Koukalova wins biathlon World Cup mass start title
OSLO, Norway (AP) Biathlon is a sport combining skiing and shooting, but French star Martin Fourcade proved Sunday you can win without any ammunition at all.
Fourcade, widely considered among the best biathletes in history with six straight World Cup titles, blundered ahead of Sunday's mass start race when he forgot to load his magazines.
When he discovered his error at the first shooting stage, a frantic scramble by French coaches and Fourcade's brother Simon ensued in an effort to supply him with ammunition.
The unorthodox plan paid off as Fourcade made up about 20 seconds of lost time and won the race as the only man not to miss a single shot. Still, it needed an IBU ruling to dispel any doubts that Fourcade could not be disqualified for accepting the rounds mid-race.
Fourcade said the ''huge mistake'' with the ammunition fired him up to do even better.
''I wanted to show to everyone, that today it was my day,'' he said in comments on the International Biathlon Union website. Fourcade was full of praise for German rival Simon Schempp, who stood to win the mass start crystal globe trophy, but who didn't protest the result.
''I want to give all respect to team Germany, that they decided to not make a protest. Schempp deserves more than a crystal globe,'' Fourcade said. ''I just want to take my hat off to their class.''
Fourcade's 14th win of the season meant he added the mass start discipline title to his overall World Cup honors. He beat Latvian Andrejs Rastorgujevs into second place on Sunday by 17.4 seconds, with Austrian Simon Eder third, 15 seconds further back.
Also Sunday, Gabriela Koukalova won the women's World Cup mass start title after coming second to Tiril Eckhoff in the last women's race of the season.
Czech Koukalova crossed the line 22.6 seconds behind Norway's Eckhoff, with Kaisa Makarainen of Finland third, 34.5 seconds off the lead.
Laura Dahlmeier, the overall World Cup winner, was leading the mass start standings ahead of Sunday's race, but a ninth-place finish meant the German ended up nine points behind Koukalova.