Johannes Thingnes Boe Victorious in IBU WCH Mass Start
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe shot clean to win the IBU World Championships Men’s Mass Start Gold medal in 38:09.5. Today’s Gold medal in the closing competition in Antholz was the Norwegian’s third Gold medal but his first in an individual competition this year; the other two were in the mixed and single mixed relays. He also won Silver medals in the 20 km individual, pursuit and relay competitions. Quentin Fillon Maillet of France won the Silver medal, with three penalties, 42 seconds back. His teammate Pursuit World Champion Emilien Jacquelin won the Bronze medal, with two penalties, 55 seconds back.
Johannes acted like he was cradling his young son as he crossed the finish line. “I was sending a message home. I am going there tomorrow. It has been one amazing Championships. I am very happy.”
“Felt good all the way”
Regarding his 20-for-20 shooting, he added, “I think I could have won with one in the last standing. But winning with a perfect race today is quite emotional. Our skis today were…I am so impressed by the wax techs for the whole Champs but today I felt really strong and also had good skis…I felt good all the way.”
First Prone Penalties
The last competition of the 11-day IBU World Championships was the same as the earlier women’s competition, cold, cloudy and virtually windless. Martin Fourcade and Johannes controlled the pace initially, but midway through the first loop, the French trio of Fourcade, Jacquelin, and Fillon Maillet took over; all three had a penalty in the first prone, putting them 27-30 seconds back. Jakov Fak cleaned to leave in the lead with Benedikt Doll and Desthieux next; Johannes was also perfect, 7 seconds back. Johannes quickly moved back into the lead with Tarjei and Johannes Dale in tow, just a few hundred meters into the next 3 km loop.
The Boe brothers made it a 10-for-10 day quickly as did Dale, separated by just 3 seconds. The French trio of Desthieux, Fillon Maillet and Jacquelin did the same to make it a Norway/France battle as they headed to the first standing stage. Fak had a penalty, falling to 10th position.
Johannes Perfect in Standing
Johannes was the only one in the leading group to close all five standing targets. Fillon Maillet and Desthieux both added a penalty loop but came out in 2nd and 3rd, but 17 seconds behind the Norwegian. Johannes pushed the pace to add to his lead, going up 25 seconds by the 10.5 km split, while his brother moved past Desthieux into 3rd position.
The leader skied comfortably into the last standing stage. He closed the five gargets with ease, giving him a 20-for-20 day. Fillon Maillet picked up a penalty but got away in second, 45 seconds back while his younger teammate Jacquelin cleaned to leave in third, 55 seconds back. However, Tarjei with a penalty left just 7 seconds later than Jacquelin.
Jacquelin Attacks for Bronze medal
Johannes skied the last loop in control for the Gold medal. He came to the stadium slapping hands, smiling, ski poles up, and finally mimicking cradling a baby as he finished, Fillon Maillet was unchallenged for the Silver medal. Tarjei closed the gap and sat on Jacquelin’s shoulder, then took the lead. However Jacquelin attacked on the last hill into the stadium, took the inside line around the last corners and claimed the Bronze medal. He explained their final battle. “Tarjei passed where I passed Johannes in the pursuit, so I knew what he wanted to do. In the stadium, there was a small gap, two meters on the right. I decided to pass there because without that I could not reach third place. It was a different sprint but maybe harder than the other one because of the snow conditions.”
Happy but Sad
Fillon Maillet had big goals today. “I was very motivated for the race today. My big goal for the World Championships was to take the Gold. I am happy with this race and the World Championships but a bit sad because I was so close but not in first place. The relay yesterday made it a good World Championships.”
Eleven Medals for Norway
With two Gold medals on this closing day, Norway topped the medals table with six Gold medals, three Silver medals and two Bronze medals for a total of eleven medals. France was second in the final standings with three Gold medals, two Silver medals and three Bronze medals totaling eight medals. Ten nations won medals over the 11 days of competition.
Photos: IBU/Petr Slavik