France Tops Russia in Antholz Relay
|20.01.2013, Antholz / IBU Info JK|
|Martin Fourcade Outduels Malyshko|
|France with Martin Fourcade on the anchor leg claimed the men's relay after getting ahead of Russia's Dmitry Malyshko in the finals standing stage. France's won in 1:13:26, with eight spare rounds. Russia finished 10.1 seconds back with the same shooting. Austria, with one penalty and eight spares was third, 1:18.5 back.|
It was bound to happen sometime this season: heavy snowfall during a competition. The heavy snow started to fall about 1 hour before the men's relay, softening and deepening the tracks, and complicating ski preparation for the 24 teams on the starting line. Light snow and rain continued throughout the competition.
Shipulin in Charge
Anton Shipulin led off for Russia and gave his team the lead, although he used two spare rounds. By the first exchange, Russia, Sweden, France and Czech Republic had separated themselves from the rest of the field. Evgeny Ustyugov used an additional three spare rounds in the second leg and fell out of the lead, giving way to the three other teams. At the exchange, the Czech Republic's Ondrej Moravec tagged just two seconds ahead of France and Sweden, with Russia 7.6 seconds back.
M. Fourcade and Malyshko
The third leg opened Jaroslav Soukup, Alexis Boeuf, and Russia's Evegeny Garanichev all shooting clean in prone and leaving the stadium together. Garanichev and Boeuf were fast and clean in standing, and got a 13 second lead on Soukup, who shot a bit slower, but was clean. Austria was now solidly in fourth position, but another 23 seconds back. This was setting up a showdown between Martin Fourcade and Dmitry Malyshko in the anchor leg, with a likely battle between Dominik Landertinger and Zdenek Vitek for the third podium spot. The Russian cleaned prone while Fourcade needed two spare rounds, giving the Russian team an 8 second lead. As they approached the stadium, thick fog engulfed the whole area. Both men used two spare rounds, but Fourcade got away first, followed by Landertinger, despite a penalty for the Austrian.
Importance of Relay Win
Beatrix commented on the importance of winning today. "The relay is important for the French team and, today to have a good race before the World Championships gives us more confidence."
Martin Fourcade seemed to be talking to Malyshko at one point on the tracks. He commented, "I do not speak Russian so I cannot talk to him. As I passed, I just let Dmitry that I was back and I wanted to win."
Malyshko admitted that the weather may have hurt his standing shooting. "It was a bit of a surprise to see that change in the weather. I had to adapt my shooting for the conditions. That probably explains my misses in standing."
Simon Eder said that part of their success today was simple. "We had especially good skis here."
IBU World Championships Biathlon Up Next
This was the final competition before the IBU World Championships Biathlon which opens with the mixed relay on February 7.