Martin Fourcade wins Oberhof mass start; Reclaims Yellow Bib
Martin Fourcade of France picked up his second win this week and his third win of the season this afternoon, taking the Oberhof men’s 15 km mass start with two penalties in 41:01.4. The victory moved Fourcade into the Yellow Bib, with previous leader Johannes Thingnes Boe at home while awaiting the birth of his first child. Germany’s Arnd Peiffer finished second, with three penalties, 20.1 seconds back. Fourcade’s teammate Simon Desthieux finished third, also with three penalties, 20.3 seconds back.
Luck and Kisses
The winner admitted he had some luck on the shooting range, while at the same tine was thrilled with his milestone victory. “My last shoot was a bit tricky; a bit of wind when I came in. I think I was a bit lucky because I missed only one when I could have missed three…I am really happy about what I achieved today. It is my 79th victory in the World Cup and I am so proud of it. I am just giving a big kiss to my two daughters at home!”
Norway’s Johannes Dale, with four penalties, finished fourth, 38.9 seconds back. Jakov Fak of Slovenia, with three penalties finished fifth, 43.1 seconds back, while Peiffer’s teammate Philipp Horn, with four penalties finished in a personal best sixth place, 43.2 seconds back.
Thirteen Clean in First Prone
The 30 men in the mass start were “treated” to the same conditions as the women earlier this afternoon, plenty of wind for the final competition in Oberhof this season.
The field skied conservatively in a group into the first prone stage, led by the French trio of Fourcade, Desthieux and Jacquelin. Tarjei, Fourcade and Desthieux all cleaned easily, leaving the stadium within two seconds. Ten others were also perfect, following within 14 seconds.
Peiffer Moves in Front
With the wind picking up again, Fourcade picked up a penalty to fall 26 seconds back while Tarjei had two. Peiffer however shot clean once again to shoot into the lead with teammate Kuehn and also 10-for-10 Simon Eder just behind. Peiffer and Eder were suddenly the only two men without a penalty loop. Midway through the next 3 km loop, Fourcade was leading a chase group of six men.
French Duo Takes Control
Peiffer skied easily into the first standing stage, shot before anyone else but missed his first and fourth targets. Desthieux and Fourcade both went 5-for-5, with Desthieux leading his teammate by two seconds as they left the stadium. Peiffer and Eder were now chasing, just over 26 seconds back. Fourcade quickly moved into the lead, as Desthieux seemed to be tiring, falling seven seconds back at the 12 km split.
Peiffer commented on taking the lead and his two penalties. “I knew it would be difficult in that shooting and I am not so satisfied with this shooting because I had two penalties. I think it was possible to shoot clean or maybe one penalty. But it was cool to be in the lead again. So it was not so bad that I was in the lead with 24 seconds…I was still in third position after the first standing so I knew I still had a chance to finish on the podium.”
Cautious Last Standing
Fourcade shot cautiously in the last standing stage, but missed the last shot. Still he left the stadium with a commanding 27 second lead over Desthieux who missed two. Peiffer had one penalty to move into third, with Fak just three seconds behind the German in a battle for the last podium spot.
Classic Fourcade Finish
The French star continued to pull away from the field as he headed for his second win this week. Peiffer closed to within 5 seconds of Desthieux with 500 meters to go. Fourcade crossed the finish line with his classic pose: head back, ski poles in the air signifying the victory and his return to the Yellow Bib. Peiffer continued to push hard, getting a razor thin gap on Desthieux just before the finish to secure second place.