Svendsen Slogs to Pursuit Victory

15.12.2012, Pokljuka / IBU Info JK
Strong Performance in Heavy Rain
Emil Hegle Svendsen claimed his first win of the new season by taking the men's 12.5K pursuit in 32:49.2, as heavy rain fell in Pokljuka. Second went Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic, with one penalty, 3.8 seconds back, while France's Martin Fourcade with two penalties was third, 17.4 seconds back.

Copyright IBU/Rene Miko
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Fourth went to Russia's Evegeny Garanichev, also with two penalties, 27 seconds back. Fredrik Lindström of Sweden, with two penalties, 33.9 seconds back and Evegeny Ustyugov in sixth, with three penalties, 42.3 seconds back.

Snow to Rain

Friday's heavy snow turned into rain overnight and continued as the men started. This rain was similar to the mass start here in the 2001 IBU World Championships, with steady heavy rain soaking the athletes. The positive side of this, if there is one, was the lack of wind on the shooting range which made shooting less of a challenge.

The top three men came to the first prone stage together, with Svendsen and Fourcade both cleaning while Fak had a penalty and fell back to fourth position, while Beatrix moved into third. The top two cleaned prone again as did Beatrix, but Fak had three penalties taking him out of the mix.

Standing Decisive

As usual, the standing stages proved decisive. Fourcade and Svendsen continued side-by-side cleaning almost in lock step. Beatrix fell off the pace with two penalties allowing Ustyugov, who cleaned to move into third with Moravec, also clean for three stages just behind him. As they headed for the final standing stage, Fourcade and Svendsen held a comfortable 20 second lead over the rest of the field. Svendsen had a single penalty while Fourcade had two. However Moravec with one penalty left in third position, less than a second behind Fourcade, although both were more than 20 seconds behind Svendsen. Moravec moved past Fourcade in the last 2.5K and pulled away for second place and the first podium of his career.

Two-Man Race

Svendsen commented, "It felt like a two-man race the whole way. But on the last shooting, I was able to keep my head together and go away with just one mistake...It was very hard conditions with the rain and soft tracks...My shape has been steady all winter, but my shooting is better and that is the difference now compared to a couple of weeks ago." Regarding his first win of the season, he added, "It is nice to be up here. I felt like something was missing this season."

Best Race of Career

Moravec said Gabriella Soukalova's performance in the sprint was inspiring. "Yesterday was perfect for our team. I tried to do the same as her today and stayed focused on the shooting range. I was close with only one penalty...the tracks were hard and slow today, just as Emil said, but for me it was the best race of my career. I am very happy to be on the podium for the first time."

Watching Emil

Fourcade continues to be pleased just to be on the podium. "Even though I am tired, I am quite proud of my six podiums this season. Emil and I did the perfect race for the first three stages. In the final stage, I was more focused on him than on my shooting and missed two shots."