Dominating Pursuit Win for Martin
Martin Fourcade of France dominated the men’s pursuit today, winning in 32:53.6, despite a single penalty in the second prone stage. The win was his 53rd career World Cup victory. Second went to Anton Shipulin of Russia, with two penalties, 30.2 seconds back. Fourcade’s teammate Quentin Fillon Maillet finished third, edging Germany’s Simon Schempp in the final 100 meters. Both Fillon Maillet and Schempp shot clean.
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe, with three penalties finished fifth, 1:02.7 back, while Belgium’s Michael Rösch, also shooting clean was sixth, 1:03.6 back.
Clouds, a little frost on the trees and a light breeze were the main features at this first daytime competition at Nove Mesto na Moravě.
Fourcade and Shipulin went stride-for-stride and shot-for-shot in the first loop, shot clean in the first prone and stayed together until the second shot in the second prone. At that point, Fourcade picked up a penalty while Shipulin cleaned and took a 150 meter lead for the next loop, as Boe with a single penalty followed in third, with teammate Erlend Bjoentegaard on his shoulder in fourth.
Shipulin commented on his shooting and his hopes for the New Year. “Today many athletes shot clean because of the good conditions. After the race I told myself that I must shoot clean in these conditions…Martin is very strong throughout the whole season, so it's very complicated to compete against such a strong athlete. Hopefully he will give us a new year's present and let us compete for the win in 2017.”
Fourcade Takes Charge
The top two were back together as they came to the stadium for the first standing. The places reversed as Shipulin had a penalty, while Fourcade coolly cleaned and grabbed a 10.1 second lead. Boe remained in third as Fillon Maillet and Schempp moved up to fourth and fifth on the heels of three clean stages.
Four in Prone Ring
Shipulin, not skiing as fast as Fourcade fell further back in the loop heading to the final standing stage, falling more than 20 seconds back. Fourcade easily cleaned with four shots in the prone ring, stopped to pump his fist and acknowledge the crowd as he headed for the win, unchallenged.
“I am just so happy because it was a hard competition against Anton; his prone shooting was really good. On skis I could catch him as I felt very good. I hope people won't misunderstand my celebrations on the track, but often people say I don't show emotions for my wins and today I wanted to share my happiness with this fantastic crowd.”
53 Wins; 7 This Season
With his comfortable lead, Fourcade enjoyed the final kilometer: high-fiving fans and raising his ski poles in victory, picking up his 53rd World Cup win and his seventh victory in eight individual competitions this season.
My wish is to be as complete a biathlete as possible, not just because I ski fast. That's what I trained all summer and what I am trying to do now. These kind of wins are the best for an athlete".
Third Place Battle
Shipulin had a second penalty but left the stadium in second while Fillon Maillet and Schempp, in a battle for third again cleaned leaving 49.5 and 53.7 seconds back. The two battled in the stadium, but in the last few meters Fillon Maillet pulled a meter ahead to take third.
Back on Track
Fillon Maillet was pleased to get hi season back on track with the third place. ‘I am so happy about my competition. It was just perfect with clean shooting. I did not start well the season, so it is important for me to get back on the podium with such a performance.”