The German biathletes continued their promising start to the season at the World Cup in Kontiolahti, Finland. Roman Rees finished third in Saturday’s sprint and gave the German men’s team their third podium finish in the third race.
The 29-year-old shot clean and after ten kilometers was only beaten by the two Norwegians Johannes Thingnes Bö and Sturla Holm Laegreid. In the women’s race, Anna Weidel missed the podium by just 2.4 seconds in fifth place with the best World Cup result of her career. Overall, both the women and the men impressed with their solid team performance. “The whole race went very smoothly for me. I felt super good and the skis were world class. Kind of surprising, but somehow it also fits because I’m feeling comfortable on the track and at the shooting range,” said Rees.
A number of World Cup norms cracked
David Zobel as third in the first individual and the relay in second place had already brought the team of national coach Mark Kirchner the first successes of the new winter. “Roman stands out with the podium, but it was also a really good competition as a team,” said Kirchner. The four-time Olympic gold medalist in Beijing Boe relegated his clean-shooting team-mate Laegreid to second place with a lead of 10.5 seconds on his 53rd World Cup victory despite a penalty loop. Rees was 28.8 seconds behind Bö and thus has a very good starting position for the pursuit on Sunday (12.15 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport). For Rees, it was the second World Cup podium of his career.
The good team result was rounded off by Zobel (1 error/+ 1:05.0 minutes) in ninth place, ex-world champion Benedikt Doll (2/+ 1:10.2 minutes) in eleventh place, Johannes Kühn (2/+ 1:13, 4 minutes) in 12th place and Justus Strelow (0/+ 1:24.3 minutes) in 17th place. Only Philipp Nawrath (2/+ 1:46.6 minutes) did not make it into the top 20 in 29th place.
Anna Weidel was “totally” surprised by herself. “I know that I still have a deficit in skiing and that I have to work on it, but I’m very satisfied, the shooting worked perfectly,” she said after the race. She only needed 18 and 24 seconds for her shooting bouts. In terms of running time, however, she was only 34th. Nevertheless, she cracked the internal World Cup norm like Denise Herrmann-Wick, Vanessa Voigt and Sophia Schneider.
Good starting position for pursuit
After 7.5 kilometers, Weidel was 26.6 seconds behind the victorious Lisa Theresa Hauser. The Austrian also shot clean and won 17.3 seconds ahead of Lisa Vittozzi (1 penalty) from Italy. Sweden’s Linn Persson secured third place (0 errors/+ 24.2 seconds).
Individual Olympic champion Denise Herrmann-Wick had to run a penalty loop and was sixth after the 150 extra meters, 31.6 seconds behind. “I fought quite a bit standing up, and it wasn’t the best final lap either,” said Herrmann-Wick, who complained about tight shins on the final lap. The strong German team result was completed by Schneider (1 error/+ 34.2 seconds) in eighth place and Vanessa Voigt (1/+ 39.6 seconds) in eleventh place. Thus, the German women also have a good starting position for the pursuit race (2.15 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport) on Sunday.