Our model only gave Sebastian Samuelsson a 0.61% chance of winning this pursuit. Even if that sounds rather low, it is maybe understandable considering Samuelsson’s starting position and the quality of some of the athletes he had to peg back.
He was in 18th place, 70 seconds behind the leader, Tarjei Boe. The dominant biathlete of the last few seasons, Johannes Thingnes Boe was 41 seconds ahead, and Arnd Peiffer was 56 seconds in front of Samuelsson.
To move through the field like Samuelsson did normally requires two things to happen. The athlete moving up needs to do an exceptional race and some of the leaders need to have sub-optimal performances.
Tarjei Boe unusually missed three shots on the first prone shooting. This was very surprising as he really is a very good prone shooter, having shot better than 90% in the prone every season since the 2016-17 season. He ended in twelfth place missing five shots in total.
Johannes Thingnes Boe missed three shots in total and only had the fifth best skiing time in the race.
Our models third favourite, Arnd Peiffer missed five shots in total and finished in 18th place.
Sebastian Samuelsson hit all of his fifteen first shots and when shooting next to Johannes Thingnes Boe on the fourth and final shooting session, Samuelsson hit four to Boe’s three and left the penalty loop in total control of the race.
Fabien Claude in second place was another shock for the model. It only gave him about a two percent chance of a podium finish.
Claude missed three targets, the same as Johannes Thingnes Boe. He was faster on the final lap, but the race as a whole he skied marginally slower than Johannes Thingnes Boe.
Considering the above and the fact that Claude started the race 25 seconds behind Johannes Thingnes Boe, it is a bit strange that Claude caught up and relegated Boe to third. However, this was caused by the fact that he spent a lot less time on the shooting range.
Johannes Thingnes Boe had the third worst total shooting time, Johannes Dale the second worst and Tarjei Boe the very worst. It is fair to say that the Norwegians shot slowly during this race.
Below is a video of the press conference with the three athletes who made the podium.
Several athletes had good races. Sturla Holm Laegreid hit 19 of 20 and advanced from 22nd to fourth.
Emilen Jacquellin started in 39th, but finished in eighth. He leapfrogged 31 places during the race.
Quentin Fillon Maillet moved up 20th places from 30th to tenth.
As usual the IBU have made highlights of the race available on youtube: