Biathlon-Masterful Maillet wins men’s 20km gold for France

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ZHANGJIAKOU, China, Feb 8 (Reuters) – A blistering display of skiing helped Frenchman Quentin Fillon Maillet bounce back from two misses on the shooting range as he won the men’s 20km individual gold medal at the Olympics from Beijing after another action-packed race. .

The World Cup leader added solo gold to the mixed relay silver he won on Saturday, with Belarusian Anton Smolski winning silver after a perfect shooting display and Norwegian Johannes Thingnes Boe bronze .

The freezing cold and high winds of Saturday were gone as the race got underway in the last scorching sun of the day, with temperatures hovering just below zero as the guide flags fluttered gently in near shooting conditions. perfect.

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Boe was second of 92 riders, who started at 30-second intervals with 20km of challenging skiing split into five laps and four visits to the range ahead of them.

With most climbs early in the course, athletes had plenty of time to reflect on their recent failures, as Boe did with his first shot of the competition.

Maillet scored early with five perfect shots but then missed twice, once down and once standing, before turning on the afterburners to make up for penalty minutes.

Representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Maxim Tsvetkov took the lead but he took his time and missed his last shot of the day, a mistake that ultimately saw him finish fourth and just outside the podium places.

With Boe and Maillet adding two penalty minutes, they frantically attacked the ski slopes, recovering enough time to clinch the medals, with Smolski firing cleanly to split them and claim silver, 14.8 seconds behind the Frenchman.

“Maybe it looked easy, but it was so tough today,” Maillet said. “With two shot misses, I didn’t expect the win – maybe the podium. It was unbelievable.

“Four years ago, it was so difficult for me at the Olympics (in Pyeongchang). I wanted to dream of such an Olympics. We started very well with the mixed relay, and today (run) in the common sense for victory.”

Boe added: “I did a good job with bib number two. I was early on the course, fighting and in the pits. I was well prepared mentally and felt good during the race. .

“You always want to get the win, but I see so many sad faces here – they’re not on the podium – so it helps a bit because I know I’m one of three who will get a medal.

“Now I want to take some time off to recover, have a few days off, and then look forward to continuing the sprint over the weekend.”

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Reporting by Philip O’Connor and Mitch Phillips, editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Ken Ferris

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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