Home Team Success: Maxim Tsvetkov Wins Tyumen Mass Start
Russia’s Maxim Tsvetkov, shooting clean crossed the finish line at the Pearl of Siberia Stadium in first place this afternoon, giving the home team their first podium and victory this week. Tsvetkov’s 37:37.3 time brought him his first-ever World Cup win. Second place, also with a career-best was Norway’s Erlend Bjoentegaard, matching the Russian on the shooting range, 2.7 seconds back. Third went to his teammate Johannes Thingnes Boe, with two penalties, 16.6 seconds back.
Crystal Globes Sweep
Martin Fourcade, the rapidly-becoming French biathlon legend was presented with his seventh big Crystal Globe for the World Cup Total Score title after the competition.
that was a thrilling men's mass start in #TMN18 but do not forget that another one is coming soon as women are also battling for both the small and big crystal globes... and you can watch them on on https://t.co/Z1cUg23KzH pic.twitter.com/j7nzXmw6gX— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) March 25, 2018
Despite finishing 19th with four penalties, 1:11.2 back, Fourcade completed his sweep of the Crystal Globes for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in his career. This season he did share the individual Globe with Johannes.
The next four men had a huge finish line battle to get in the top six. Benedikt Doll of Germany, with two penalties was fourth, 22.1 seconds back while Norway’s Henrik L’Abee Lund had the same time and shooting in fifth. Norway completed its domination of the top places with Tarjei Boe, in sixth, 22.2 seconds back, with a single penalty. Lukas Hofer of Italy, with one penalty just missed the top six, in seventh, 22.9 seconds back.
Spring-like Final Day
The season’s final day was marked with spring-like feel, as light winds blew fluffy clouds crossed the blue sky and the temperature for the late afternoon start hovered at plus 2C. The first loop was pretty pedestrian until Johannes and Fourcade pulled away from the field just before the first prone. Fourcade then missed two shots while Johannes missed one. That opened the door for Tarjei, Erik Lesser and Simon Desthieux who all cleaned. They lead a pack of twelve men, all clean who left the stadium within 12 seconds. Johannes left in 16th position while Fourcade was 24th.
Russian Teammates in Front
Eleven men came to the stadium virtually side-by-side for the second prone. Russian teammates Tsvetkov and Anton Babikov with Fredrik Lindström alongside all cleaned to leave in the lead. Now the top ten men were still all perfect on the range, including Johannes; just 10 seconds back in 11th position. Even Anton Shipulin back in 16th, was only 20 seconds back. Fourcade, with another penalty was out of contention.
The group of ten remained extremely close as they entered for the first standing stage, all within 3.4 seconds. Lindström shot on lane 1 and cleaned, as did Loginov and L’Abee Lund who matched with the Russian holding a slight lead. Hofer and Bjoentegaard also shot clean, in 4th and 5th. Ten men, all within 12 seconds remained in close contention for a shot as the podium. Johannes with another penalty was 14 seconds back.
Clean Shooting; a Win for Tsvetkov
The final standing stage would be decisive; any penalty would end the chance of a podium finish. Bjoentegaard cleaned as did Tsvetkov, Jakov Fak, Johannes and Tarjei. They left the stadium for the last 3K loop in that order, with Tarjei 13 seconds back. Halfway through the final loop, the Russian pulled to a 3.6 second lead over Bjoentegaard, with Johannes up to third. The 26-year-old Tsvetkov skied into the stadium for his first-ever World Cup win, with Bjoentegaard next and Johannes in third.
Jacquelin: Rookie of the Year
Emilien Jacquelin of France, who had two top six places in Antholz received the IBU Rookie of the Year award.
Tsvetkov commented on his big day. “When I crossed the finish line, I was happy, but I was also happy in the morning. It was just a good day!” He continued, “I knew on the last loop that I had to do my absolute best to get on the podium…the crowd…I could still hear them when we were deep in the forest; that was miraculous!”
Clean Shooting Miracle
Bjoentegaard was amazed that he shot clean. “I was so tired in my body the whole race today that managing to shoot clean was a miracle for me! I just gave it my all on the last loop, but this guy (Tsvetkov) was just stronger than me. Still I am very happy with my performance today.”
Johannes admitted that he just could not catch the top 2.“I saw two guys in front of me after the last shooting…I had some thoughts that I could catch them, but they had saved more power than me.”