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Biathlon relay: Norway won, Austrians only 8th place

Biathlon relay: Norway won, Austrians only 8th place
Biathlon in Hochfilzen
Image: APA/Georg Hochmuth

The weakened Austrians did not get past eighth place in the relay on Sunday at the Biathlon World Cup in Hochfilzen after three penalties from final runner Patrick Jakob.

The victory went in a superior manner to top favorite Norway, who won ahead of France and Germany. Anna Gandler, Lisa Hauser and Co. can then expect significantly better chances than the ÖSV men.

For Felix Leitner and Co., the home competition, attended by 25,300 fans, was once again underwhelming due to health problems. David Komatz is suffering from back pain, Leitner is in poor running form. Simon Eder had to pass due to a cold, Magnus Oberhauser was out with Corona.

“We can’t do much for illnesses and injuries. We’re not doing so badly, we have a bit of room for improvement physically, we’re not quite where we want,” said head coach Vegard Bitnes. The Norwegian believes there will be an increase in the next few weeks. “We have to make sure that the athletes get back on their feet as quickly as possible. I am convinced that we will run faster with the next station and over Christmas.” There isn’t much time left until the next races. The action continues on Thursday at Lenzerheide in Switzerland, where a World Cup will take place for the first time 15 months before the 2025 World Cup.

In the Hochfilzen relay, Dominic Unterweger, who was subsequently nominated, handed over to Komatz in eleventh place after two spare rounds in front of 9,400 visitors. The Styrian made up four positions with two reserve cartridges used and a good running time. On his 32nd birthday he was spared from serious back problems. “I felt very good. My back held up. But it was very tight again in the final lap,” said Komatz, who is suffering from a tear in an intervertebral disc. But a longer break is out of the question for him. Skipping individual races, such as the pursuit in Hochfilzen, is a better solution if there are acute problems.

Leitner also had to reload twice, sending Jakob into the race in sixth place. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than the last few days,” said Leitner. Goalkeeper Jakob held his position until the last shooting, but then made a big mistake. “Unfortunately the standing shooting went completely wrong. Three rounds are of course a catastrophe,” said Jakob, regretting the unsuccessful performance that cost him two positions.

At the front, the Norwegians (5 spares) celebrated a clear success with the brothers Tarjei and Johannes Thingnes Bö, who were victorious in the individual races, half a minute ahead of France (6). Germany (1 penalty/9 spares) was already a minute behind. Austria was over four minutes behind.

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