Hochfilzen Sprint to Johannes Thingnes Boe
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe shot clean for his second win of the new season this morning taking the men’s 10K sprint in 22:31.2. This was his second sprint win here, the fist coming back in 2014. The younger Boe brother finished 15.4 seconds ahead of Martin Fourcade of France who also shot clean but could not match the track speed of the Norwegian. Third place went to the comebacking Jakov Fak of Slovenia, matching Boe and Fourcade on the shooting range, but finishing 41.3 seconds back.
Fourth place went to Germany’s Simon Schempp, with one penalty, 52.2 seconds back. Henrik L’Abee Lund of Norway was fifth, shooting clean, 55.4 seconds back, while Schempp’s teammate Arnd Peiffer shot clan but finished sixth, 56 seconds back.
Windless, Clouds and Fast Tracks
After two blindingly sunny days, the sun disappeared for the men, making for a dark, dreary morning. The very cold night of minus 10C set the tracks, making them hard and fast. Yet by the start, it was up to a mild 0 degrees with the wind flags perfectly still. Most of the top men started in the second group, expecting the tracks to get faster as the competition progressed.
Johannes Sets the Pace
Johannes, wearing number 36, set the pace in prone with a quick clean prone to take the lead from Schempp who also cleaned just before him. Fourcade, starting just a minute behind his Norwegian foe, also cleaned but left 11 seconds back in second. Tarjei matched the others but in fourth. Fak had cleaned earlier but was back the eighth spot, 25 seconds behind Johannes. Beyond this group, only clean-shooting Peiffer plus Schempp and Anton Shipulin with single penalties had much of a chance for the podium.
Fak, Johannes and Fourcade
Fak cleaned standing first, for a temporary lead. Johannes can to the standing stage with a 20-second gap on Fourcade. He promptly cleaned and left Fak 40 plus second back. As Johannes exited the stadium, Fourcade shot much faster than normal, dropping the first target in less than 10 seconds. Yet his fast clean stage was not enough to take the lead. He was 20.1 seconds back with 3.3K to go. The Yellow Bib worked hard to close the gap on the last loop, but could only gain 8 seconds by the finish, leaving Johannes in the top spot. Fak had finished earlier, with a steady last loop putting him in third place. Schempp had a strong last loop, but could not catch Fak, leaving the German in fourth, while Peiffer and Shipulin faded out of podium contention.
“Go Until You Die”
Johannes commented on his 15th World Cup victory, 10 of which have been in sprints. “It is always better to be first rather than second. I was lucky to shoot clean today. That is what I needed to get the win…My plan was like: go until you die, attack all the way. If you want to win, you cannot save the power…I was quite tired in the last loop, but I managed to hold on.”
Fourcade admitted there was really no battle for first place. “I cannot comment on any fight because Johannes had too big of an advantage after the standing shooting. I am just happy that I was able to catch some seconds in the end. We had about the same ski speed as last week, but today he shot clean and I had not chance to win.
Clean and Fast
Fak with his second podium in a row admitted the obvious, “I shot clean and ran as fast as I could; that is all you can do…I never worried much after that…You can never be sure about the results until everyone has finished.”