Fourcade Dominates Östersund Individual
France’s Martin Fourcade dominated today's 20K individual in Östersund, winning in 51:33.8, despite two penalties. Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe matched Fourcade at the shooting range, but finished second, 29.5 seconds back. Third went to Belarus’ Vladimir Chepelin, with his first-ever World Cup podium, 1:24.3 back with one penalty.
The 106 men faced the same challenge this evening as the women did yesterday; gusty, unpredictable winds at the shooting range.
Boe in the Lead
Most of the big names started in the first 25; the two favorites, Germany’s Simon Schempp and Fourcade started 30 seconds apart with bibs eight and nine. Confidently cleaning the first prone, they initially set the bar high for the rest of the field until the first standing stage. Both men struggled, with Fourcade missing two shots and Schempp three. As they faltered, Boe took the lead after hitting ten out of ten.
Back in Contention
In the second prone, Fourcade mowed down all five targets to move back into contention, as did his young rival. The top of the podium would be decided in the final standing stage. Fourcade cleaned, while Boe, battled the wind, spending a lot of extra time on the range eventually adding two minutes to his time. He left 16 seconds behind Fourcade, falling farther back over the final 4K loop to finish second.
Boe commented on the decisive last standing stage.
"When I came in for the last shooting, the wind was very strong. At that moment I knew the win was possible with three zeros at the start, I felt secure."
Fourcade admitted that winning in Östersund was important for a good start to the season.
"It is always something special to start the season with a victory. Each year I am a bit afraid not to win in Östersund, but I have had a very good start of the season so far."
Last Spot on Podium
Chepelin, also an early starter at number 17 was moved into third after the final standing stage, and held it although several others challenged. Germany’s Florian Graf looked like the man who could keep Chepelin off the podium, with three clean stages but he missed his 20th shot and finished eighth.
Teammate Darya Yurkevich's third place yesterday motivated Chepelin,
"I was watching Darya yesterday, I was inspired by her result and knew that clean shooting would make the podium possible."