Norway's Boe brushes off fitness worries to claim World Cup glory
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe shook off pre-season ‘stress’ around his fitness as a trademark blistering start helped him win the 10km sprint at the Biathlon World Cup in Pokljuka.
The 25-year-old, reigning individual Olympic champion, led from the first split and incurred only one penalty in a commanding winning time of 23:46.3 secs.
Boe, hatless in temperatures dropping to minus five, left the first loop with an 11.5-second lead and was heartened by a performance that suggests he’s in prime early-season form.
"I was stressed before the season about where I was," said the three-time world champion, who registered his best course time in the 20km individual a day earlier.
"I know I can improve from this, because I do not feel as strong as I want to be.
"I am really happy that I can be so strong even if I feel I can do better. Every day you get a new chance to make better and that is what I try to do every day.
"This was not the first time I was the fastest on the first loop, I have done it many times before and will continue to do it in the future.
"If you lead the race from the start, you have more control and own the race after that…I had a really good feeling after the individual so I was happy the sprint was the day after."
His closest challenge came from Antonin Guigonnat of France, who shot clean to finish with a career-best second place, 16.1 seconds back.
Russia’s Alexander Loginov, also a faultless shot, completed the podium with Boe’s older brother Tarjei finishing fourth.
Attention in Slovakia turns to tomorrow's women's 7.5km individual sprint after Yuliia Dzhima claimed victory in the opening event.
The men go again on Sunday in the 12.5km pursuit, their final event before the World Cup shifts to Austria next week.