France Wins Ruhpolding Relay
|10.01.2013, Ruhpolding / IBU Info JK|
|Victory in Last Loop|
|Martin Fourcade of France pulled away from the field after the final standing stage to take the men’s relay in 1:13:11.2, with three spare rounds. Norway finished second, with eight spare rounds, 9.4 seconds back. Austria, with their first relay podium of the year finished third, with nine spare rounds, 9.7 seconds back. Fourth went to Germany, followed by Russia, and Sweden.
The women were lucky with the weather; the men were not. All day the forecasts threatened snow, which did not come until the second leg of the relay. Then the skies opened with huge wet snowflakes, slowing the already deep tracks.
The first leg saw, as with the women, a lot of clean fast shooting. At the first exchange, nine teams were within 15 seconds of the lead and four had no spare rounds. Andi Birnbacher started the second leg for Germany with the lead, but it was just 2.5 seconds ahead of surprising Latvia and Norway who had Tarjei Boe running second. The two shooting stages in the second stage, with heavy snow falling erased the no-spare-rounds teams. Birnbacher proved that his cold last week did not affect his shape, shooting 10-for-10. Although Boe used three spare rounds, he showed his strength to take the lead by the exchange, with France's Jean Guilluame Beatrix, three-tenths back and Birnbacher, 1.1 seconds back.
Henrik L'Abee-Lund took over for Norway, with Alexis Boeuf for France and Arnd Peiffer for Germany. Boeuf took the lead with quick fast shooting in his prone stage, but heading to the standing stage, five teams were within 11 seconds. Standing looked like a battle between Boeuf and Austria's Dominik Landertinger. Both hit the first four shots, then missed one, but cleaned with one more shot. These two plus Peiffer and L'Abee-Lund went out together heading for the final exchange. Christoph Sumann left the stadium with a 5 second lead over Emil Hegle Svendsen, Erik Lesser and Martin Fourcade in that order. Lesser fell just before the prone stage, but recovered well enough to clean in five shots, as did Fourcade, who left just ahead of the German. Svendsen needed spare rounds to clean, as did Sumann. Svendsen was 2 seconds back, but the Austrian was now 18 seconds back.
Fourcade Pulls Away
Lesser cleaned standing first, with Fourcade just a tick of the clock behind as they left the stadium. Svendsen used three spare rounds to clean, while Sumann dropped the five targets in five shots, taking over third position, 13 seconds ahead of Svendsen with 2.5K to go. Fourcade showed his strength and steadily pulled away to take the victory. Svendsen moved back to claim second, dragging Sumann to finish just behind him for third.
Simon Fourcade commented on the French victory. "It is always great to win with your friends...I am not back in top shape yet; I could tell this when I came to the finish straight and could not stay with the group...This was a really close competition and four teams could win going into the last stage...I knew that Martin could win once he left the shooting range. It was especially nice to take some revenge on the Norwegians after losing to them last year."
Beatrix said the snow affected the competition. "There was a big difference between the first and last loops. But our wax men did a good job for these conditions."
We are Back
Sumann commented, "We always do good relays here and it was much better than last week. Ruhpolding is close to the border and we have a lot of fans here, so it is just like being at home. We are back on top and that is good for us."