Johannes Thingnes Boe cruises to Hochfilzen Pursuit win
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe cruised in the lead without missing a target from start to finish in this afternoon’s men’s 12.5 km pursuit for his first sprint/pursuit double of the season. His 31:27 time was 33.5 seconds better than second place Alexander Loginov of Russia who also shot clean. France’s Emilien Jacquelin in third place, also shooting clean secured his first-ever World Cup podium with a breakaway at the 11.6 km split. He finished 40.5 seconds back.
The winner was all smiles as he commented on his second wire-to-wire win in as many days. “I was planning to do something if I shot clean and luckily I did; it was a great race, starting with bib 1, shoot twenty in front. It was quite hard to push hard from the start, the whole race, but it paid off in the end. The last loop was pretty chill…it was a good time.”
Jakov Fak of Slovenia also shooting clean finished fourth, edging Simon Desthieux of France with one penalty; both were 41,6 seconds back. Tarjei Boe of Norway, with two penalties finished sixth, 1:06.3 back.
In Control from the Start
Conditions remained the same as earlier in the day for the first pursuit competition of the season, cloudy and +1C temperature, with light winds. Johannes controlled the first loop, skiing comfortably and cleaning the first prone with equal ease. Loginov, Hofer, Tarjei and Eliseev did the same and followed in a pack just over 30 seconds back. Eighteen of the next nineteen all had zeros behind their names heading to the second prone stage.
The second prone was a repeat of the first for the red-haired Norwegian: perfect and pushing his lead out to 32 seconds over his fast-shooting brother and Hofer with the two Russians now 4th and 5th, but still very close to the podium spots.
More Perfection in Standing
The first standing stage was more of the same; five targets going to white for the leader, making seem unstoppable. His brother missed a shot and fell back while Hofer and Loginov cleaned simultaneously to go out in second and third, now 40 seconds back. Chasing the top three were Eliseev, Fak who also were perfect through three stages.
Sealing the Deal
Five more perfect standing shots sealed the deal for Johannes. He skied at the same pace to cross the finish line waving to the crowd. Hofer and the two Russians squared off in standing to seemingly battle for second and third. Loginov cleaned while Hofer missed twice and Eliseev once.
Jacquelin’s Podium Push
Fak equaled the Norwegian with five more center shots to grab a slight lead out of the stadium over Jacquelin and Desthieux, while Hofer and Eliseev were on the penalty loop. The trio skied together until 900 meters to go when Jacquelin grabbed a few meters on his rivals. He carried that lead to the finish for his first-ever individual World Cup podium. Fak outsprinted Desthieux for fourth place.
“I could do better”
Jacquelin changed his mind set over the summer; that contributed to his podium and his first 20-shot clean shooting day. “I have changed something in my head since last year; after last year I was a bit disappointed about my results. I thought I could do better. This year I worked hard physically and mentally to be better on the shooting range also. It was my first 20 today; it was a tough race. The track was really icy, but I am proud to be on the podium with these two guys.”
Photos: Evgeny Tumashov