Ruhpolding Mass Start Victory for Johannes Thingnes Boe
Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway took advantage of Martin Fourcade’s two penalties in the first standing to grab a big lead that led to a one-penalty victory in today’s men’s 15K mass start at BMW IBU World Cup 5 in Ruhpolding. Fourcade, after falling to 15th position with his only two penalties of the day, staged a thrilling comeback in the last loop to finish second, 4.5 seconds back. Third place went to Antonin Guigonnat of France, shooting clean, but 8.4 seconds back.
Another French teammate Quentin Fillon Maillet finished fourth, with one penalty, 12.6 seconds back, just ahead of Johannes’ brother Tarjei, with one penalty, 14.2 seconds back. Germany’s Simon Schempp finished sixth, also with one penalty, 14.6 seconds back.
Fine Conditions; Good Shooting in First Prone
Ruhpolding continued to offer fine conditions for the mass starts with once again a mild cloudy, windless day. That led to very good shooting throughout the competition. The field stayed close together for the first loop, with Fourcade and Anton Shipulin leading most of the way. Nineteen men, led by Simon Desthieux and Fourcade cleaned the first prone with the whole group back out on the tracks within 16 seconds. Shipulin was the biggest casualty with three penalties.
Fourcade in Control
The Yellow Bib in lane one used his typical steady tempo to clean the second prone and was matched by Johannes shooting right next to him. Simon Eder, with penalty in the first prone, matched with a very fast stage to leave in third; Lindström, Schempp and Erik Lesser were less than a second behind the Austrian. The top 13 left all within 10.9 seconds, all within striking distance of the front of the pack. Fourcade continued to dictate the pace as the field headed to the first standing stage.
Big Lead for Johannes
Johannes shot fast and clean in the first standing while Fourcade missed twice. Schempp matched the Norwegian as did Tarjei, followed by Guigonnat, Eder, Fak and Lesser. This group within 16 seconds now controlled the front of the competition. Unsurprisingly, Johannes pushed the pace, skiing easily and stretching his lead to near 20 seconds over the next 3K loop.
What a crazy last loop but @7ohannesbo rescues 4.5 seconds into the finish ahead of @martinfkde and @antoguigo, @quentinfillon and @tarjei_boe.— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 14, 2018
Join us for the men's mass start celebrations in #RUH18 LIVE on https://t.co/Z1cUg23KzH pic.twitter.com/lologyZwdj
A Penalty But the Win; Big Comeback for Fourcade
The Norwegian shot fast but picked up a penalty as did Schempp, but Fourcade’s teammate Guigonnat went 20-for-20 to leave second, but 8.8 seconds back. The Yellow Bib with a quick clean stage was suddenly in fourth, right next to his other teammate Fillon Maillet as they let the stadium. By 13.6K, Fourcade was up to second place. Fourcade was hunting the leader but could not close the whole gap, with Johannes holding for a 4.5 second win. Guigonnat held on for the last podium spot. The Norwegian was concerned about Fourcade in the last loop. “I was worried when I saw him out there. But I tried to focus and stay in my own lane on the tracks. It was very good practice to stay in the lead on the last lap; it is very tough mentally. You just have to think forward and not so much about the people behind.”
Back on Top
He added, concerning his win, “This is special, since Martin has been ahead of me in the last races which was the opposite of before Christmas. Now I am back on top and that is good.”
Great day for the @FedFranceSki team who have @martinfkde in second place, @antoguigo in third and @quentinfillon in fourth.— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 14, 2018
Join us for the mass start flower ceremoney in #RUH18 LIVE on https://t.co/Z1cUg23KzH shortly. pic.twitter.com/rxI0nXiJT9
It was a really good fight on the last lap… I knew with two mistakes that it would be hard to come back on Johannes…I gave all I had to catch the podium…It knew on the last loop that I had to be faster than Antonin, because he is a really good sprinter.
Despite the last loop battle and the crowd, Guigonnat stayed calm. “I did not feel much pressure. The other guys are fighting for the win and things like the Yellow Bib. I just tried to do my job.”