In the renewed demonstration of power by biathlon superstar Johannes Thingnes Bö, Benedikt Doll was no more than an extra this time.
Almost six years after his World Cup triumph in Hochfilzen, when the Black Forester relegated the Norwegian to silver by 0.7 seconds, the 32-year-old had to admit defeat in the duel between fathers of families this time in Pillerseetal.
The five-time Olympic champion Bö (29) had a lead of 1:36.8 minutes after ten kilometers on his 55th World Cup victory over Doll, who finished the race in 14th place. "In any case, it's not as wrong as it looks. In the end, the three mistakes broke my neck," said Doll on ZDF. "It surprises me a bit. It was very, very difficult to start. I had heavy legs and I had to put in a lot of energy to get going. I missed that a bit lying on the shooting range."
"We see a newborn John"
Bö remained flawless in his third win of the season and once again set the best running time. Doll, on the other hand, had to do three extra laps, but was only 30.5 seconds slower than the exceptional performer from Norway in fourth place on the cross-country ski run. That gives courage for the final pursuit on Sunday, in which Doll Boden wants to make up for the five-time Olympic champion Bö: "I make sure that things always go forward."
"We see a newborn Johannes. I'm very satisfied," said Bö, who ended last season early after his four Olympic victories in Beijing, took a longer break from training and spent a lot of time with his wife and son Gustav.
Strelow cracks internal World Cup norm
After the great start to the season last week in Kontiolahti with two third places by David Zobel (individual) and Roman Rees (sprint) as well as second place in the relay, Justus Strelow was the best of national coach Mark Kirchner's team this time in a strong ninth place. After Zobel, Rees and Doll, he broke the internal World Cup norm. "The World Championship norm is very good and very important in this strong team. And I'm pleased that I was able to achieve my best World Cup result so far in front of such a great crowd," said the 25-year-old, who shot clean and was behind by 1:15 minutes goes into the chase race.
Philipp Nawarth in 28th place, Roman Rees in 30th place, last year's winner Johannes Kühn in 34th place and David Zobel in 56th place had nothing to do with the top rankings. "Two mistakes is not what I expect from me. The race wasn't that smooth. I felt rushed today and didn't find my peace," said 29-year-old Rees.
Due to the lack of snow, the route had to be changed. Instead of the usual three laps of 3.3 kilometers each, a 2.5-kilometer lap was run four times.
Herrmann-Wick favorite in the pursuit
Two days after her first win of the season, individual Olympic champion Denise Herrmann-Wick is the favorite in the pursuit race in Hochfilzen. In Austria, the 33-year-old starts on Saturday (11.30 a.m. / ZDF) with an 18-second lead and can take the lead in the overall World Cup for the first time in her career with another coup.
The Saxon won the sprint in Tyrol on Thursday and, being third overall, is only 25 points behind the yellow jersey. The German men can then (1.40 p.m. / ZDF and Eurosport) make the second podium finish in the second relay race of the World Cup winter.