Fourcade Unchallenged in Östersund Sprint
Clean-shooting Martin Fourcade of France went two-for-two this season in Östersund winning the men's 10K sprint in 23:31.9 this afternoon. Sweden’s Fredrik Lindstroem got the home crowd on their feet as shot clean to finish second, 41.5 seconds back. Germany's Arnd Peiffer matched Fourcade and Lindstroem on the shooting range to take the last spot on the podium, 43.6 seconds back.
The 105-man field benefitted from the same windless conditions that the women had earlier in the day, making clean shooting crucial to success.
The French star wore the Yellow and Red number 11 bib; leading from wire-to-wire, daring the rest of the field to challenge him . Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe, second in the 20K on Thursday seemed like the man to challenge Fourcade, but the young Norwegian two penalties, one in both prone and standing two missed shots blew away his podium chances. The other top men picked up penalties and fell out of contention; Germany’s Simon Schempp had one and Russia’s Anton Shipulin had two.
Fourcade's 51st World Cup victory was not as easy as it looked, “Conditions today were very different from 20K. It was much more difficult out there on the tracks. Today was a big battle against myself, and I won.”
He speculated about a three-win weekend.
“When you think that you have a two-bullets margin, this is very wrong in biathlon. I wonder if I can win three times in a row in Östersund; I have not done it yet. We will see tomorrow.”
Peiffer is looking forward to the pursuit,
“I think it will be a great action tomorrow. Fourcade is very ahead of everybody else, but many athletes after second position are so close.”
Lindstroem; Big Surprise of the Night
Another flawless shooting performance came from Sweden’s favorite Lindstroem. He left the shooting range in third after standing, but to outskied Peiffer on the last loop, carried by loud cheering from the Swedish fans.
Lindstroem commented on the crowd support, “I was not the fastest athlete on the tacks, but I had a focus to hit them all. I had my family and friends in the stadium, and they helped me. Our whole team had a great start.”