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Samuelsson in the exciting chase for the first cup victory of his career, Seppälä 37:s

Sweden's Sebastian Samuelsson rose from 18th place in the pursuit after exciting stages to the first World Cup victory of his career. France's Fabien Claude was second, losing 15.8 seconds, and Norway's Johannes Thingnes Bö, who continued his strong performance, was third.

Samuelsson and Bö came to the last shooting position at the same time. Both shot past the first one, and when Bö also shot past the second one, they didn't manage to match Samuelsson's speed. Bö remained in the struggle for other podium places, and was unable to match Claude's strong performance on the wall climb. Samuelsson missed the last place shot the only time, Claude and Bö shot a total of three misses.

Happy Samuelsson had a hard time putting his fresh feelings into words.

– The competition was perfect. I wasn't so happy about my speed race. I thought that if I did a good race, I could maybe be among the six today, Samuelsson said.

He had some exciting moments at the last shooting location with Bö next to him. The first missed shot was nerve-wracking, but fortunately for Samuelsson, Bö also missed. When Samuelsson got his shooting under control, he got out of a tight spot with one penalty lap and kept the top position he had acquired.

- I will celebrate this with a relay victory tomorrow, Samuelsson said he joked, referring to the competition that was billed as a duel between Norway and Sweden.

France's Fabien Claude started the competition with two missed shots, shot one more penalty from the second lying position and then cleared the vertical positions cleanly.

– This is a good achievement for me, especially the zeros from vertical positions, Claude said about his second place.

Vertical shooting this time as Bö's challenge

Johannes Thingnes Bö has been on the podium in all competitions this season. The Norwegian got the zero shots he was hoping for on the layups, which put him at the top of the competition. On the other hand, it was not the best day in vertical shooting, as all three missed shots came from the vertical.

– My vertical shooting today did not go as expected. That's what biathlon is like, Bö acknowledged and was finally happy after fighting for third place.

Among the Finns, Tero Seppälä was 37th with five misses and Olli Hiidensalo 56th.

Seppälä's competition got off to a good start when he took advantage of the hard balls and shot the first shot cleanly.

– I moved up a lot. The second taste was not so good. Maybe the pace was a little too fast for me in the second round. A few mistakes, and a few more fines on the way. The upswing stopped there. The rest of the journey was also heavy in the leg. Tomorrow we will fight for a good message, Seppälä said.

Hiidensalo succinctly stated that there were too many fines. There were seven of them.

- My own mistakes, Hiidensalo said.

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Photo: Manzoni/IBU