OSLO, Norway– Martin Fourcade had the World Cup Total Score wrapped up long before today’s 15 k mass start in Oslo, but he went out with a win anyway just to make a point.
The French star had a big enough lead coming into the finish that he turned the final roller into a jump, catching air and then nailing a telemark landing that most ski jumpers would envy. Fourcade celebrated all the way to the finish line.
“It’s not about wanting to show something to someone,” said the world’s best biathlete, who has told media that he plans to become a cross country skier next year. “It’s just about me, about wanting to finish the season with a good competition, to be okay this summer when I need something in my head.”
Latvia’s Andrejs Rastorgujevs seemed to be on the way to his first win or at least his first podium, taking a lead from the third shooting stage and stretching it to 26 seconds, enough to buffer one penalty loop in the final stage. But instead he missed three shots. While he was stuck in the penalty loop, Dominik Landertinger of Austria went out on course secure in second place.
Rastorguyevs hit the trails with a pack of other skiers, and led them – including Norway’s Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Slovenia’s Jakov Fak – all the way around the final three kilometers. But Fak put in an explosive burst up the final hill and locked up third place. Rastorguyevs finished seventh, last among the group.
“It was not really a good season for me but in the end everything turned out well,” said Fak, who won the sprint competition on Thursday. “I have some good races behind me and this is good motivation going into the summer.”
U.S. biathlete Tim Burke shot a nearly perfect race, collecting only one penalty out of 20 targets. He left the range in sixth place but bled time over the final loop and finished in ninth.
“The fact that I haven’t trained since Christmas, that’s what was going on,” Burke said, referring to a long string of illnesses that cost him training time throughout the season. “Usually with the skis that I had and the shooting, I would have been on the podium for sure. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to race today. It’s really disappointing for me, for sure. I’m happy to end with a top ten, that’s always a solid result on the World Cup, but it has been a really tough season for me. I’ve struggled a lot. It’s hard to end like that.”
Teammate Lowell Bailey placed 28th with four penalties.
Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.