Ferry Takes Ruhpolding Pursuit
|16.01.2011, Ruhpolding / Jerry Kokesh|
|Takes Lead after Final Standing Stage|
|Olympic Pursuit Champion Bjorn Ferry won men’s 12.5K pursuit today in Ruhpolding by shooting clean and pulling away over the final 2.5K loop. Ferry’s winning time of 31:56.6 put him 4.9 seconds ahead of Martin Fourcade of France, who had two penalties. Germany’s Michael Greis shot clean but was 2 seconds behind Fourcade at the finish.
Ferry in the Last Loop
The 26,000 spectators enjoyed both a perfect day and a spectacular men’s pursuit. Lars Berger attacked the tracks from the outset. He cleaned the first prone as did Martin Fourcade, with Tcherezov missing a single shot. The standings stayed the same for the second prone stage, where Berger picked up one penalty as did his two pursuers. Michael Greis shot clean and moved up to third position. As usual, the standing stages changed the nature of the competition. Berger had to take another penalty loop but maintained the lead. Boe rapidly shot clean and moved into second Greis and Bjorn Ferry also shot clean and moved into third and fourth. Fourcade had another penalty and fell back to fifth position, but very close to Greis and Ferry. In the final standing stage, Berger missed three targets and headed to the penalty loop. Greis and ferry shot clean, as Fourcade had a single penalty. Leaving for the final 2.5K loop, it was Greis, Fourcade, and Ferry separated by three seconds with Boe and Tcherezov just 4 seconds behind the lead group. Ferry went at that loop with a vengeance, hoping to show why he was the Olympic Pursuit Champion. Fourcade and Greis tried in vain to stay close up the tough hills, but Ferry pulled away. The three came across the finish line in that order.
Ferry commented on the final standing stage. “The last stage is always the hardest. Lars Berger had the biggest pressure today. I was on lane four so it was a little bit easier. But I heard Greis’ last shot and the audience went, ‘wooo-oh!’ so I knew I had to hit the last one to have a chance; I made it.”
He said winning in Ruhpolding is special for him. “I have trained here three times every year for the past ten years, so I have spent more than a year here. It is my second home in biathlon. After the Olympics and World Championships, this is the biggest win in biathlon, the pursuit in Ruhpolding.”
Second Place Times Three
Martin Fourcade was second for the third time this week. He commented, “I knew after Oberhof that I was in good shape and hoped to do well this week. But you can never say that you will be on the podium for the third time. Biathlon is not an exact science.”
Greis was thrilled to be on the podium in his home stadium. He said, “It was big wish of Coach Fritz Fischer that we would get on the podium here in our home stadium. I knew Tarjei Boe was coming from behind and I was having problems holding my speed, so it was really great that Fritz pushed me up that last hill.”
Fourth went to the Overall World Cup leader, Tarjei Boe of Norway, with two penalties, 7.6 seconds back, with Ivan Tcherezov of Russia, just three-tenths of a second back. Tcherezov had three penalties. Sprint winner Lars Berger, with five penalties, was sixth, 36 seconds back, just ahead of his teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen, with three penalties, 39 seconds back. Martin Fourcade’s brother Simon finished eighth, with two penalties, 46.2 seconds back.