Martin Fourcade Claims Antholz Mass Start
|22.01.2011, Antholz / Jerry Kokesh|
|Ferry Sprints to Second|
|Martin Fourcade of France claimed his first win of the season in the men’s 15K mass start today with one-penalty shooting, crossing the finish line in 35:33.4. Second went to the hard-charging Bjorn Ferry of Sweden, with two penalties, 17.2 seconds back, while Anton Shipulin of Russia was third, also with two penalties, 17.6 seconds back.
Clean Prone Shooting
The 30-man field left the stadium to the cheers of a capacity crowd of 14,000 screaming fans. Over the first 3K, the group stayed close. In the first prone, 12 men all shot clean, with Ole Einar Björndalen of Norway leading the pack, closely followed by Michal Slesingr of the Czech Republic and Fourcade. In the second prone stage, 10 men shot clean, with Germany’s Arnd Peiffer leading the way, followed by Austria’s Daniel Mesotitsch, Slesingr and Michael Greis. Björndalen had a penalty and fell back to 12th position. Eight men were within 4 seconds going into the first standing stage. Then the competition changed as only two of that group shot clean, surprising Markus Windisch of Italy and Slesingr. They left with a 14.9 second bulge over Fourcade and Ferry, both with one penalty.
Fourcade Gets Away; Ferry Charges
In the final standing stage, Fourcade shot clean and got away from the field. Mesotitsch also was clean and left in second, 17 seconds behind, being chased by Shipulin who had moved up through the field, despite two penalties along the way. Ferry left in fourth, but seven seconds behind Shipulin. He moved into second by the 13.6K mark with Ferry trying to close the gap on Mesotitsch for the third spot on the podium. Ferry was charging and right on Mesotitsch’s back coming into the stadium. Fourcade came home with the French flag in hand, while Ferry sprinted past both Mesotitsch and Shipulin to take second, with Shipulin finishing third.
After three second place finishes in Ruhpolding last week, Fourcade moved to the top spot today. He commented, “The conditions were wonderful today and I am very happy to win again.” On his strategy, he added, “I was hungry today after my bad result in the sprint. I took my time in prone to be sure to shoot clean. Then I attacked on standing. My shooting was good. (Ferry interrupted with, “His skiing was also good; I felt it on the fourth loop.) The skiing was good, but shooting made my victory.”
Fourcade is happy with his shape now but added, “Of course my shape is very good now, but as I saw in the sprint, you can be in your best shape and still be in 20th or more. The aim of all of the athletes is to be in top form for the World Championships.”
50 or 60 Shots Zeroing
Ferry, with the speedy last loop, commented on his final standing stage. “I realized already in the zeroing that it was difficult today. I took 50 or 60 shots just to be sure. I was not sure how the wind would work today. In the last standing, I hit four shots, waited and waited, but I missed. I am happy with my shooting, but it is bad to miss the last one.”
Shipulin was on the podium for the second time here after winning the sprint on Thursday. He said, “The shooting was not that good today, but I am quite happy with my skiing. I missed two on the second prone and I feel really bad about that. But I am quite happy to be in the first three.”
Mesotitsch in Fourth
Fourth went to Mesotitsch, with one penalty, 21.4 seconds back. Arnd Peiffer of Germany was fifth, with two penalties, 38.7 seconds back, 9.8 seconds ahead of his teammate Michael Greis, with three penalties. Seventh went to Björndalen, with three penalties, 54.7 seconds back while Austria’s Simon Eder rounded out the top eight, with two penalties, 1:15.3 back.