Gold Number Three for Martin!
|11.03.2012, Ruhpolding / IBU Info. Dept. JK|
|Fourcade Masters the Mass Start|
|France’s Martin Fourcade came back from two penalties to capture his third Gold medal of these IBU World Championships by taking the 15K mass start in 38:25.4. Second went to Sweden’s Bjorn Ferry who shot clean, 3 seconds back. Ferry’ teammate Fredrik Lindstrom won the Bronze, with two penalties, 3.4 seconds back.|
Birnbacher in Fourth
Fourth went to Andi Birnbacher of Germany, with one penalty, 4.6 seconds back. Martin’s brother Simon finished fifth, with two penalties, 9.8 seconds back. Sixth went another Swedish athlete, Carl Johan Bergman, with one penalty, 13.6 seconds back.
Big Group in the Rain
Light rain greeted the thirty men in the mass start competition. Conservative shooting in the first prone stage resulted in 13 men led by Martin Fourcade going out for the second loop. by the time they returned to the stadium the group had grown to 15. That changed rapidly as only nine men shot clean in both prone stages. Fourcade had a penalty and was in 14th position behind leader Birnbacher. In the first standing stage, Birnbacher continued his excellent shooting, again leading the pack out of the shooting range. Only two other of the top men, Ferry and Soukop shot clean in that stage. They followed close behind the German star. There was then a gap of 15 seconds to another group that included Fourcade, now with two penalties, Björndalen, as well as Simon Fourcade and Alexis Boeuf. Birnbacher aggressively tried to make a gap on the rest of the field as he pushed up the hills on the next 3K loop, as Fourcade tried to work his way up to the top group.
Fourcade and Ferry
The final standing stage would probably decide the medals once again. Birnbacher had a penalty while Ferry cleaned and went out in the lead. both Fourcades cleaned as well as Bergman. Six men went out for the final loop within 6 seconds, led by Ferry and Martin Fourcade. The two broke from the field by around 9 seconds, setting up a big battle for Gold, with 1100 meters to go. Ferry slipped a few seconds behind by the 14.3K mark, but was solidly in second place. Fourcade flew home with Gold medal number three, followed by Ferry. Lindstrom won the group battle giving Sweden two of the three medals.
2 Meters Away
Lindström was unsure of his position as he started the final loop. “I did not know where I was on the final lap. I heard from the coaches that I was fifth and bronze was 2 meters ahead. In the last downhill, I put all I had and it was enough to get the bronze medal. I actually won a sprint!”
Hard from the Start
Unlike Lindström, Fourcade knew what he wanted and where he was all during the competition. “I went hard from the start today and never slowed down. My only goal was to win…I was a bit stronger than Bjorn on the last uphill and that was the only difference.”
In My Life
The three-time Gold medalist was humbled by his success. “This was more than I expected in my life. It is wonderful I know that my performance in the World Championships is a very big thing; not many sportsmen will ever do this… It was wonderful to compete in front of all of these fans this week. I think we will have to wait for another World Championships like this one.”
Ferry was surprised by his own success today. “I was surprised to be up there. I knew that in the shape that I am in this year, my only chance was to shoot clean and I did that. All season, if I missed just one shot, I was gone.”
He joked that his Silver completed his collection of medals. “I never won Silver before, Now with my Olympic gold and WCH mixed relay Bronze, I have a whole set!”