Winter sports: Biathletes in search of perfect material

Winter sports: Biathletes in search of perfect material

The German biathlon team wants to fight for the medals in every race. So far the yield is zero. The skis are also a point. They don’t run.

Despite the material problems and the disappointing medal haul so far, the German biathlon team is hoping for a turnaround in the second week of the World Championships in Nove Mesto. “If we give up now, we can pack up and go home. But we’ll keep at it,” said women’s discipline coach Kristian Mehringer.

For the first time since 2021 in Pokljuka, Slovenia, the German ski hunters are without a medal after the first week. So far, fifth place in the mixed relay, two sixth places from Franziska Preuß as well as 13th place from Benedikt Doll and 15th place from Johannes Kühn are the sobering results.

One reason: The material has not yet worked as hoped in the difficult conditions with significantly plus temperatures, rain and dirt on the routes. At the start of the season, the Germans in Östersund had some of the best skis – but it was extremely cold there. Even at the other World Cups before the World Cup, the DSV team never had such problems as they did at the peak of the season.

“This fluorine-free is a dance on the razor blade every week and such a blade is narrow. You can fall down in one direction very, very quickly,” said sports director Felix Bitterling.

EU bans certain fluorine compounds

In the first season since the ban on fluorine wax, technicians are facing major challenges. Because they can no longer fall back on decades of past experience; everything started from scratch.

The biathlon world association Ibu is implementing an EU directive banning certain fluorine compounds. They are considered harmful to the environment and health, but they make the skis water and dirt repellent and therefore glide quickly and for longer.

A solution must be found quickly so that we don’t end up with the first medalless World Cup for women and men in German biathlon history. Franziska Preuß and her colleagues have their next chance on Tuesday in the women’s singles (5.10 p.m./ARD and Eurosport).

The technicians would do everything to provide the perfectly prepared ski. “Then it can work on Tuesday too. We are not that far away from medals. We are already close with Franziska and are trying to give full throttle until the end,” said Mehringer.

Source: Stern

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