Clean-shooting Arnd Peiffer Wins Kontiolahti Pursuit
Germany’s Arnd Peiffer, won the Kontiolahti men's 12.5K pursuit for his first win of the season and second career pursuit victory in 30:35. Austria’s Simon Eder, with two penalties was second, just 0.3 seconds back. Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen, also with two penalties, took the last spot on the podium, 2.3 seconds back.
Ondřej Moravec of Czech Republic, with two penalties, finished fourth, 9.8 seconds back, while the Yellow Bib Martin Fourcade, with four penalties finished fifth, 25.5 seconds back and Lukas Hofer, with one penalty finished sixth, 27.7 seconds back.
Peiffer Takes the Lead
The men lined up for the pursuit on a sunny, warm and almost windless afternoon. In the first two loops, Fourcade remained in front; it looked like another runaway victory until a standing penalty opened the door for the chase group. With those just behind Fourcade also on the loop, Peiffer cleaned to take the lead with Eder, Moravec, Fourcade and Andrejs Rastorgujevs chasing. Shipulin, also shooting clean made an impressive comeback, moving up from 29th to 7th, but two last stage penalties dropped him to 10th at the finish.
Final Sprint: Peiffer vs Eder
Approaching the final standing, Fourcade bumped Svendsen. The leaders, except for Peiffer went to the penalty loop; the tall German was again in the lead. Over the last loop, Peiffer, Eder and Svendsen battled for the lead, with Moravec and Fourcade chasing, 27 seconds back. Into the stadium, Eder had the lead, but Peiffer went wide and slipped by him in the final meters for the win, followed by Eder and Svendsen.
Peiffer: “Didn’t Expect This”
Peiffer's win was unexpected. “I am very surprised, I didn’t expect this today. I was really struggling with my ski performance today. I was so surprised at the finish.”
He shared his strategy. “I thought I would follow Simon, and then I would be on the podium. I thought I could overtake him in the last meters, and I managed to do this.”
Eder added, “When I was second, I just told myself I would go for the podium. My favorite for the win was Emil, as he was so strong in the final loop.”
Svendsen and Fourcade Crash
Svendsen talked about the contact he had with Fourcade approaching the final shooting. “It was a crash with Fourcade. He was stepping on my skis, I almost fell, lost a bit of concentration. He missed two, and I missed one. It was not an optimal preparation before the last shooting. I feel it was unnecessary of him to be that aggressive. I guess that could happen in biathlon.”
He added, regarding the atmosphere, ”It’s an amazing atmosphere. It is very nice. It seems like the Finnish people have their eyes open for biathlon in Finland.”
Fourcade, even in fifth place added another small crystal Globe for the pursuit to his 2017 collection.