One Penalty No Problem: Johannes Thingnes Boe Sprints to Victory
Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway out ran a single prone penalty with a torrid last loop to secure his seventh victory this season in this afternoon’s Antholz sprint. He finished in 23:19.3, 12.8 seconds ahead of second place Martin Fourcade of France who shot clean. Third went to Germany’s Arnd Peiffer, who also shot clean, 42.2 seconds back.
Just missing the podium was Russia’s Anton Shipulin, with one penalty, 46.3 seconds back. Fifth went to Fourcade’s 22-year-old teammate Emilien Jacquelin who started with number 94 and made a late run for the podium with clean shooting and a fast time on the tracks. He finished 53.7 seconds back, while Lars Helge Birkeland of Norway was sixth, also shooting clean, but 1:07.8 back.
Wind, Prone Penalty for Johannes; Rivals Clean
Despite some passing clouds, by the time the men got on the tracks, the sun was out and unlike yesterday, the wind was stronger, making shooting a little trickier especially for the earlier starters. Before the biggest names got out on the tracks, Andrejs Rastorgujevs set the bar with a clean prone stage and only eight of the first thirty starters mastering the wind to match him. It took number 37, Birkeland to finally move ahead of the Latvian with a faster clean prone. The next man, Eberhard shot faster to move into the early lead. Johannes and brother Tarjei both took almost 18 seconds to the first shot, with each picking up a penalty. The younger brother was just eight seconds off the lead until Shipulin, Peiffer and Fourcade went 5-for-5 in succession and move into the top three spots, just seconds apart.
Johannes Cleans Standing; Flies to Victory
Standing was less of a problem for the top men, as the wind started to ease. Birkeland became the early leader after dropping all five standing targets, but the faster men were not far behind. Johannes was skiing much faster, then shot fast and clean to quickly unseat his teammate to get a 30 second lead. His success put the pressure on the prone leaders. Shipulin left one target standing putting him out of contention. Peiffer cleaned calmly with still a podium chance. Fourcade, again very composed went 1,2,3,4, 5 targets down, 3.1 seconds down on Johannes, who was flying around the last loop. With 1200 meters to go, Johannes was up to almost a minute lead over Birkeland.
It's a very familiar picture - @7ohannesbo and @Martinfkde occupy the top of the #ANT18 podium with @skiverband's Arnd Peiffer skiing and shooting his way to a strong 3rd place.— IBU World Cup (@IBU_WC) January 19, 2018
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Fourcade tried to close the gap but fell back to over 10 seconds at the 8.8K split, with Peiffer hanging on to third, just a few seconds ahead of Shipulin. Peiffer and Fourcade worked together in that last 1200 meters which helped Peiffer secure third place as Fourcade who started 30 seconds later claimed second place.
You Never Know
Johannes admitted victory was never assured. “In the sprint, you almost always have to shot clean. After my prone miss, I knew a podium would be hard, but you never know; you fight hard. With zero in standing, I knew there was a chance…I had the times from the start and knew I had good speed today…Martin is almost always stronger than me on the last lap, but today I was not tired.”
Fourcade was happy despite second place. “I was pleased with my competition. It is my best sprint result here and my best since 2011, so I am pretty satisfied.”
Martin Helped Me
Peiffer was equally satisfied with his day. “Happy to be back on the podium especially with these two guys; I just did my job today, but it was no easy. It was good for me that I had Martin for the last kilometer. It was a good fight with him and at the end it was quite close…I think Martin helped me to be in third.”