Greg Hughes - Monday Feb. 10, 2014 08:59 ET

Jean-Philippe Le Guellec poised in pursuit of biathlon medal

Canadian biathlete set for 12.5K event

Jean-Philippe le Guellec of Canada
Jean-Philippe le Guellec of Canada. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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There’s a few lingering questions going into today’s 12.5 km men’s biathlon pursuit event.

Will Norway’s Ole Einar Bjørndalen, gold medallist in the men’s 10 km sprint, do it again on Monday? The 40-year-old biathlete legend looked in fine form earlier in the Sochi Games and seems poised to be competitive once again in the 12.5K pursuit event.

How will Bjørndalen’s countryman, the highly touted Emil Hegle Svenden, turn things around after finishing ninth in the 10 km?

Will Martin Fourcade rebound after a disappointing 10K sprint result? It’s possible, but he’ll be in tough against not just Bjørndalen, but other rivals like Austria’s Dominik Landertinger, the Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Soukup and Russia’s Anton Shipulin.

Of course, the biggest question mark of all involves a Canadian — Jean-Philippe Le Guellec.

After finishing fifth in the 10K, the Kingston, Ont.,-born Le Guellec seems especially primed to be competitive in the 12.5K pursuit.

He’s got company, too: both Nathan Smith of Calgary and Brendan Green of Hay River, N.W.T., qualified for the 12.5K after their strong performances in the 10K. 

Sprint vs. pursuit: How it works 

It's important to understand how sprints and pursuit biathlon races differ. While sprints are essentially going all out to earn the best time from the start of the race, pursuit races have competitors separated by time differences from the sprint.

This places a natural advantage towards competitors with better times from the sprint race, but also places an even greater onus on accurate shooting to avoid penalty loops. The athlete that manages to cross the finish line first is the winner. 

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