Johannes Thingnes Boe’s First Win of Season in Antholz Mass Start
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe, coming back from illness claimed his first win of the season, shot clean for his first win this season in Antholz mass start, covering the 15Kcourse in 37.04.3. France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet was second, with one penalty, 3.7 seconds back. Russia’s Anton Shipulin was third, also with one penalty 21.7 seconds back.
Emil Hegle Svendsen with two penalties was fourth, 25.2 seconds back. France’s Martin Fourcade had three penalties to finish fifth, 29.2 seconds back. His teammate Jean Guillame Beatrix, with two penalties,was sixth, 33, 4 seconds back.
The men’s mass start opened the final competition day in sunny Antholz; temperatures dropped to minus10C overnight but were up to minus 4C by the start; for once, the wind flags stayed still on the shooting range.
Fourcade dominated the field for the first half of competition, shooting clean in both prone stages. In the first standing, Fourcade missed a shot, Germany’s Erik Lesser, however hit all five to leave the shooting range in first, followed by Boe, Lars Helge Birkeland and Fillon Maillet.
Last Loop Battle
Approaching the final standing stage, Fillon Maillet was in the lead. He mowed down all five, while his teammate Fourcade had two penalties and Lesser one. Boe also cleaned and left just seconds behind Fillon Maillet. Boe commented on the last loop, “I had to fight really hard to pass Fillon Maillet. I was so bad before Christmas that I had to prove to everyone I am the favorite for World Championships.” Coming into the stadium, Boe made his move and passed his rival for the victory and his first win of the season.
Boe admitted this victory meant a lot to him, “It means a lot, it’s been a long time since my last win. When you are not in your best shape and you don’t have the results that you want, it’s not easy to think positively. But I have maintained my aggression and my ambition to win.”
Fillon Maillet was happy in second place. “The last couple of weeks I had problems with my shooting. It’s all in my head; I have negative thoughts often. Today was good, and I hope to maintain this feeling during the World Championships." He was a bit puzzled about not winning the sprint. “It’s very odd, as I knew I had better skis than Johannes. At the finish, he sprinted faster than me.”
The final clean shooting stage secured Shipulin’s podium spot. He said today was tougher than Individual. “I don’t know why, but it was very tough today; maybe it’s acclimatization that is kicking in. But I am happy to be on the podium.”