Fourcade Overwhelms Sprint Field
|09.03.2013, Sochi / IBU Info JK|
|42 Second Margin over Ustyugov|
|Martin Fourcade literally left the other 101 men in the men’s sprint lying in the snow as he shot clean and claimed a 42.3 second victory over Russia’s Evegeny Ustyugov, with one penalty. Norwegian Henrik L’Abee Lund shot clean to finish third, 51 seconds back.|
Austria’s Dominik Landertinger also shot clean to finish fourth, 56.9 seconds back. Surprising Dominik Windisch finished fifth. 59.9 seconds back also with clean shooting. Germany’s Erik Lesser finished sixth, 1:00.4 back with clean shooting.
Ingredients for a Sprint
Light snow, very light wind, plus five temperatures and very soft snow; put those ingredients together and the result was the men’s sprint. The shooting in prone was very good overall, but in standing, many struggled after two loops of hard climbing and downhills in the soft snow. By the finish, there were many looks of pure exhaustion on the faces. Landertinger simply said, “It was very hard today.”
L’Abee Lund Sets Pace
L’Abee Lund, at number 4 set the standard as the early leader, shooting clean in both stages. Shortly thereafter, to the delight of the Russian crowd, Ustyugov matched him in prone and missed a single standing shot. For many today, that would have been the end of the day. However, Ustyugov showed the positive effects of training here for the past two weeks and flew around the last loop to claim the lead. Lesser took his chance, shot clean in both stages, but struggled in the last lap to fall out of podium contention.
Master of Biathlon
At this point, the current Master of Biathlon, Martin Fourcade set out for his 10K journey. Fast clean prone shooting put him immediately in the lead. He did it again in standing, making the rest of the men look like beginners, as he left the stadium with a 31 second lead on Lesser. At this point, the only question was: how much would Fourcade win by? He answered with another fast, final loop and a 42 second gap on the field at the fini
Fourcade did not feel that he was anything special today. "I am just a man with two arms and two legs...I am in really good shape now...This week, my goal was to get a good feeling for the Sochi tracks."
All Crystal Globes
As for the rest of the season, he added, "I am most proud of holding the yellow Bib from the first race to the last. My goal now is to take all five crystal globes with me back to France. For this I need to be strong in the mass start next week."
Ustyugov said he felt the two weeks of acclimatization here in Sochi helped his shape today, but added, "Even if I shot clean, I could not have beaten Martin today."
L'Abee Lund yesterday called the tracks extremely hard, today he reaffirmed that. "It was even harder today, with the soft snow. The uphills were harder and the downhills were slow and hard."
Regarding the first individual podium of his career, he said, "I have worked many years for this and having it on the Olympic tracks makes it even better."