Austria’s Christoph Sumann, relegated to the IBU Cup earlier in the season on the men’s 12.5K pursuit as heavy snow fell in Khanty Mansiysk. He shot clean in his win. Simon Fourcade, shooting clean finished second, 35.7 seconds back and Martin, with five penalties, and the Czech Republic’s Michal Slesingr, with three penalties were both given third place, 40.4 seconds back in third.
The two third places were due to a jury decision, regarding Andi Birnbacher who cross-fired on Slesingr’s target in the first standing stage. Slesingr explained what happened. “I was on lane three and Andi Birnbacher was on four. He cross-fired on my target; the official had a very slow reaction to my raised hand. The target needed to be cleared. Then he asked me what was wrong; ironically it was the Czech referee. I lost lots of time, probably more than the 25 seconds. I lost contact with the group when I spent such a long, long time standing. That affected my running. I felt my legs were more tired as soon as I left the shooting range. I think it (the two third places) was a really good solution. Everyone knows that martin did not go as fast as he could on the last loop, because he had no reason to push.”
Martin Fourcade agreed, acknowledging, “I knew that I could not catch Simon and that Hofer would not catch me. This decision is fair for both of us.”
Today the women had the better luck with the weather as the snow turned heavy before they started and it continued throughout the competition. Martin Fourcade, who was seen wiping his forehead and eyebrows before shooting said, “I had some problems with the snow, but I shot bad. I will definitely be angry for the mass start tomorrow.”
Sumann said, “This is a big surprise because I had a lot of troubles in the last weeks. I started on the podium in Östersund and everything in between was not so good. I was thinking about quitting. It is a big surprise! It is big motivation to train hard one more year and then finish after Sochi.”
Simon Fourcade commented, with a big smile on his face, “This is the second time that Martin and I are on the podium together and the second time I am in front of him; that is great. But it is a great pleasure to be up here with him…I had really good feelings warming up today. I came back from 22nd place to the podium which I did not expect.”