Tarjei Boe Clinches Nove Mesto Pursuit Win in Last Standing Stage
Norway’s Tarjei Boe came to the last standing stage in the Nove Mesto na Moravě men’s 12.5 km pursuit this afternoon, battling IBU Pursuit World Champion Emilien Jacquelin for the win. With everything depending on five shots, the veteran Norwegian cleaned to secure his first pursuit win in 10 years, with a single penalty in 28:17.3. His brother Johannes Thingnes Boe, with two penalties gave the Boe family a 1-2 finish, 8.2 seconds back. Yesterday’s sprint winner Simon Desthieux of France, with two penalties finished third, 11.5 seconds back.
Struggles with 20-shot Competitions
The 32-year-old Tarjei reflected on his first pursuit win since December 1, 2010 in the season when he won the World Cup Total Score Crystal Globe. “I have become old; I guess that is what happened. I struggled for some years with the 20 shot competitions. My sprint qualities have been quite good in the past years. Now I have two victories in the mass start and pursuit this season. I missed the last shot yesterday so I was quite focused to do it right today.”
Regarding the last stage battle with Jacquelin, “I was quite happy with my shape today so the key was the fourth round with Emilien to keep Johannes and the group at a fair distance so if we shoot the same I would still beat them. That is exactly what happened. Of course when you are with Emilien the World Champion two years in a row in this discipline; you know if we shoot the same, he will win in this tracks. It is quite fast and with his sprint qualities, I would have no chance. So, when I heard he missed; then I just switched the to my targets and cleaned. It was quite fun to play like that!"
“As many victories as possible”
The victory today was important for Tarjei. “My goal for this season was to have another victory. I missed this in the last years. This season I have three and that was my goal, to get a higher top level. That will be my focus the next weeks, not to take as many points as possible but to take as many victories as possible.”
Slovenia’s Jakov Fak, shot clean but finished fourth, 12.8 seconds back. Norway’s Sturla Holm Laegreid wearing the Red Bib had two penalties in fifth place, 13.4 seconds back. Desthieux’s teammate Quentin Fillon Maillet also with two penalties finished sixth, 13.5 seconds back.
The last competition of this week looked pretty similar to the earlier women’s pursuit, with continuing clear skies, but a bit warmer at +4C while the wind flags on the range continued to shift and swirl with the ever-changing moderate breezes. Desthieux set the pace for the leading trio over the first 2.5 km, with Tarjei, Laegreid and Doll slowly closing the gap to the front. The sprint leader was fast and clean in the first prone, going out 3 seconds ahead of the also clean Peiffer and Doll, another 7 seconds in arrears, Samuelsson with a penalty was fourth but 23 seconds from the leader, with Laegreid, Jacquelin and Tarjei forming an aggressive chase group.
Tarjei Takes the Lead
Desthieux had two penalties while Peiffer and Doll each had one in the second prone stage. This opened the door for Tarjei who cleaned to slip into the lead just ahead of Peiffer exiting the penalty loop. Jacquelin who was also perfect and Doll now made up a tightly pack of four at the front. Fak who was up to 10-for-10 trailed by 10 seconds.
Jacquelin and Tarjei
Jacquelin cleaned the first standing stage rapidly as did Tarjei while the Two Germans went to the penalty loop. Fak, upping his day to 15-for-15 moved into third position, but 12 seconds back, with Laegreid and Desthieux with him. Johannes after two earlier penalties was up to sixth, but 23 seconds back. The two leaders pushed each other, pulling away to a 10 second lead over the chasers before the final standing stage.
Tarjei’s Clean Stage Clinches Win
Tarjei and Jacquelin went shot-for-shot until the French star missed and the Norwegian cleaning and clinching the victory, leaving the stadium with an 11-second lead. Desthieux, Laegreid, Johannes and Fak all were perfect, going out in a train at 11 seconds back, with Jacquelin joining as they left the stadium.
Boe Brothers 1-2
The veteran Norwegian was clearly in control at the front, heading for the win, crossing with a big smile on his face. His younger brother quickly moved into second position at the 11.6 km split, setting up a Boe family 1-2 finish. This set up a huge battle for third place. Desthieux moved into position as they topped the final hill, sprinting down the last 25 meters to just edge Fak for third place.
Johannes’ Podium Comeback
Johannes appreciated getting back on the podium after only one individual podium, also in the pursuit at the recent IBU World Championships. “After the sprint, I needed a good shoot today to be on the podium. It did not look like that after the first (prone). I felt some issues in recent races and after two in the first prone today, I thought, ‘okay, this will be hard but don’t give up. I managed to do three clean shootings after ands suddenly I was in a fight for the podium. That tasted really nice; even though I have had lot of them in the last years, it tastes even better when it has been some time since you were there.”
Third Place Desthieux, after his big win and the IBU WCH medal went out today with a different goal. “Today before the race I said in my head, ‘okay I did a lot of good things this season; today I have to take a lot of pleasure to play my best biathlon. Simply play…I am very happy to be on the podium again, even with that bad second shooting (two penalties).”
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni