Norway Romps to Gold in Men’s Relay
|16.02.2013, Nove Mesto na Morave / IBU Info JK|
|Fourcade Pulls France to Second|
|Norway ran away with the men’s 4 x 7.5K relay Gold medal in 1:15:39, with five spare rounds. France with a huge charge over the final 2.5K by Martin Fourcade finished second, with two penalties and seven spare rounds, 1:12.8 back. third went to Germany, with two penalties and three spare rounds, 1:18.5 back.
Russia finished fourth, 1:24.1 back, with Austria in fifth, 1:38.9 back. The Czech Republic claimed the final place in the flower Ceremony, 2:50.1 back.
Another capacity crowd of 27,000 boisterous fans showed up today to see which of the 29 teams would reign supreme in the men’s relay. Temperatures again remained at freezing, with very little wind on the shooting range; perfect conditions.
Germany in the Lead
The first leg saw five teams led by Germany pull away from the field. Germany’s Simon Schempp shot clean with no spares as did Simon Eder of Austria. Yet at the exchange, it was Schempp in the lead with the Czech Republic 4 seconds back, closely followed by Norway, Russia and Austria in fifth. The second leg saw continued strong shooting by Germany as Andi Birnbacher used no spare rounds. Henrik L’Abee Lund also went 10-for-10 and by the exchange Norway was in the lead, with Germany three-tenths of a second behind. Russia was now in third, but 9 seconds off the pace, with Austria trailing by 23 seconds in fourth.
Peiffer and Boe
Germany continued to lead as Arnd Peiffer cleaned the prone stage with five shots. Evgeniy Garanichev matched him and left on this shoulder. Norway’s Tarjei Boe needed a spare round, but within a kilometer after leaving the shooting range was back up with the top two. In standing, Boe quickly cleaned, as did Peiffer but the Norwegians left with an eight second lead. Garanichev had two penalties and fell back to fifth as Christoph Sumann moved Austria into third but 45 seconds back; France was now in fourth position as they headed towards the final exchange.
Fourcade’s Spectacular Finish
Emil Hegle Svendsen had an eighteen second gap on Germany’s Erik Lesser as they started the anchor leg. Austria and France were over 1:20 back, in third and fourth. Svendsen cleaned prone and was gone before Lesser fired a shot. The German also cleaned, but remained nearly 20 seconds back. A battle was shaping up for third place. Austria’s Dominik Landertinger shot clean and rapidly, getting a six second lead on Martin Fourcade who also cleaned, but much slower than the Austrian. Svendsen used a spare round but was away as Lesser had two penalties. Lesser still got away in second with a 13 second lead over Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko and 18 seconds ahead of Fourcade. Fourcade blistered the final 2.5K to pass Lesser and take the silver medal.
Seven Gold Medals
With their victory, Norway became the first nation ever to win seven Gold medals at the IBU World Championships. Svendsen commented, "What can I say...it is crazy!" later he added, "For sure, we are a strong team and everything is falling together here. It has been a fantastic journey."
All three men on the French team thanked Martin Fourcade for his effort in getting the Silver medal. His brother Simon was so sure there would be no medal that he left the stadium and only later found out over the radio that his brother might get a medal for the team. "Then I got to the stadium and did not have my race number, so I could not get to the finish...We all have to say, 'Thank you,' to Martin.
Focused on Malyshko
Martin Fourcade said he was not focused on a medal when he left the shooting range. "I was expecting to fight Malyshko. When I saw he was not with me, then I decided to go after Germany. Then I saw Erik on the last uphill; I just went after him."
Happy with Bronze
Lesser commented on the two penalties. "I really did not feel any pressure from Martin or Dmitry. Then I missed three shots and had the two penalties; I was very disappointed. On that last uphill, I hoped that I had enough power left. In the end, it was okay; we are happy with the Bronze medal."