. “The course was in perfect condition, and our team had really competitive skis thanks to our hardworking wax team. Today was a huge day for me on the range. There’s still work to be done on the skiing side of things, but I know I’m headed in the right direction.
“This was a definite boost of much-needed confidence going into the rest of the season,”
Lunder took just one penalty after missing one target in her second round of prone shooting. The individual race puts an emphasis on shooting, tacking on a one-minute penalty for every missed shot.
“I was extremely happy to hit 19/20 on a tough day,” said Lunder. “I was really focused on executing some new shooting cues that I’ve been working on the last few days, and I’m happy with how they worked. I had fairly consistent wind for both prone and standing, and was happy not to have any big gusts blowing around me.”
The only other time Lunder finished in the points on the World Cup came in her first ever start on the elite circuit in 2014 when she was 30th in a sprint race in Pokljuka, Slovenia. Lunder first made headlines in the international biathlon circles when she broke through with a silver medal in the sprint event when the IBU Cup circuit made its way to her hometown in 2015.
The world’s number one ranked women’s biathlete, Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier, rebounded after a slow start where she missed one in each of her first two stops at the range, to clock the time to beat at 44:48.7.
Anais Chevalier, of France, finished just under four seconds off the leading pace in second at 44:52.5 (0+1+0+0). Italy’s Alexia Runggaldier brought the packed grandstand in the stadium to its feet after winning the race for the bronze medal. Runggaldier clocked a time of 45:34.7 (0+1+0+0).
It was also a solid outing for Megan Tandy, of Prince George, B.C. The two-time Olympian finished three spots outside the elite group of 30 with a time of 49:50.7 (1+1+0+2). Julia Ransom, of Kelowna, B.C., placed 55th at 51:16.9 (0+3+0+1).
The men’s 20-kilometre individual race is set for Friday. Lunder and her fellow Canadian mates will be back on the start line Sunday for the 4×6 kilometre relay event.