Franziska Preuß was unable to crown her sporting redemption with a medal. But after her shooting drama in the mixed relay, the best German biathlete gained the confidence she had hoped for with sixth place in the World Championship sprint in Nove Mesto for the rest of the title fights.
"Everyone wants the medal and then it was one mistake too many. But the way things went the day before yesterday, I'm happy and proud that I didn't let myself get dragged down," said the 29-year-old on Friday evening.
A year after Denise Herrmann-Wick's World Cup gold, the Bavarian only missed the penultimate of her ten shots. It wouldn't have been enough to win her second individual World Cup medal after silver in the mass start in 2015 without making a mistake. But after Preuß lost a possible medal in the mixed relay (5th) due to a penalty loop, there were also fears that the deeply disappointed ski hunter would suffer a mental collapse.
Quadruple success for France
"Of course the tension was high again today, unfortunately I've experienced it differently before. But I have self-confidence again," said Preuß, who had to miss the home World Cup last year for health reasons, visibly relieved. She had been able to come up with a good strategy the day before. And the conversations with coach Sverre Olsbu Röiseland and sports director Felix Bitterling also helped the best German ski hunter, said Preuß.
While the German team is still waiting for its first medal after the second World Cup race, the Grande Nation celebrated a quadruple success for the first time in its World Cup history: Behind the error-free Simon, her teammates Justine Braisaz-Bouchet completed (1 error/ 4.9 seconds ) and Lou Jeanmonnot (1/40.8 seconds) the podium. Sophie Chauveau came fourth.
For Simon, who cried uncontrollably at the finish, it was her second world title after her mixed doubles success. "We did a crazy race today, especially at the World Cup, wow. It's really a fantastic moment and a dream," said Simon. The material in particular seemed to work well for the French women in the difficult conditions with significantly plus temperatures and partly soft snow - all four had some of the best running times.
"I want to annoy the French women"
Things didn't go as hoped for the other three Germans: Vanessa Voigt (1/1:42.5 minutes) came 18th, Sophia Schneider (2/2:04.4) came 28th and Janina Hettich-Walz (3/2 :14.8) had to settle for 35th place. "It's only week one of the World Cup and we're trying our best and certainly not giving ourselves up yet," said Voigt.
Preuß, who was the first German to wear the yellow jersey since Dahlmeier in 2017 at the end of the opening World Cup in Östersund, will now go into the race on Sunday 1:05 minutes behind Simon and wants to attack there again: "It's a good starting position. I want to annoy the French women."
For the men, Benedikt Doll, Philipp Nawrath, Philipp Horn and Johannes Kühn are hoping for top placings in the first men's individual race of the World Cup.