Johannes Thingnes Boe Dominates, Wins IBU WCH Sprint Gold
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe, even with a single standing penalty, dominated this afternoon’s IBU World Championships sprint competition, taking the second IBU WCH sprint title of his career in 24:37.6. Russia’s Alexander Loginov, shot clean, challenging briefly after the standing stage, but settled for the Silver medal, 13.3 seconds back. Quentin Fillon Maillet of France, also shooting clean won his first-ever individual WCH medal taking the Bronze, 16.5 seconds back.
Nervous Gold Medalist
Johannes, who also won the same sprint title in 2015 at Kontiolahti, commented, “Very happy; it has been three years since the last time I won the sprint in Kontiolahti. I was shaky in my body this morning; I had some nerves. I decided to do things like in the other world Cups. I managed to do this and that is quite impressive.”
All three men in places four through sixth shot clean, with fourth place went to Ukraine’s Dmytro Pidruchnyi, 16.8 seconds back. Fillon Maillet’s teammates Simon Desthieux and Martin Fourcade finished fifth and sixth, 24.8 and 32,.5 seconds back, respectively. All three men shot clean.
After the significant snowfall of the past couple of days, the men seemingly got a break today with some peeks blue skies, just a few passing snow flurries and the wind flags typically fluttering in several directions. Yet at times the snow picked up before disappearing for the afternoon.
Typical Fast Start; Clean Shooting
Johannes started as per his normal style, 4.4 seconds ahead of the 27 men before him at the first split. He came to the range still in the lead, shot conservatively but clean and left in the top spot. At this stage, he was 8.8 seconds ahead of Germany’s Philip Nawrath. The next eight men, all clean including Loginov and Fillon Maillet were all within 22 seconds. Fourcade at number 56 came to prone slower than his rivals, but cleaned, leaving in sixth position, ahead of teammates Desthieux and Fillon Maillet.
Johannes Misses, Loginov Cleans and Challenges
Standing proved typically tricky, with the number of hose shooting clean dwindling. Fillon Maillet, the four-stage specialist was the first of the big names to go 10-for-10, taking a 4.4 second lead over Pidruchnyi, who was also perfect on the day. Johannes came to standing with a 26 second lead, missed the second shot, toured the penalty loop and to no one’s surprise came out 6 seconds ahead of his clean-shooting French rival. Desthieux also closed all of the targets, but was 16.6 seconds off the Yellow Bib’s blistering pace. Loginov took his opportunity to shoot clean and drop Johannes from the top spot, but only by .2 seconds. He commented, “When I saw that the first start numbers were clean in prone, I understood that to get a medal I would have to shoot clean. That is what I did and I battled really hard on the tracks.”
Fourcade in the Mix
Fourcade looked like all business as he came to standing, after skiing a strong second loop, 7.7 seconds behind Johannes. The multi-World Champion again shot deliberately but perfectly to move up to the fourth spot, 9.8 seconds back. Less than 3 seconds from his teammate Fillon Maillet.
All Johannes in Last Loop
Fillon Maillet continued to eat up the tracks, taking the interim lead at the finish. Yet Johannes continued to fly around the last 3.3K loop, until finishing 16.4 seconds ahead of the initial leader. In the meantime, Loginov lost time on the Norwegian with each split, but still managed to get in between Johannes and Fillon Maillet with a hard sprint in the last 100 meters. Fourcade, skied the last loop alone but aggressively, yet with 1300 meters to go, he had fallen to sixth position and would not challenge the top three.
Silver Medal Level
Loginov with his first IBU WCH individual medal today commented, “I am really satisfied with my Silver medal…I tried to do my maximum especially in the last loop. I understood that Johannes level is really high so I tried to keep it up and I think the Silver medal is my level for today.”
Perfect Start for Fillon Maillet
Fillon Maillet, who has only one other sprint podium among the fifteen in his career admitted he is not a sprint specialist. “The sprint is the hardest race for me…I feel very happy to start this Championship with a Bronze medal; a perfect start. Regarding the slow start by his team in the mixed relay and women’s sprint, he added, “I watched the women’s sprint and I felt a lot of pressure on the shooting range.”