"Amazing" Win for Simon Schempp in Oberhof Mass Start

Home-crowd favorite Germany’s Simon Schempp won today's 15K mass start in Oberhof with one penalty in 38:09.9 for his first victory of the new season. His teammate Erik Lesser lunged past France’s Martin Fourcade in the final sprint, to claim second place,s both of them finishing 0.4 seconds back, with one and two penalties respectively. 

Jean Guillaume Beatrix of France finished fourth, with one penalty, 13.2 seconds back. Norway's Ole Einar Björndalen finished fifth, also with one penalty, 19.5 seconds back while Germany's Benedikt Doll was sixth, with two penalties, 47.8 seconds back.

Foggy Start
Typical of Oberhof; a new day meant different conditions, with fog, light winds and a warmer -2 degrees temperatures.

Fourcade led pack from the start, shooting clean and dominating the first two loops. In the first standing, penalties started to show up. Fourcade’s two missed targets gave  Björndalen the lead, followed by Lesser with Schempp,  Emil Hegle Svendsen and Beatrix chasing.

Last Loop Drama

Björndalen's penalty in the final standing blew away his chance for the win. The Norwegian star left the penalty loop still in the lead, but  was quickly passed by Fourcade and Schempp; both had cleaned and were skiing aggressively. Beatrix followed in third, with Lesser chasing him behind. Schempp waited until just over the last uphill to make his move, skiing past Fourcade and pulling away in the final 100 meters to thrill the home crowd.“It was amazing finishing first in front of the home crowd.”

Lesser crossed the line in a photo-finish with Fourcade, but the picture showed the German in second place the slimmest of margins. He said, “The crowd was great, cheering for the German team. I have been feeling great on my skis the last couple days.”

Fourcade said he might skip relay in Ruhpolding to recharge. “I am going to Ruhpolding tonight, and have my family join me there. I might skip relay on Wednesday, we will see.”