Who can beat Johannes Thingnes Gust? At the last World Cup before the World Championships, Bö sprinted to his next victory. Roman Rees was condemned by a penalty loop.
This form is scary for the competition: the Norwegian Johannes Thingnes Bö celebrated his fifth consecutive individual victory in the biathlon sprint in Antholz. The World Cup leader was unbeatable Thursday on the 10 kilometer course despite a shooting error and ran with superiority until his 62nd World Cup victory. The best German was Roman Rees – but a shooting error prevented the podium.
Rees catches up to fourth place
Rees, 29, was strong on the track but missed the final shot in the prone position. After a faultless stage, Rees left the track in tenth position. And there he started a catch-up race. Finishing fourth, Rees was 56.7 seconds behind Gust and around 20 seconds off the podium – he missed those 20 seconds on the penalty loop.
Rees: “Crying error prone”
“It was a very good race, I mourn the only error prone – it was good and a bit unfortunate. You can see what would be possible with a zero“said Rees, who set the third fastest time on the final lap, after competing on ZDF.”I had a good feeling on the track from the start. The effort comes at altitude from the start. But I could handle it just fine. On the last lap, I thought that if I tortured myself again and did everything I could on the Huberalm, I could still gain a few places.“
Three Norwegians in the top 5
Three athletes from the exceptionally strong Norwegian team entered the top five in sunny weather in the dream landscape of Antholz: Sturla Holm Laegreid finished third with a flawless performance (+ 37.3 seconds), Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen is came in fifth just behind Rees (+57.0 seconds). Sweden’s Martin Ponsiluoma prevented a Norwegian double victory: the 27-year-old 2021 world sprint champion ran with a penalty in second place (+ 31.4 seconds).
Strelow the only error-free German – “Good race”
From a German point of view, Justus Strelow could still be satisfied with his race. The 26-year-old was the only player from national coach Mark Kirchner’s squad to qualify without making a mistake. At the finish, Strelow was able to celebrate his ninth place. “Today was another good race. I secured the clean sheet. It was important for me”said the Thuringian on ZDF and explained: “Last year I struggled a lot because of the altitude, it wasn’t easy at all. Today it went better, I’m very satisfied. Our coach Uros gave me a lot tips for today’s race standings, that you shouldn’t push too hard in the mountains and better take the transitions with you.”
Doll in the wake of squalls
At the South Tyrol altitude of around 1,600 meters, Benedikt Doll and David Zobel with the low starting numbers four and six were allowed to start early. The two didn’t come off perfectly: Doll had to enter the penalty loop once down and twice standing up. Zobel caught him standing with two penalties. On his last lap, in the wake of the flurry that started after him, Doll at least managed to maintain the gap with the stable front and reached the finish with the third fastest time overall.
Doll starts the chase on Saturday (January 21, 2023) in twelfth place, 1:30.5 minutes behind. With a time of 2:11.0 minutes, Zobel is more clearly behind as 33rd.
Nawrath and Kühn defeated
Philipp Nawrath, who only joined the team on Thursday (19.01.2023) due to Lucas Fratzscher’s illness, was on course for the top 25 after an error. But three penalties set him back, in 39th place, he chased after him, 2:21.5 minutes behind Bö. Johannes Kühn also picked up four penalties, finishing 54th, 2:46.6 minutes behind.
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