Incredible sprint from Martin Fourcade in Khanty

France’s Martin Fourcade again buried the field in the men’s 10K sprint, with a clean-shooting, 39.6 seconds ahead of Lukas Hofer of Italy, who also shot clean. Germany’s Andi Birnbacher also shot clean but finished third, 43.8 seconds back.
Austria swept the next three places with Christoph Sumann, Dominik Landertinger and Simon Eder. The men faced another clear cold evening for their sprint, with the same basic conditions as the women had on Thursday. The biggest thing tonight was again the lack of wind on the shooting range, which made for some early excellent prone shooting. The first 11 men to reach the shooting range all shot clean.

Unfortunately for them, the guy wearing the number 23 Yellow/Red Bib was having another of his amazing days, when he was “a complete biathlete.” Martin Fourcade cleaned prone and left the stadium 17 seconds faster than Hofer. He did the same thing in standing, shooting a bit deliberately as not to pick up a penalty, and was clean. The gap on Hofer was now 29 seconds which turned into 33 seconds by the 8.4K split and grew by another 5 seconds by the finish. By the time number 23 crossed the finish line, the competition was effectively over. Only Sumann made a run at the podium, leaving standing ahead of Birnbacher, but the Austrian veteran lost tome in the final loop and missed the top three.

Fourcade reconfirmed that he is in good form. « My shape is almost incredible. Even though I did not compete in the relay in Sochi, I knew in training yesterday when I did a short test that my shape was still at the top. »

Andreas Birnbacher said he is in a better mental place than he was at the WCH in Nove Mesto na Morave, where he said « my tank is empty.  » I am happy to shoot clean today because I had some trouble with my diopter in zeroing…When you get to the podium you have to be in a very good mental place. »

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