Dominik Windisch Surprises, Come-from-Behind Mass Start Victory
Italy’s Dominik Windisch, 13th after the first standing stage, cleaned the last standing stage while the leaders missed; then skied his way through ever-deepening snow to the IBU World Championships Mass Start Gold Medal. Windisch with three penalties, finished in 40:54.1 in
the 2019 IBU WCH finale competition for Italy’s second mass start Gold of the day, following Dorothea Wierer’s win a few hours earlier. The Silver medal went to France’s Antonin Guigonnat, with three penalties, 22.8 seconds back. Austria’s Julian Eberhard with four penalties won the Silver medal, 23.3 seconds back.
Lucky in the Wind
Windisch was overwhelmed by his surprising win. “It is incredible I am so happy; I cannot believe it… It was not easy, but what my name says, Windisch…I am always lucky with the wind; it is not that I shoot much better but the others make more mistakes…This time I was the lucky one…I did not know I was in the lead; in the uphill the coach said I was leading. I said, ‘What?’ I was shocked…when they told me I was keeping the distance, I was really happy and motivated to keep it to the end.”
Mass Start Twin Wins
Windisch and Wierer won their first-ever mass starts on the same day in Canmore three years ago. Today was the same, so she might be his lucky charm. “Yesterday I told Dorothea that I believed in her and she could do it. When she won today, I was so happy for her…I think she brings me luck since it was the same situation 3 years ago in Canmore.”
Russia’s Alexander Loginov, with five penalties, finished fourth, 27.4 seconds back. Guigonnat’s teammate Quentin Fillon Maillet, with four penalties, finished fifth, 33.2 seconds back. 20K individual Gold medalist Arnd Peiffer of Germany, with fourth penalties, finished sixth, 39.6 seconds back.
More Wind and Snow; Yellow Bib Leads
The wind and snow that the women had earlier; remained for this final men’s competition at the 2019 IBU World Championships, making the tracks slow and shooting challenging. The Yellow Bib led the first loop, cleaned quickly, leaving a half second behind Benedikt Doll, with Loginov just behind, with 15 more clean shooters following.
The German led the tightly packed group around part of the next 3K loop, until Johannes took back the lead, setting the pace.
And then There Were Ten…
With the wind and snow blowing in their faces, the clean-shooting club dwindled to ten in the second prone, with Johannes still on top, but Desthieux and Peiffer on his shoulder and brother Tarjei six seconds back. Halfway through the next loop, Desthieux took over the pacing duties in the ever-deepening snow.
Penalties; Garanichev Leads
Desthieux’s fast pace cut the lead group to five as they came to the first standing stage. That proved fatal as all in the group went to the penalty loop: Desthieux with four and Johannes with two. Garanichev and Christiansen took advantage with 5-for-5, going out 1-2. Eder also remained clean in fourth, behind Pidruchnyi with one penalty, but 26 seconds back. Johannes, 30 seconds back after the penalty loops moved quickly back into second as they headed to the last standing stage, but less than 10 seconds behind the Russian.
Would you believe it? It's double glory for @Fisiofficial: Dominik Windisch crowns himself Mass Start World Champion 2 hours after Dorothea Wierer did the same on the women's side! #2019Ostersund 🇮🇹— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) March 17, 2019
Incredible! https://t.co/bk5aBBso9Q pic.twitter.com/Lzes4uYDbI
Windisch Cleans, Moves into the Lead
By the time they arrived at the last standing, the Yellow Bib had caught the Russian. Then with the wind howling, the almost unbelievable happened. Johannes missed five times and Garanichev four. Virtually everyone had a penalty or more other than Windisch. The Italian coming from 13th position closed all five targets to go out with a 13 second lead over Eder and Guigonnat who both missed once.
First World Championship for Windisch
Sinking into the snow with each stride, Windisch widened the gap all the way to the finish to claim another IBU World Championship Mass Start Gold medal for Italy and the first of his career. Meanwhile Eberhard and Guigonnat moved past the others battling for the last medals. The Austrian held the advantage until the last downhill, when Guigonnat easily passed him Pulling away for the Silver medal.
Long Journey Turns Silver
Guigonnat though he was out of the medals after the first prone but persevered. “I was 26th after the prone and today looked like a long journey to the finish,. But then I cleaned two stages in the quite difficult wind…Julian is really fast on skis…today I had good glide and he was a little tired entering the finish line so it was enough for me to keep the Silver.”
Happy with Third
I was really focused in the first three laps and managed to go with the leading group. The first standing was difficult with a lot of mistakes with the wind. In the fourth loop, I knew it could be the same; I came back in 12th and managed to shoot fast. I was really surprised when I passed Simon Eder, my teammate and he said, ‘go for gold.’ I tried but in the end, I am happy with third place.”