Martin Fourcade Overwhelms Field in Tyumen Sprint Victory
Martin Fourcade of France overwhelmed the 84-man Tyumen sprint field, with his clean shooting and a dominant track performance this evening to claim his 8th World Cup win of the season in 25:49. His teammate Simon Desthieux, also shooting clean finished with his first-ever career podium in second place, 32.2 seconds back. Third went to Sweden’s Fredrik Lindström, also shooting clean, with his first individual podium of the season 33.5 seconds back.
Big Crystal Globe for World Cup Total Score and Sprint Globe to Fourcade
Fourcade’s win secured Big Crystal Globe for the World Cup Total Score, as well as the small sprint crystal globe by a two point margin, for the seventh consecutive season and put him within striking distance of claiming all of the small globes once again. The win sealed the World Cup Total Score title and the big Crystal Globe for the record-setting seventh consecutive season, with Fourcade currently at 1056 points to Johannes Thingnes Boe with 974. Fourcade also received the small globe for the individuals, in which he and Johannes tied; they received duplicate crystal globes.
The crystal winner commented, “I am really satisfied with what I did today? It was mentally challenging all these days fighting with Johannes for the Crystal Globe. It seems easy watching on TV, but I can confirm that it is not. I must admit that it (the big globe) was not my main goal back in Östersund; it was the Olympics. But as the season went on, the globe became the most important aim for both of us.”
Fourth place went to Andrejs Rastorgujevs of Latvia, 35.2 seconds back with Germany’s Erik Lesser, in fifth, 38.4 seconds back and Maxim Tsvetkov of Russia in sixth, 43 seconds back. All three men shot clean, like the top three.
Under the Lights with Snowfall
After sunlit competitions last week in Oslo, it was back to competitions under the lights today in Tyumen. Besides he lights, the conditions were significantly different, with light snow falling and temperatures at minus 3C. However, like Oslo was most of the week, the wind was absent on the shooting range. The light winds meant a lot of good prone shooting, with competitor after competitor closing all five targets, including early leader Loginov until Fourcade closed all five, taking a 2.1 second lead over the Russian. Julian Eberhard’s string of top performances ended with three penalties, taking him out of contention. Among those who cleaned early were Desthieux, Tsvetkov and local hero Shipulin, all about 10 seconds behind Fourcade. Among the 34 of the top 35 men who cleaned prone was Lindström, 13.5 seconds off the pace. Late starter Johannes in pursuit of the sprint globe was fast coming into prone, but missed the first and third shots, putting him at a huge disadvantage. While Johannes was struggling, the man just in front of him Lesser, cleaned to jump ahead of Fourcade.
More Clean Shooting in Standing
The good shooting continued in standing, with Rastorgujevs jumping into the early overall lead after cleaning standing, just as he did when he finished second in the Kontiolahti sprint two weeks ago. His lead of 9 seconds over Fillon Maillet, who was also perfect only held for a few minutes, until Fourcade came to the range. With the snow coming down harder, he shot conservatively but with a steady tempo to go 10-for-10. That gave the Yellow Bib a 20.7 second gap over the Latvian, with Fillon Maillet and Desthieux at 29 and 30 seconds back, respectively. Lindström made his podium run with a second clean stage, leaving in the third spot. Lesser continued his great day, adding his name to list of those shooting 0-0, but left 13.5 seconds behind the Yellow Bib, but ahead of Desthieux and Lindström Johannes came back with a fast clean stage, and was climbing back closer, in 16th to the top 12, necessary to secure the sprint title.
what a day for @FedFranceSki in the #TMN18 men's sprint: @martinfkde takes the win and the sprint globe, while @simondstx is second! 3rd place for @bredbypajken. Tune in for the ceremony on https://t.co/Z1cUg2llYh pic.twitter.com/28yPhmOWwY— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) March 22, 2018
Fourcade adds to Lead; Victory Assured
Rastorgujevs could not hold the high ski pace on the last loop, while Fourcade pushed his lead out to 34 seconds with 700 meters to go. In that final section, Desthieux got past Rastorgujevs, crossing two seconds ahead. Then Fourcade powered across the finish line, 33.2 seconds ahead of his teammate. Lindström followed next moving into third place. Lesser faded in the last loop, dropping to 4th with 700 meters to go, missing the podium. Like Lesser, Johannes struggled on the last loop unable to pull back enough seconds to reach the top 12, ceding the small globe and most likely the World Cup Total Score to Fourcade. No one would come close to the French star; the podium was set.
Nations Cup to Norway*
Tonight’s sprint tonight was the final competition in the Nations Cup, which went to Norway with 6458 points to 6129 for France.
The Fourcade Saga Continues…until at least 2020
Fourcade revealed his plans for the immediate future, ending all speculation about his possible immediate retirement. “I am just focusing on the remaining competitions this season. Then I am seeking to continue until the Antholz World Champs in 2020, but then I do not know if I will still be able to have enough motivation to continue to be the best biathlete in the world. I know that I will not do it as long as Ole Einar!”
Great Day for Desthieux
Desthieux was simply happy to finally be on the podium after a long season. It was a great day; because I am a little tired because the season was long and I did all of the races. I am so happy because it was my first podium…(adding with a smile)and maybe the first for Martin?"
Special Season for Lindström
Lindström admitted that his season was quite special and today just added to that. “It is always tough to get to the podium so I do not take anything for granted, but I am really happened that it happened this season…winning the Olympic Gold medal in the relay is amazing, I do not know what I could wish for (this season).”