First Career Win for Quentin Fillon Maillet in Antholz Mass Start
Quentin Fillon Maillet of France challenged Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe on the tracks, and then outshot him to claim his career-first World Cup victory, taking the Antholz mass start this afternoon in 34:39.4. The winner did not miss a shot while Johannes, with two penalties finished second, 14.2 seconds back. Third place went to Arnd Peiffer of Germany, also shooting clean, 24.6 seconds back.
The first win took one goal off Fillon Maillet’s list. “I feel very happy. Before today, I had twelve podiums but no victories. That was my big goal this season also with WCH. I have always wanted to take this first place; sometimes very close like in Pokljuka but today I got it.”
Continuing, he admitted the win and last standing did not come easy. “I had no strategy today other than to shoot clean. (On the last standing) My legs were moving a little bit so stability was hard. I knew if I shot clean I could make the win. It was hard: lots of emotion; I listened to the public. I knew it was the first time I could win…quite hard.”
Martin Fourcade of France with one penalty finished fourth, 50.4 seconds back, just 1.4 seconds ahead of his teammate Antonin Guigonnat, with two penalties in fifth place. Benjamin Weger of Switzerland finished sixth, with two penalties, 52.5 seconds back.
Heavy clouds shrouded some of the afternoon sun for the final competition, but that kept the wind a virtually zero; one more round of perfect competition conditions. Johannes set and controlled the pace for the first loop, with everyone skiing comfortably behind him. Unsurprisingly, Simon Eder cleaned the first prone, leaving in front of the train of seventeen men, including Johannes who matched the Austrian’s perfect shooting.
Johannes Controls Pace
As expected, Johannes and Fourcade moved back to the front of the field within the next 900 meters, but with the Norwegian controlling the pace. This time, Guigonnat got the jump with his fast clean stage to lead Johannes and the now a dozen clean shots onto the 3K loop. This pack remained quite tightly bunched, all within 17 seconds.
Spectacular first standing shooting from @quentinfillon -- the @FedFranceSki ace leads Dominik Windisch and Arnd Peiffer. @7ohannesbo heads to the penalty loopy. 😮#ANT19— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 27, 2019
Watch the men's mass start live on https://t.co/bk5aBBso9Q pic.twitter.com/Dl03dlB3xU
Fillon Maillet In Front
By the half-way split, the Yellow bib was back in control, until Fillon Maillet took charge, pressing the pace,with aggressive skiing right up to the shooting range. The two went shot-for-shot until Johannes missed sending him to the loop, while Fillon Maillet left in the lead. Windisch and Peiffer, both also 15-for-15 were 10.5 seconds back while Johannes chased them in fourth.
Shot-For-Shot; Johannes on the Loop
Fillon Maillet put some distance between him and the chasers before they climbed the hill at the Huberalm, putting him alone as he set up for the final standing stage. He quickly cleaned and was gone before the others fired a shot. Johannes missed as did Windisch. Peiffer dropped all five targets slowly to go out in the second spot, but 19.6 seconds back. Johannes in full chase mode was 29 seconds back.
Career Win Number 1 for Fillon Maillet
With 1400 meters to go, Fillon Maillet’s lead and win was secure, while Johannes pulled away from Peiffer. It was ski poles to the sky as Fillon Maillet crossed the finish line with career victory number 1!
Johannes prefers to be in front, but was realistic in evaluating his day. “It is not easy to get behind. It is much easier to be in front and control. When I saw Arnd, I knew it would be really tough to catch him. I knew the victory was gone so I had to push for second…I know you cannot win forever. Still I am second place and very happy.”
300th World Cup: Third Place
Peiffer was pleased to be third in his 300th WC start. “Today I realized this is my 300th World Cup race and thought third place is better so I let Johannes pass. I had no chance; Johannes is the most uncomfortable person you want to have behind you on the last lap! I am satisfied with my shooting, 100% is what you always want achieve.”