20 hits in great luck! With the best shooting performance of her career, biathlete Denise Herrmann stormed to the fifth World Cup victory. In the difficult single of Pokljuka, the pursuit world champion didn’t miss a single miss, was over 15 kilometers as fast as lightning – and was celebrated properly after the famous appearance.
Herrmann had never been without a ticket in a four-shot race before. This is also why two 18th ranks before were their best results in the classic, in which every mistake on the shooting range is punished directly with a penalty minute. “It was a perfect day for me,” said Herrmann with a smile: “I am so happy that I was able to keep my focus four times while shooting.”
Herrmann thus underpinned their exceptional position in the German team. Previously, with her second place in the sprint in Oberhof, she had booked the only podium this winter, out of a total of 13 top ten positions by the German ski hunters, the former cross-country skier alone achieved eight. This makes her one of the hot contenders for medals for the World Cup in Antholz (February 13 to 23). Franziska Preuss also shone with faultless shooting performance, but was not quite as fast as Herrmann. The 25-year-old showed a rising form with fifth place.
The only downside on this day: Less than three weeks before the title fights, a “two-class society” with Herrmann at the top is becoming increasingly apparent. Because only Herrmann, Preuss and Vanessa Hinz met the World Cup standard – that wouldn’t even be enough for a season at the moment. A moderate fiasco in year one after the resignation of the outstanding Laura Dahlmeier.
It is also clear that those responsible for the German Ski Association (DSV) around national coach Mark Kirchner are forced to nominate other athletes without the requirements being met, presumably there will be two or even three. Firstly, to be able to offer a quartet at all. And on the other hand, to exhaust the five starting positions that are available to DSV in the sprint due to Herrmann’s title.
On Saturday, the ski hunters in the single mixed relay and mixed relay (1:15 p.m. on ARD and at Eurosport) have to prove that they can be successful when combined forces. The last races before the World Cup will be mass starts on Sunday (12.15 p.m.) – Erik Lesser hopes that the men there will be the last German to still meet the World Cup standard.