December Sprint Hat Trick for Fourcade
Martin Fourcade of France added to the legend today, getting a December sprint hat trick with his 23:48 win, with a single penalty. Fourcade is the first man ever to win all three sprints before the holiday break. Second went to clean-shooting Russia’s Anton Shipulin, 2.6 seconds back, while third went to Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen, 6.5 seconds back with one penalty.
Just missing the podium was Svendsen’s teammate, Johannes Thingnes Boe, also with single penalty, 10.5 seconds back. Vladimir Iliev of Bulgaria, 15.8 seconds back while Andrejs Rastorgujevs of Latvia finished sixth, 16.3 seconds back. Both Iliev and Rastorgujevs had a single penalty.
Shipulin Leads; Fourcade, Svendsen and Boe Chase
This evening simply was a nice night for biathlon; minus 1C temperature, light winds and big enthusiastic crowd kept everyone’s adrenalin flowing.
The light breeze in the stadium meant that the shooting was good from the start, with more than 40 men cleaning prone. However, Boe, one of the favorites, missed a prone shot, while Fourcade and Svendsen both cleaned. Shipulin was behind this group, but looked confident as he quickly cleaned prone and repeated in standing to take the early lead. In standing, Boe cleaned while Svendsen and Fourcade both went to the penalty loop. Leaving for the last loop, the goal for all three men was simple: catch Shipulin. The gaps were 11.8seconds for Boe, 12.8 seconds for Fourcade and 15.5 seconds for Svendsen; all had a chance with the snow getting faster as the temperature dropped a bit. Boe did not have the speed and just pulled back a second, but Svendsen skied aggressively up the big climbs to climb to 5.5 seconds back at 7.8K. After that, he maintained his pace, but failed to gain any more time.
Fourcade Attacks…and Wins
Fourcade was the last of the three to challenge. He was up to the task, attacking from the moment he left the stadium, gaining 10.5 seconds on the hills, and then closing to .6 seconds by the 9.2K mark. Getting information from his coaches about that gap, there was little question about how he would ski that last 800 meters: very fast! He did just that and crossed the finish line, with an aggressive fist pump, knowing that he had topped Shipulin by 1.6 seconds.
Foto: Petr Slavík