Not even a positive corona test could stop biathlon dominator Johannes Thingnes Bö in the Czech Republic. With his success in the pursuit, the exceptional talent equaled his record of 16 victories this season. Explosive: like his brother Tarjei, he was infected with the virus - both started anyway.
"We felt good during the warm-up and in the race," said Tarjei Bö, who finished second in both the sprint and the chase. "I don't think we infected anyone. We were all alone."
Both would have liked to have continued their winning streak with the Norwegian mixed relay in Nove Mesto on Sunday, but then had to give up. When the French won, the German quartet with Janina Hettich-Walz, Vanessa Voigt, Philipp Nawrath and Benedikt Doll in fourth place were a good half a minute behind the third-placed Norwegians after a penalty loop by Nawrath and a total of 13 spare rounds. In the single mixed, Hanna Kebinger and Roman Rees finished seventh in Norway's victory. Rees had his sights set on the podium on the last standing stage, but then had one penalty loop.
No more specific rules
The Bö brothers, who wore mouth and nose protection on the podium after the pursuer, caused discussions. Third-placed Swede Martin Ponsiluoma, who narrowly beat Doll in the final sprint, didn't have one - although he moved even closer to the two Norwegians for the joint picture. "It was their decision to start. Our doctor told them it's their decision if they have no symptoms and no fever," said Norway coach Siegfried Mazet.
As in tennis, for example, there are "no more specific rules" in biathlon, said communications director Christian Winkler from the IBU World Association of the German Press Agency. "But there is a clear recommendation to pay attention to the health of the athletes," he explained.
The Scandinavians also started because they didn't want to be at a disadvantage in the fight for the overall World Cup. Because since this season there have been no more strike results. "That happens when you can't iron out a race," said Johannes Thingnes Bö (29), whose compatriot Marte Olsbu Röiseland also celebrated a double victory. Best in the chase race was sprint world champion Denise Herrmann-Wick in sixth place, but she was not used in either mixed or single mixed.
pressure is there
The Swede Sebastian Samuelsson showed understanding. "I understand that when you lead the World Cup you want to run. Many of us said that to the IBU when the rule change was presented. The risk is that some will compete even if they are not completely healthy," said the mass start -World Champion. He did that at the World Cup in France at the end of December. Health is the most important thing, but you feel a certain pressure, explained the 25-year-old.
The corona problem seems to be increasing again before the last two World Cup stops in Östersund and Oslo. Norway's Sturla Holm Laegreid had left before the start of the World Cup in the Czech Republic after a positive test - he probably got infected. The Frenchman Quentin Fillon Maillet no longer competed because of a corona infection.
The Bö brothers do. "They watched the other athletes when they were zeroing and warming up. That's when they saw that everything was fine," said Mazet. Norway's biathlon icon Ole Einar Björndalen, on the other hand, was critical. "I'm worried about possible consequential damage if you really have Corona," said the TV2 expert. Health is the top priority: "And what they did is risky."