Lakeside Fun: Fillon Maillet and Davidova win at Fourcade Festival

This afternoon’s men’s mass start at the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival had the perfect ending for the home crowd favorite, World Cup Total Score winner and Olympic Champion Quentin Fillon Maillet. He cleaned the last standing stage in six shots and sped away to victory in 24:36 after waving and high-fiving elated fans over the closing 400 meters. Earlier in the afternoon, Marketa Davidova, who won two medals at last week’s IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships took control from Ukraine’s Darya Blashko with 1 km to go and like Fillon Maillet cruised to an unchallenged victory in 23:13.1.

“My dream win for summer”

Fillon Maillet called his first podium at the MFNF very special. Winning was not a dream like winning a World Cup but it was my dream for the summer. It is good to win here. In the last years here, I was not on the podium but was happy to race and now to win and share it with the public. Sharing with them is awesome!”

Thanks to Martin and fans

“The king of the four-stage competitions” was his usual self in the last standing, shooting fast and closing his last target before rival Sean Doherty hit his final shot. As for the last loop, Fillon Maillet added, “I kept pushing hard to have time to share with the public and take a French flag. It was a good moment. I thank Martin, the organization and the great fans for this moment.”

Header iconMartin Fourcade Nordic Festival 2022

Davidova, “could not wait to get to finish”

Davidova, like Fillon Maillet took control after the last standing stage but in a different manner, leaving several seconds behind Darya Blashko, the Czech star chased down her rival, then pulling away for a comfortable win. “I planned to just go behind her, because it was windy and it is easier to follow. But then I passed and went for it. But it was really hard. You have to work all the time because it is flat. I could not wait to get to the finish.”

Very special event

Although it was hard, Davidova admitted she is a fan of the MFNF. “I did not like these show races. But this place, by the lake and the fans have change my mind. I really like this event. It is very special.”

21-year-old Uldal fourth

Doherty with one penalty finished second to Fillon Maillet, 15.8 seconds back with Fillon Maillet’s teammate Antonin Guigonnat finishing third, 35.7 seconds back. 21-year-old Norwegian Martin Uldal finished fourth, 41.5 seconds back. The winner of four Bronze medals at last March’s IBU YJWCH had high hopes, staying in the top three until the last stage. “I hoped to be in better shape today. I do not know if it was the heat or not. Not great shape, okay shooting (no penalties). It was so fun, so many people and all the cheering, really nice!”

Olsbu Roeiseland working on shape

Blashko finished second in the women’s competitions, 10.5 seconds back with Dorothea Wierer in third, 19.8 seconds back. Chloe Chevalier finished fourth, also with a penalty, 29.7 seconds back, with teammates Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, fifth and sixth, 49.4 and 52.5 seconds back respectively. World Cup Total Score winner Olsbu Roeiseland who shot clean and skied aggressively admitted before the start, “My shape is not as good as I would like. I had a slow start to the summer after two hard years. But I hope to be where I want by November. Her at Fourcade, I just want to show some improvement.”

Doro’s 10 seconds and house money

After threatening rain for several days, it was a warm 26 degrees and sunny for both competitions. It was quite windy during zeroing, but the wind flags went flat during both competitions. Accordingly, there were many missed shots and spare rounds fired with several athletes using all their spares and ending up in the 10-second penalty box. Wierer made a visit to the penalty box after using all her spares in the last standing stage; a visit that probably cost her second place. “10 seconds is a lot. It is really hard to do, but it was a good race for me.” Regarding where her prize money form today would go, she added, commenting on the new house she and husband Stefano have been building for more than a year. “It will go to something for the house; everything goes into it. But it is an investment for the future. The good thing is that I am finally moving in…in two weeks!”

Doherty’s podium “pretty special”

The biggest surprise came in the form of Doherty’s second place. He and Deedra Irwin (7th place) were the first Americans to compete in the MFNF. Before the competition Fourcade said, “I am really happy that we have the Americans here this year for the first time; that is very special.” Doherty, the 2016 IBU Pursuit Junior World Champion, surely made Fourcade proud. After sixth in the IBU SBWCH Gala Mass Start last week, Doherty battled for the win until the last standing stage when he needed one more spare round than Fillon Maillet, resulting in a still excellent second place. Doherty who has never been on an IBU BMW World Cup podium said the podium today was “pretty special. What a fun day; awesome atmosphere, pretty novel competition down her on the waterfront. It was fun, it was charged up just like a World Cup. The pressure was not on me. I am not the Olympic Champion. I was just trying to put on a good show. It is always fun to go head-to-head and especially with those guys (Fillon Maillet and Co.). It was so amped up; what we do it for. I really had fun!”

Those comments sum up this afternoon of biathlon battles alongside Lake Annecy: fun, fans, and emotions mixed with a fair dose of competitiveness, a perfect place and a perfect way to spend a late summer afternoon!

Photos: IBU/ Christian Manzoni, Jerry Kokesh

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