Fourcade Perfect in Mass Start Win
|13.01.2013, Ruhpolding / IBU Info JK|
|Clean Shooting; Sprint Finish|
|Martin Fourcade of France shot clean and sprinted to the finish to claim the men’s mass start title today in 36:27.7. He sprinted Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko, who had one penalty in the final 100 meters. Malyshko was one-half of a second back. Third went to hard-charging Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway, with two penalties, 10.6 seconds back.
Fourcade’s teammate Alexis Beouf finished fourth, with one penalty, 10.9 seconds back. Fifth went to Germany’s Simon Schempp, also with one penalty, 11 seconds back, just six-tenths-of-a-second ahead of Slovenian Jakov Fak, with two penalties.
The men enjoyed the same great conditions for their competition as the women did today.
Seventeen men shot clean in the first prone stage, under the perfect windless conditions. Heading out for the second 3K loop, it was Eder, Fourcade and Svendsen at the head of the pack. After a few minutes, tactics took over as Fourcade slowed and no one wanted to lead. They jockeyed for several minutes until Landertinger and Eder took over for a bit. By the time the big pack came back to the stadium, Fourcade was again in control. Fourcade cleaned the second prone in a deliberate manner and left the stadium with the two Austrians. Fourcade dominated the first standing stage, with another clean but deliberate stage. Now only four men were clean, Fourcade, Birkeland, Ferry and Beatrix. These four plus Malyshko were within 6 seconds as they hit the tracks again.
Same story as with the women, final standing stage would be the difference maker; this time with six men in contention. Returning to the stadium Fourcade had a slight lead. He cleaned again as did Malyshko and Birkeland and Ferry. They all were within 8 seconds with 3K to go. Just behind them, there were another five men within 17 seconds of the lead, meaning a fast skier could move up in the final loop. Malyshko and Fourcade were side-by-side battling for the win. Fourcade let the Russian lead down the final hill and then outsprinted him for the win. Svendsen came on strong in the last loop and sprinted in for third place.
Fourcade said his tactics today were simple. "My tactic was to shoot 20 and ski as fast as possible...I used all of my strength to beat him (Malyshko) today. I really wanted to win today, so I gave a bit more than usual."
Regarding when he knew he would win, the answer was equally simple. "One meter before the finish was when I knew I would win!"
Chance on Uphills
Malyshko returned the compliment saying, "I want to thank him because now I know what the weak point in my race is." Still, the Russian star thought he could win. "I hoped to beat him on the uphills."
Hard Day at the Office
Svendsen commented, "It was a fun competition, but still a hard day at the office. I am happy with my sprint. It was a big battle with Fak and Boeuf who are good sprinters."