The men’s mass start at Ruhpolding produced the usual winner. Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen won the race behind Johannes Thinges Bö – in total the top four places went to Norway on Sunday (15.01.2023). Justus Strelow achieved his best World Cup result.
He is and remains the absolute dominator this season: Johannes Thingnes Bö has also consolidated his exceptional position in the mass start. Despite three penalties, he was on top for the ninth time in the twelfth individual race of the season. Behind him were his compatriots Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen (2 penalties / +19.3 seconds) and Sturla Holm Laegreid (2 / +35.3) on the other podium places. A Norwegian also took fourth place: Tarjei, Bö’s brother.
Happy Strelow – Unsatisfied Doll
Among the German skiers, only Justus Strelow broke into the top ten in eighth place (1/+1:00.1 minutes) – he has never been better placed in an individual World Cup race. Despite the second fastest time, Benedikt Doll was only 15th (+1:31.0) after five penalties. Roman Rees took three penalties in the first standing stage and finished 22nd (+2:18.6). David Zobel (3/+2:26.7) and Johannes Kühn (6/+2:49.0) finished in 24th and 27th place.
Strelow was particularly convincing with a clean and fast shot, only two other athletes only missed once. The remaining 27 starters had more. “The goal today was for me to focus only on myself. Especially standing up, I didn’t want to be jostled, neither by the ground nor by the crowd. I did this very well today and a result like this is possible“, explained Strelow at the microphone of the sports program.
“Five mistakes is too many”
Doll was visibly pissed off after his performance on the shooting range, so the good weather didn’t help either:The skis were outstanding today, really cool. It’s just a shame when you can’t use it. Five mistakes is too many, you’re just chasing. It just wasn’t good today“, said the 32-year-old. Especially the fourth shot was the worm in him today, a small movement caused the mistake.
Bö and Christiansen ahead despite mistakes
In the lead, Bö had already picked up the pace in the middle of the first lap and thus caused the first gaps in the peloton. Only his compatriot Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen could call. However, the two erred on the first shot and had to go to the penalty loop. Frenchmen Quentin Fillon Maillet and Fabien Claude took the lead. Among the DSV starters, Johannes Kühn, Justus Strelow and David Zobel qualified clear. Benedikt Doll made one mistake, Roman Rees even three.
By the time the second prone stage was played, Bö had run to the front again and cleared all the targets this time. Behind him were Claude and Christiansen, followed by Strelow and Zobel, who continued to shoot clear, in fourth and fifth, six and nine seconds behind respectively.
The doll misses the connection
In the first standing stage, Bö and Christiansen had to fall back, Claude, after two penalties, fell back further. Strelow and Zobel were also unsuccessful, Doll missed a target for the third time in the prone third leg and therefore missed the connection with the front. Kühn fell far behind after penalties three, four and five.
At the forefront, Bö is now ahead of his pursuers, including his brother Tarjei, and takes the lead in the last standing stage. There he was able to afford another mistake and entered the final loop just behind Christiansen, who this time was clear. Bö fought his way through and eventually succeeded. On the final climb he literally left Christiansen standing and raced to his next victory. Strelow also showed his fighting spirit in the final loop and was delighted with his best result.
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