The German biathletes are not yet competitive at their peak. Again no medal while the Norwegians performed well.
Seven years after his spectacular World Cup triumph, Benedikt Doll only had the role of an extra in the World Cup sprint in Nove Mesto, finishing 13th this time – as was the case for the entire German biathlon team. While the Norwegians and the new world champion Sturla Holm Laegreid once again fought out the medals a year after their quadruple triumph in Oberhof, the DSV quartet could only applaud. Even after the third day of competition, the Germans are still waiting for their first medal.
None of national coach Uros Velepec’s protégés made it through the ten kilometers without making any mistakes, and their skis were also not good compared to the competition. “1:30 minutes behind in running, that’s not my performance and where I normally stay. I wasn’t super happy with my material today,” said Philipp Nawrath, who came 16th. Due to the clear deficit, the Germans’ prospects for the pursuit on Sunday are anything but promising.
The running times were clear, but the Germans on skis are not just walk-in customers: after the ten kilometers, Doll was the fastest and was over a minute slower than second-placed Johannes Thingnes Bö. “Overall, I was happy. But in terms of running, it wasn’t optimal, the skis weren’t optimal and there was just one mistake too many at the shooting range. A little flaw everywhere,” said the 33-year-old Doll.
The two-time sprint winner of the season was the best German, 1:41.2 minutes behind the leaders after two penalty laps: “But I don’t just want to say that the skis weren’t optimal. I could have been faster myself,” said Doll.
Johannes Kühn was 14th (1/+ 1:41.9 minutes). Philipp Nawrath, who had already won a sprint this winter, ended up in 16th place (1/+ 1:44.8) – Horn only managed 25th place (2/2:11.5). “I knew that the ski would wear out a lot. On days like today you miss the fluorine. I had to suffer extremely in the second and third rounds,” said Horn.
“The wax truck is smoking, something wasn’t right today, that’s a big setback,” said ARD expert Erik Lesser. Sports director Felix Bitterling wasn’t looking for excuses. “There’s nothing to argue about that we weren’t up to speed today in terms of skiing technology. The analyzes are ongoing. We’re now working hard, of course, to make sure we’re better again in the short time until tomorrow,” said Bitterling.
The Norwegians were once again in a celebratory mood: the error-free Laegreid relegated defending champion Thingnes Bö (1 error) to second place by 3.5 seconds in the final meters. Bronze went to her teammate Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen (1/+ 18.6). Laegreid was the only Norwegian who had not yet won this season, but now he struck at exactly the right time.
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