Martin Fourcade Skis to Pursuit Title
|06.03.2011, Khanty Mansiysk / Jerry Kokesh|
|Norwegians Svendsen and Boe on Podium|
|Martin Fourcade of France claimed the first World Championship title of his career today by winning the men’s 12.5K pursuit in 33:02.6. Despite three penalties, Fourcade finished 3.8 seconds ahead of Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen, who only had two penalties. Svendsen’s teammate Tarjei Boe, also with two penalties, finished just 1.4 seconds farther back.
Early in the competition, it looked like the Sprint titlist Peiffer would have another Gold medal in hand. He shot clean in the two prone stages and held a lead of over 15 seconds on Fourcade who had a prone penalty in the second stage. In the first standing stage, with Fourcade next to him, Peiffer had a penalty, but Fourcade had two. By this point, a pack of hungry medal seekers that included Svendsen, Boe, and Germany’s Andreas Birnbacher were in hot pursuit. The final standing stage ended the tale; Fourcade determinedly dropped the five targets in rapid succession as Peiffer toured the penalty loop. That set up a battle for Silver and Bronze that unfolded over the next 2.5K with neither Boe, nor Svendsen, nor Peiffer giving an inch as Fourcade skied in front of them. In sight of the finish line, Svendsen took off leaving the Boe and Peiffer to battle for Bronze. The young Norwegian got a slight advantage and as they reached the line, Peiffer settled for fourth place.
Fourcade explained his strategy today. “I spoke to my coach yesterday who said I should be intelligent and stay calm for a win. But my personal strategy was to attack because I really wanted this Gold medal. I am really proud of it, but I made some mistakes. But this was because I really wanted the Gold and did not fight for Silver. I tried to put pressure on Arnd; it was a good race.”
His reaction to his first World Championship was, “It is wonderful. I never thought of it, so it is really a dream. You know, you have some chances in life to be World Champion. Today was one of my best chances to be that. So I am really proud; it is a wonderful sensation.”
Happy with Silver
Svendsen thought he possibly could take the Gold medal. “I felt good on the tracks and knew that if I shot 18, 19, or 20 I could possibly catch the Gold medal. I knew it is difficult for the athletes shooting on target one in the last stage. I did not give up hope, but I shot one mistake there and that is why I could not quite battle Martin for the Gold. But I am quite happy with the Silver…It is a good start to the championships for me.”
The Yellow/Red Bib-wearing Boe took his second Bronze medal to go with his Gold from the mixed relay. He admitted to being aggressive on the tracks. “I was not shooting so fast in prone. So after every round, I had five or ten seconds to fight back in the field. On the fourth round, I was in front. On the last round, I was a bit tired.” Although third today, he retained a 74 point lead over Svendsen in the Overall World Cup standings.
Simon Fourcade Sixth
Fourth went to the Peiffer of Germany, with two penalties, 5.8 seconds back. Fifth place Andreas Birnbacher, with two penalties was well behind the top four, 1:04 back. Fourcade’s brother Simon finished sixth, with one penalty, 1:23.7 back. Andriy Deryzemlya of the Ukraine was seventh, with two penalties, 1:30.3 back, followed by Michal Slesingr of the Czech Republic, with four penalties, 1:35 back.