Anton Shipulin's First Win of Season in Antholz 20K
Russia’s Anton Shipulin, with just a single penalty claimed another Antholz victory and his first of the season by winning the men’s 20K in 50:38.1. This was his first-ever 20K win and his fifth victory in Antholz. Martin Fourcade of France picked up two penalties and finished second, 41 seconds back. Ukraine’s Sergey Semenov with two penalties had his first podium this season, finishing third, 56.8 seconds back.
Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was just one step from the podium, finishing fourth, with one penalty, 1:04.9 back. Germany’s Simon Schempp finished fifth, with two penalties, 1:09.8 back. Bulgaria’s Krasimir Anev had his best result of the season, finishing sixth, with one penalty 1:15.6 back.
The men had a sunny day like the women yesterday, with some wind once again hindering the shooting; only one man, Leant Oblak of Slovenia, in 33rd place, shot clean.
Germany’s Benedikt Doll led early with a quick clean first prone, but his lead disappeared when Fourcade matched but was 9.6 seconds faster. The French star gave the rest of the field a chance with single penalties in the next two stages, which dropped him to 15th after the second prone stage.
Last Shot Challenge
Semenov had a good day at the shooting range, cleaning the first three stages while contending for the win. He dropped the first four shots in the final standing but missed the final one, blowing away his chance for the win. Russia’s Maxim Tsvetkov, who hit 19-of-20 suffered the same fate, missing the last shot and the podium; Tsvetkov finished seventh.
Semenov commented on that last shot, “I knew just needed to do a clean shooting. Before the last shot, I felt like I did not have enough oxygen, and I needed to delay the last shot, but I still missed it.”
Shipulin Picks up the Pace
Shipulin had a slower first loop, picking up the pace with each loop while cleaning the first two stages to move into the lead. A missed shot in second prone dropped him to fifth, 28.5 seconds back, but he cleaned the final standing to regain the lead, and a safe margin over Fourcade, ultimately giving Shipulin the win.
Regarding his first 20K win, Shipulin said, “I am very thankful to my fans for cheering, and for Martin for giving me this chance. I always wanted to score a win in this discipline, and I am happy to have done it here, in Antholz.”
Fourcade admitted this 20K was, "One of the toughest competitions on the tracks. Even though I was in a good shape, it was still very painful.” He said he would skip the relay to save energy for the mass start. "I will not be a part of the relay team for France tomorrow. I will recover to try to win the mass start."