Jakov Fak Takes Pokljuka Sprint
|13.12.2012, Pokljuka / IBU Info JK|
|Victory in Home Stadium|
|Slovenia's Jakov Fak thrilled his fans today by winning the men's 10K sprint today at his home stadium in 24:41.7, with clean shooting. Second went to Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen, with one penalty, .8 seconds back, while clean-shooting Martin Fourcade of France was third, 6.1 seconds back|
Fourth went to Tim Burke of the USA, who also shot clean, but was 15.2 seconds back. Fifth went to Fourcade's teammate Jean Guillaume Beatrix with one penalty, 18.6 seconds back. Vladimir Iliev of Bulgaria was sixth also with clean shooting, 28.2 seconds back.
After three calm, but cold days, the wind returned to the Pokljuka Sports Center for the men's sprint. The wind was cutting across the shooting range all afternoon, shifting from right-to-left and back. Despite this, most of the top men adjusted well and shot clean in prone. Svendsen looked like a different athlete than just a week ago, shooting with a quick cadence and dropping all five targets to take the early lead. Fak shot just as fast but left the shooting range, 8.7 seconds back, to the delight of the local fans. The Yellow-bib wearing Fourcade was a little more deliberate in prone but cleaned as well and was three seconds behind Fak.
Fourcade In Front
In standing, not much changed as Svendsen again shot quickly, but had a single penalty and was soon out on the challenging 3.3K loop. Fak followed and matched and took the lead from Svendsen by about 8 seconds. It was now in Fourcade's hands to try to move to the top of the standings. He matched his rivals and leaving the stadium, took the lead from Fak, but by a mere 1.4 seconds.
Fak Fast in Final Loop
The three spots on the podium were now to be determined on the tracks. By 9.2 K, Svendsen had a half second lead on Fak. He crossed the finish line in first position. Fak followed shortly thereafter, carried by the raucous crowd down the finish straight and across the line .8 seconds ahead of the Norwegian. Fourcade was making his way around the tracks in the lead, but it evaporated by 9.2K. He was behind by 3.1 seconds. Fourcade continued to fall back slightly and crossed 6.1 behind Fak, giving the local hero a victory at home.
Fak said this was not an easy win. "I was good on the shooting range, but Emil was better on the tracks. I had to work very hard in the final loop to get ahead of him."
First Win for Slovenia at Pokljuka
On winning at Pokljuka, he added, "This is very special. It is the first win ever for the Slovenian team here in Pokljuka." Fak's victory today was his second in a row as he captured the pursuit last Saturday in Hochfilzen. "Two in a row...this is something that I never imagined."
Svendsen praised the organizers in Pokljuka. "The conditions were absolutely perfect. They did a great job."
Fourcade admitted that he was not in top shape today, so a podium result was satisfying. "I have been away from home since November 2, raced two cross-country races and all of the biathlon competitions so far. I am tired. Generally, I am not very good at the end of December, but will in better shape in early January. Still, I am pleased to be on the podium here. In other years, I have always been sick."
The men have a training day on Friday while the women have their 7.5K sprint. Pursuit competitions for men and women are scheduled for Saturday afternoon.