Emphatic Oberhof Pursuit Victory for Martin Fourcade
Martin Fourcade of France matched women’s pursuit winner Anastasiya Kuzmina by taking his own sprint/pursuit double today, finishing in 30:49.5. The Yellow Bib, with a single penalty on his first shot of the day, turned to look at his Norwegian rivals still shooting as he headed out for the final loop, reaffirming his status as the number 1 biathlete. Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway with three penalties finished second, 6.3 seconds back while his brother Tarjei finished third, shooting clean, 30.9 seconds back.
Fourth went to the sprint runner-up Emil Hegle Svendsen, also of Norway, 1:04.7 back. Dmytro Pidruchnyi of Ukraine finished fifth, 1:16.2 back while Lukas Hofer of Italy, was sixth, 1:21.6 back. All three men had a single penalty.
Cat-and –Mouse Game
Conditions remained good for the men’s pursuit, with the wind staying almost calm. The top three played a cat-and-mouse game over the first loop, with Johannes and Fourcade battling in the front. That game resulted in both of them missing a shot while Svendsen cleaned and took the lead, 20 seconds ahead of those two, with Tarjei and Burke with them. Svendsen’s lead was down to 8 seconds by the time they got back to the shooting range. Svendsen cleaned with ease and was gone; Fourcade matched to leave second 10 seconds back while Johannes toured the penalty loop again. Tarjei was not up to third.
Fourcade commented on his tactics. “I decided yesterday to not start as fast as normal, because I knew Johannes would try to get on the back of my skis. I felt he was fast on the skis, but Emil was not so strong. But then we both missed in the first prone and it became a different competition. Then we had to try to catch him (Svendsen).”
Svendsen and Fourcade Duel
Halfway through the next loop, the Yellow Bib surged past Svendsen. They shot side-by-side, both dropping all five targets and left in lockstep. The Boe brothers also shot five-by-side, with Johannes shooting faster but adding another penalty, while Tarjei cleaned to take sole possession of third heading to the final standing stage.
Five-for-Five and…The Stare
Fourcade again opened up a gap of on his Norwegian rival as Svendsen seemed to tire before they entered the shooting range. Fourcade, now more than 10 seconds ahead focused and shot aggressively, cleaning with ease. He turned and stared at his still-shooting rivals before leaving with a16 second gap on Johannes and his brother who both went 5-for-5. Johannes tried in vain to close the gap to the Yellow Bib but fell six seconds short.
Regarding the stare, Fourcade said, “Yesterday the Norwegian press said I feared the Norwegians…I have a lot of respect them…they can beat me on every competition, but I do not fear them like they do not ear me. It was my answer to Emil.” He then looked at Tarjei who laughed and said, “Really good answer.”
Johannes and Tarjei
On the battle with Fourcade, Johannes was honest about what happened. “We caught Martin on the first loop like our plan. Then we both missed a prone shot and I fell back with each missed shot and was never in the battle for the win.”
Tarjei however enjoyed the battle today. “It is fun when you have these fights and you know that you have to give your best to win.”