Emilien Jacquelin sprints to IBU WCH Pursuit Gold
France’s Emilien Jacquelin sprinted up the final hill into the Südtirol Arena this afternoon and held his edge over Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe through the finish line to win the IBU Men’s World Championship Pursuit in 31:15.2. The 24-year-old shot clean on his way to his first-ever IBU World Championships medal. Johannes with two penalties won the Silver medal, .4 seconds back. Russia’s Alexander Loginov, with one penalty won the Bronze medal, 23.9 seconds back.
“Oh my God, I can win the title!”
Jacquelin was shocked after his Gold-medal performance. “At the last shooting, I thought I would fight with Johannes for the Silver because I thought Loginov was first. Afterwards, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I can win the title!’ I tried to be more intelligent than Johannes who was really fast in the beginning of the loop…I was just focused on myself. I did some cycling a few years ago and tried to use all the things I learned in cycling; it paid off.”
Winning the World Championship was more than Jacquelin ever expected. “I thought about it. I knew I was about to do a great performance but to win was more than I expected, It is incredible. I was doing a photo with Johannes after the race; he told me, ‘you have to cry and be happy.’ I told him I am shy and do not know what to do. It is incredible; it is perfect, a lot of things together!”
Jacquelin’s teammate Martin Fourcade, with one penalty finished fourth, 46.3 seconds back. Arnd Peiffer of Germany with one penalty finished fifth, 53.9 seconds back. Johannes’ brother Tarjei, with two penalties, was sixth, 1:12.5 back.
Loginov in the Lead
By the time the men started 2 hours after the women, the air had warmed to +6C and the wind had picked up just enough to make shooting trickier. Loginov went out in the lead but Fillon Maillet caught him quickly and they skied into the first prone together. The Russian cleaned while Fillon Maillet had four penalties. Fourcade and Jacquelin also cleaned to go out second and third, 12 and 23 seconds back with Tarjei and Johannes next but 30 and 40 seconds back after a penalty loop.
Fourcade Moves Up
Loginov held the lead to the second prone, shot fast and clean. Fourcade shot slowly and also clean as did Jacquelin; they still trailed the Russian by 10 and 15 seconds. Johannes after closing the gap had another penalty to remain 4th, 33 seconds off the pace.
Jacquelin to Second
The top three maintained their positions as they came to the first standing stage but Fourcade moved to within 5 seconds of the leader. Loginov was again perfect and heading for the last standing stage. The Yellow Bib had a penalty but his teammate went 15-for-15 to move to second while Johannes also perfect went out of the stadium a step ahead of Fourcade, 25 seconds back, setting up a potential podium battle between the old rivals.
Jacquelin and Johannes in Front
Loginov shot fast but missed one shot in the last standing while Johannes and Jacquelin both shot as fast but clean, with the rising French star in the lead by .1 seconds heading out for the last 2.5 km loop. Loginov was 8 seconds back. Fourcade added a penalty, leaving in fourth, 34 seconds back.
By 11.1 km, Johannes was in front but Jacquelin was not losing any ground, matching him stride-for-stride. Both were fatigued, slowing at one point to almost a crawl but at the same time watching each other carefully. Jacquelin pushed hard up the last hill under the bridge, taking the inside line on the last turns, pulling a meter or two in front for his first IBU World Championship.
“Do My Best and Hope for a Medal”
Although he won a Silver medal and not Gold today, the new father Johannes was satisfied. “I think I did a good race. We had very fast skis today so I could improve from my bad shooting in prone and put myself in position for Gold…I am a little less nervous in front of the World Champs this year because of the family situation at home. This puts me in a situation where I just want to have fun. That’s why I was not too disappointed with my fifth place yesterday and could just relax, do my best one more time and hope for a medal.”
Photos: IBU/ Christian Manzoni, Petr Slavik