The first Pokljuka’s 2020 relay fixture went to French Anais Bescond and Emilien Jacquelin, who completed the race in 38:33.4 and 5 spare rounds. They were followed by Estonians Rene Zahkna and Regina Oja, who prepared quite a surprise finishing just 5.9 seconds back, while Austria’s Simon Eder and Lisa Theresa Hauser claimed the third place, 12.1 seconds back.
Jacquelin and Bescond raced their first single mixed relay in the IBU World Cup. Jacquelin was satisfied with their triumph in a very tight competition: “True, this was our first competition together in the World Cup, however, we had raced together before. Once we have finished fourth because of me, so today’s win is great for both of us.” Bescond agreed with her teammate: “It was a great race, I think that Friday’s result gave me confidence, especially for the shooting. I needed some confidence, I struggled a lot last two years and clean shooting helped.”
The young Estonian duo did well in the shooting, using just three spare rounds, while Oja delivered as well an amazing skiing performance, especially in the final lap, to swing them on the podium. Zahkna was extremely happy after the race: “We are not used to this. The race was quite intense, the gaps were small, and I think we took the maximum. Regina always shoots well, but today she also skied amazing. I am honoured to be here. It is unbelievable. I cannot connect the odds. Two days ago, I was 101st, and today I am on the podium. It is unbelievable what you can do in two days. This is biathlon.”
Experienced Austrians used six spare rounds but gradually improved their shooting and skiing to secure the third place. »My last lap was really hard. Regina was really pushing me and was strong at the uphill. I tried to follow her, but she was so strong today. We are really happy to be back on the podium. If we both will be healthy, fit on the track and shooting range, we can also take the podium at the World Championships,” Hauser commented on their performance.
Canada’s Christian Gow/Emma Lunder finished fourth, 16.0 seconds back, while Ukraine’s Dmytro Pidruchnyi/Anastasiya Merkushyna and Switzerland’s Serafin Wiestner/Irene Cadurisch completed the top-six, finishing 28.8 and 40.7 seconds back, respectively.