5-for-5 Final Standing Stage Seals Fourcade’s Pursuit Victory
Martin Fourcade of France with a victory on the line calmly closed the five final standing targets to seal his 72nd World Cup victory in the men’s 12.5K pursuit this afternoon at Oslo in 31:31.6.Lukas Hofer of Italy, with one penalty, finished second, a season-best and his fourth career podium (the first since 2014)18.1 seconds back. Third went to Johannes Thingnes Boe, with four penalties, 32.5 seconds back.
Fourth went to the only man to shoot clean, Maxim Tsvetkov of Russia, 42.7 seconds back. Sprint winner Henrik L’Abee Lund finished fifth with three penalties, 45.2 seconds back while Simon Eder of Austria was sixth, with one penalty, 45.7 seconds back.
More Spectacular Conditions; L’Abee Lund Leads
The men benefitted from the continued spectacular conditions that the women had for their relay earlier this afternoon. This was surely one of the nicest afternoons with some of the best conditions of the season, to date; 32 men cleaned the first prone stage. The top four men came together over the first loop to shoot the first prone side-by-side. L’Abee Lund was the only one to clean, as both Johannes and Fourcade had single penalties. Julian Eberhard missed four times, putting him out of contention. Peiffer, with a clean stage, now 8 seconds back slipped in between the leader and the Fourcade/Boe duo, with Garanichev, all so seconds off the pace, on their heels as they left the stadium.
Fourcade Steps Up
The leader missed his first shot in the second prone as did Peiffer. Fourcade took advantage of their penalties, by cleaning to move into the lead. Johannes added two more penalties to fall back to 15th position. L’Abee Lund was now second followed by Peiffer, Shipulin and Hofer, from 7.7 to 22 seconds back. Fourcade pushed the pace out of the stadium trying to lengthen his lead on the field, heading for the first standing stage.
Battle at the Front
Fourcade shot fast in the first standing but had a penalty. L’Abee Lund shot as quickly and cleaned to regain the lead while the Yellow Bib toured the penalty loop. Hofer and Shipulin matched the Norwegian to move into third and fourth. Johannes recovered with a clean stage to jump to 5th, now 25 seconds back. Fourcade slipped into a small lead on the first small hill, while Johannes pushed hard to get up with Shipulin and Hofer. He and L’Abee Lund were now locked in a battle for the lead.
Five Shots…and Victory
The sprint winner stayed with Fourcade as they came to the final standing stage, just 3 seconds apart. Five shots would determine the winner and Fourcade closed all five, not too fast but they closed; the win was his. Hofer matched the Yellow bib with a 5-for-5 to comfortably leaving in second, 21.2 seconds back with Johannes in third, but 29.8 back. L’Abee Lund had two penalties, falling back. Johannes closed some of the gap on the Italian but could not reach him.
With a tactically astute run @martinfkde wins the #HOL18 pursuit ahead of @Fisiofficial's @hoferluki (first podium of the season) and @7ohannesbo who is third despite four misses at the shooting range.— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) March 17, 2018
You can rewatch the entire competition on https://t.co/2G53QBmIok pic.twitter.com/DR5h7JwnMx
Jump on the Bridge; Perfect Smiling Landing
Fourcade skied easily into the stadium with a big lead. He jumped off the last bridge before the finish and smiling wider than ever perfectly executed a telemark landing; then hands held high, claimed the victory. Hofer and Johannes followed.
Eight Individual Wins, Ten Total
After the flower Ceremony, Fourcade has what seems to be his almost annual visit to the Royal Box, where he chatted amicably with King Harald V. The Yellow Bib has eight victories plus two relay wins at Oslo, with at least one in each of the last six years. That makes him the most awarded biathlete at the legendary venue. He commented, “I am very satisfied and take great pride in that. It is probably my favorite place in the World Cup.”
Focused on Shooting
Hofer commented admitted one thing was most important. “I tried to stay in the front with the other guys; I did not want to lose that gap. I tried to stay focused on my shooting. I was not shooting fast today. I am especially happy about the shooting and finally being able to climb the podium again!”
Secure Third Place
Johannes knew it would be hard to catch Hofer on the last loop/“I know Hofer is one of the fastest guys on the last lap. But I felt good today an thought I might catch him. Towards the end, I knew I could not, so I looked back and made sure I could secure the third place.”