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Czech biathlete Gabriela Soukalova completed a successful few days with vital wins in Ruhpolding (GER) over the weekend, extending her World Cup lead to 46 points at the competition’s halfway stage.
On Sunday she won the women’s pursuit event, beating Norway’s Tora Berger by 9.7 seconds and securing her third win of the season.
Three days earlier, she had won the 15k individual race with a time of 40:32.6, with Belarusian Darya Domracheva finishing 34.3 seconds behind her in the runner-up position. It was a highly successful event for the Czechs, with Veronika Vitkova taking third place.
Soukalova said that she is ignoring the “burden” of competing in the coveted World Cup leader’s yellow bib: "I am trying to race with Yellow just like a regular number and not think about it too much."
The 24 year-old, daughter of former Olympic silver medalist cross-country skier Gabriela Svobodova, will be looking to follow in her mother’s footsteps – at least – in Sochi this February.
Emil Hegle Svendsen emulated Soukalova with a double of his own in the men’s competition. The Norwegian won the men’s pursuit by 18 seconds from Slovenia’s Jakov Fak on Sunday, the day after triumphing in the 20km individual.
Russians Alexey Volkov and Evgeny Ustyugov came in second and third respectively. Svendsen now sits second in the World Cup rankings behind French pace-setter Martin Fourcade, trailing by 49 points. Compatriot Johannes Thingnes Boe sits in third place, a further 98 points behind.
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