Johannes Thingnes Boe Speeds to Le Grand Bornand Sprint Win
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe led from the moment he left the start house until the finish, shooting clean and skiing fast to take the men’s 10K sprint at le Grand Bornand in 22;16.9. Johannes, with his fourth win this season topped the home team hero Martin Fourcade, who also shot clean by 21.1 seconds. Third went to Fourcade’s teammate Antonin Guigonnat, shooting clean for his first career podium, 34.7 seconds back.
Germany’s Simon Schempp, also perfect on the shooting range finished fourth, 41.8 seconds back followed by another of Fourcade’s teammates Simon Desthieux in fifth f45.7 seconds back. Sixth went another late starter, number 84 Anton Shipulin, with one penalty, 54.9 seconds back.
Windless, Fast Tracks
Just like the women, the men had almost perfect conditions: windless, cloudy and fast tracks. The prone shooting was indicative of the great conditions with 48 men cleaning that stage today.
Johannes: Fast Skiing, Fast Shooting
Johannes set the pace on the tracks, going 10 seconds ahead of the field at the first split. His prone shooting was typically fast, putting him 17 seconds ahead of the field. Fourcade tried to match Johannes’ pace but was just a few seconds slower coming into prone. The Yellow Bib shot more conservatively, but matched. He left the stadium just 8.3 seconds behind his Norwegian rival. Starting just ahead of these two, Schempp looked better than any time this season, shooting with authority to take the initial lead after standing.
Aggressive Skiing and a Win
Johannes came to standing with a 13-second lead over the French star. The Norwegian quickly dropped the first four targets, hesitated and then the final one went down. He left with a 34.5 second lead over Schempp. The pressure was on Fourcade, who again shot conservatively, but cleaned. With 3300 meters to go, he was 14.7 seconds behind Johannes, but more than 20 seconds ahead of Schempp. Johannes was extremely aggressive and even faster on the last loop, weaving in and out of slower men on the tracks. He continued to pull away from Fourcade. Johannes crossed the finish line first, 41.8 seconds ahead of Schempp. Fourcade followed several minutes later, having not gained but lost ground on the last loop. Johannes had a 21.1-second victory over Fourcade, with Schempp in third.
First Podium for Guigonnat
None of the later starters challenged until Guigonnat with number 88 cleaned both stages and left the stadium after standing in third, 6.9 seconds ahead of Schempp. He continued to dig deep and pull away from Schempp, crossing the finish line 7.1 seconds faster than the German for the first World Cup podium of his career. His previous best World Cup result was 24th in the 20K individual at Oslo in February 2015. He commented, “It seems unreal to be here besides two monsters like these guys. It is incredible! After standing I was informed I had 7 seconds on Schempp and at that moment I trusted myself to hold that gap. I always trust in myself to be able to do something great like today.”
“Really Like It Here”
Johannes' win today matched his result of four years ago when he claimed his first World Cup win here. It is obvious that he likes this French venue. “I really like it here; the audience was amazing, they made big noise in the stands. It was a great sprint…this is a different track than in the rest of the World Cup; I really like it. It was a good start, but I know the rest of the field will attack me tomorrow.”
Martin Satisfied, Wants to Challenge Johannes
Fourcade felt the pressure but was satisfied to be better than four years ago. Despite that, he wants more. “I am very satisfied with my competition. I finished third four years ago but second today. I had a lot of expectations and a lot of pressure. I am quite satisfied about what I achieved, but like last week in Hochfilzen, Johannes was better so I need to continue to work. There will be some opportunities to catch him…The crowd was amazing. It was an incredible atmosphere… I had a lot of pleasure on the tracks and in the stadium, but of course I want to challenge Johannes more than I did today.”