Snowy Oberhof Pursuit Victory for Johannes Thingnes Boe
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe won the Oberhof pursuit with three penalties in 34:29.8. Boe’s seventh win of the season came with a single-penalty last standing stage while battling heavy snowfall. Germany’s Arnd Peiffer, with one penalty thrilled the German crowd with a finish line sprint that gave him second place, 15.1 seconds back. Italy’s Lukas Hofer, in a season-best third place shot clean but was .7 seconds behind Peiffer.
Oberhof Men's Pursuit
Martin Fourcade of France shooting alongside Johannes in the last standing stage had one penalty more than the Norwegian, pushing Fourcade down to fourth place, 32.6 seconds back. Sprint winner Alexander Loginov finished fifth, with four penalties, 42.4 seconds back, while Fourcade’s teammate Simon Desthieux finished sixth, with one penalty, 51.8 seconds back.
Heavy Snow and Wind
The women got a break a few hours ago, missing the snow during the competition; the men did not, Heavy driving almost blinding snow started just minutes before Loginov left the starting gate. The weather change would have a huge effect on the results, at the range and again on the tracks. The winner commented on the conditions, “In every lap, I had to make tracks for the others, because it was snowing. It was not so much fun being in front; to be like that machine that makes tracks for the others.”
Loginov in Front
Loginov led the way on the first loop through the heavy snow, but he missed a shot while Johannes shot with authority to take the lead. Fourcade got in the game quickly with an equally aggressive and clean stage to leave in third. Despite the weather, no one in the top 10 had more than one penalty.
Top Three Unchanged
In the second prone, Johannes has to blow the snow out of his sights, took a click, shot fast and missed a shot. Loginov and Fourcade did the same, keeping the top three in the same spots. Peiffer and Hofer stayed clean with another 5-for-5 to move up to fourth and fifth.
Fourcade Moves Up
The wet soft snow continued to build up as the men headed to the first standing stage; Fourcade, skiing well, moved up to Loginov’s shoulder. Johannes added another penalty, while Fourcade shooting on lane 2 cleaned. Loginov went to the penalty loop for two tours. Johannes left the loop, with his biggest rival, Fourcade on his shoulder. Peiffer moved to third even with a penalty with the clean-shooting Hofer in fourth.
Johannes Wins Last Stage Duel
Fourcade let the Norwegian lead the loop heading to the last standing stage. By the time they got to the range, Fourcade was a stride in the lead. The French star gambled in their duel by shooting fast and missed twice. while Johannes had just a single penalty. Hofer and Peiffer both shot 5-for-5 to head out just 9 seconds behind the Norwegian, with Fourcade 12 seconds farther back. Johannes explained, “Martin is a really good athlete; we have been in this situation many times before, so…before it was like ‘I am standing with Fourcade.’ Now it is, ‘It is Fourcade again; let’s try to do our best.’”
Second Place Battle
Johannes headed for win number seven this season, but Hofer and Peiffer were battling for the podium. Fourcade tried to close the gap to no avail. Peiffer and Hofer both sprinted in the final 50 meters, with the German taking second to the delight of the crowd. Peiffer said, “I talked to Lukas because Fourcade was six seconds behind us and said we have to push now. I knew I had to push…and sprint with Lukas. I knew it would be okay to be in third position but I did not want it to be in fourth position. So we just pushed so Martin would not reach us…today it was a good decision. We are both on the podium.”
Hofer wanted to make up for the single penalty yesterday in the sprint that probably cost him a podium place. “I was really focused on the shooting range today because I was quite angry with myself about yesterday…one mistake and it was a stupid one. It was quite difficult today but I shot slowly and it paid off.”