Martin Fourcade wins final race but Crystal Globe goes to Johannes Thingnes Boe
Retiring Martin Fourcade won the final race of his career but there was no true fairytale as the Crystal Globe went to Johannes Thingnes Boe.
Martin Fourcade of France celebrates his victory and end of career after the men's 12,5 km Pursuit competition at the IBU Biathlon World Cup in Kontiolahti, Finland, on March 14, 2020. - Fourcade ends his career now at the end of the season in Kontiolahti
But even at the last he gave the fans some excitement as he and Emilien Jacquelin put early pressure on Boe, although all three shot cleanly at first.
However in the second shoot a visibly nervy Boe missed three shots in terrible windy conditions which all of a sudden opened the door for Fourcade.
But there is a reason why Boe was still the favourite despite missing races and he responded with a brutally efficient perfect shoot that put him back in the hunt.
In the end Boe was unable to prevent an all-French podium, a fitting end for Fourcade’s career, but by finishing fourth he secured his second Crystal Globe with Jacquelin taking the pursuit title.
"We're going to miss this battle" - Fourcade wins last race as Boe takes tites title
“It was special today for me as everybody knows.” Fourcade said afterwards.
“It has been a dream, doing a bit more than 10 years, I couldn’t dream about finishing another way.
“Of course I miss the fans but when I started biathlon in the Pyrenees mountains there were no fans just the love of biathlon and of skiing and I’m proud I achieved all I did and I discovered myself along the journey and today is a beautiful way to finish it.
“I didn’t dream about yellow jersey and crystal globe and it’s a good signal Johannes is taking it.
'It has been dream' - Fourcade reflects on career
“It’s what makes me free [French strength] to leave.
“Ten years ago in Vancouver Vincent Desfrasne gave me the relay and today I’m proud to give it to my mate Emilien and of course Quentin is really strong and I hope they will give it to young French biathletes in ten years.
"As I said it’s been a weekend dream and I'm happy to leave and if there are any tears they will be from joy."
It was the tightest of margins between the two, just two points in it, and a perfect demonstration of the rivalry that has sprung up between two men who will without a doubt go down as two of the greatest ever to take up the sport.
Fourcade retires with a win exactly 10 years to the day of his first ever victory in an individual World Cup event, at the same course.
Re-live Martin Fourcade's first ever World Cup victory
He bows out with 83 World Cup wins, second only to the legendary Ole Einar Bjorndalen.
And now the mantle will pass to Boe, already on 48 wins at the age of 26, and clearly the best biathlete in the world.
“It was just too exciting,” Boe said.
“It was a big fight the final fight with Martin for today’s victory and World Cup total score,
'It was just too exciting!' - Boe on nervy climax to the season
“He was quite fast on the skis today and pushed me hard on the range. I fell off on my first standing position and everything was in his hands
“I don’t know how I could find five shots in the final shoot but I did it. Crossing the line fourth today and winning World Cup title is all I could hold, it was a great fight to the end,
“It’s amazing to hear such nice words from this biathlon legend, he pushed me to be better not only at skiing but as a whole person and he’s given a lot to the sport we have to say a big thing for everything he has taught us ,
“For us Norwegians we’ve had great fights with Martin from Ole Einar to Tarjei to Emil to me and I think the Norwegian viewers will miss him.”
Still the French team, led by Quentin Fillon Maillet, third in the overall standings, and Jacquelin will pose a severe threat for the all-conquering Norwegian and it will still be set up nicely when the season returns in the winter.