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Eberhard Dashed to Win
After the last shooting it looked like it was for France’s Martin Fourcade and Russia’s Anton Shipulin to decide the winner of 15K mass start. But Austrian Julian Eberhard disagreed. He left the shooting ramp 17 seconds behind Fourcade, but he crossed the finish line first at 30:04.8, 6.9 seconds ahead of Fourcade. Shipulin stumbled a couple hundred meters before the finish, and he was left third, 19.3 seconds behind the winner.
The win was the first podium for Eberhard this season, and the explanation for his success was very simple. He likes the tracks in Kontiolahti, and he has felt very comfortable all week. Eberhard just tried hard to keep the third place, but midway the last loop he felt it could be possible for him to catch Fourcade and Shipulin.
– During the last 200 meters I thought it’s possible for me to win, the happy winner said.
Eberhard waited at the finish line to shake Shipulin’s hand after the race. He felt it was a decent thing to do.
– I was looking for a battle between all three of us on the finish line, but the bridge was too tight. I came with a lot of speed from behind. Anton didn’t recognize this, and he wanted to take the same line as I did, Eberhard explained how they accidently made some contact.
Shipulin told he was fine, because things like this happen in competitions.
World Cup Total Score leader Fourcade was ill earlier this week, so he didn’t know what to expect from the race.
– I must say I’m pretty satisfied. Of course I would have loved to win, he said and went on to say that he had to push hard on the track to make up the time lost in shooting.
The catching up came with a cost. Fourcade had no energy left when it was time to attack.
Text: Varpu Sihvonen
Photo: Kimmo Pukkila