Svendsen Buries Mass Start Field
|18.03.2012, Khanty Mansiysk / IBU Info. Dept. JK|
|Standing Shooting Changes Everything|
|Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen took control of the men’s mass start today by shooting clean in the first standing stage and then proceeded to leave the field behind, crossing the finish line in 43:15.7, with two penalties. Germany’s Arnd Peiffer put on a big finish to finish second, 23.5 seconds back, with four penalties. Third went to Russia’s Anton Shipulin, with two penalties, 31.8 seconds back.
Fourth and fifth also went to Germans, with Andi Birnbacher in fourth and Florian Graf in fifth, 35.3 and 37.1 seconds back, respectively. Both had four penalties. Sixth went to Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko, with five penalties, 41.3 seconds back.
Siberia offered a cold windy welcome to the competitors today with a strong wind blowing across the shooting range and light snow biting at their faces. All 30 men stayed together for the first loop. The first prone found 11 men shooting clean, including four from Russia. Ironically, martin Fourcade and Arnd Peiffer had to make a single lap of the penalty loop. The two moved back to the front group by the second prone, but went back to the penalty loop and fell out of contention. Only two men shot clean, Shipulin and Deryzemlya. They led the field out for the next loop, with group of eight following about 25 seconds back.
Changes at the Front
Everything changed with the first standing stage, Svendsen who came to the range in sixth shot clean, as did Bergman and the man who came to the shooting range in 19th position, Fourcade. These three took over the competition with Svendsen holding a 20 gap on Bergman and 30 seconds on Fourcade with Peiffer and Slesingr not far behind the top three. Svendsen extended his lead to more than 30 seconds as he headed to the final standing stage. Svendsen had a single penalty, but that made no difference because almost everyone else was also picking up penalties. Shipulin shot clean and went into second position, followed by Peiffer who also had one penalty. As they left the stadium for the final 3K loop, the top 2 were skiing well ahead of a group that included Peiffer that would battle for third place. With 1500 meters to go, Peiffer had made up more than 10 seconds and was almost next to Shipulin, with the rest of the group now another 10 seconds back.
Svendsen had such a lead that he had time to grab a Norwegian Flag and leisurely come to the finish line. Behind him, Peiffer blew past Shipulin on the final hill into the stadium and claimed second place. Peiffer commented, “He was really tired when we went out on the last loop, but I waited until that last hill to attack.”
Svendsen said he enjoyed the final loop, but he admitted it was a tough day on the shooting range. “It was really hard today…I really enjoyed that last loop and it was great to win.”
Still he was not completely satisfied with his season. “It was a hard year; this is the first time I have ever raced every single race. But I made too many mistakes on the shooting range. Next year, I will work on my shooting more and come back stronger, hopefully sitting here as the winner of the Total Score.”\
Great End of Season
Peiffer felt good about his week here. “I really do like it here. This has been a great end of my season…I think we have a very good team and hopefully we can move up in the Nations Cup and be on the podium more in both individual races and the relay next year.”
Shipulin was the top Russian man this season, finishing eighth in the Total Score and the only Russian on the podium this week, but he was not completely satisfied. “I would have liked to have better results this year. But our team is moving in that direction. We just need to be faster on the skis and the results will be better…Still, we managed to win the Nations Cup."
Fourcade and Birnbacher
Birnbacher’s fourth place gave him the seasonal mass start title, with Svendsen finishing second. Martin Fourcade, despite finishing 15th today, confirmed his victory in the World Cup Total Score, again over Svendsen, 1100 to 1035 points.