World Cup in Östersund: German biathletes relay third - penalty loop by Kühn

Even without their successful duo Roman Rees and Justus Strelow, the German biathletes continued their successful streak and came third in the first relay race of the new World Cup season.

World Cup in Östersund: German biathletes relay third - penalty loop by Kühn

Even without their successful duo Roman Rees and Justus Strelow, the German biathletes continued their successful streak and came third in the first relay race of the new World Cup season.

Although final runner Johannes Kühn lost second place due to a penalty lap, in the end the Bavarian celebrated the next top result with David Zobel, Philipp Nawrath and Benedikt Doll. For the German team it was already the sixth podium finish in the sixth race at the first stop of the season - things last went this well eight years ago at the start of the 2015/2016 season.

"Our substitute runners weren't really substitute runners, they can just as easily get involved. It was nice to reach third place, if you look at the spares, that was anything but a brilliant performance. But in terms of running, we were doing pretty well ", said Doll on ZDF.

In Östersund, which was icy cold at minus nine degrees Celsius, the DSV quartet had a total of 16 spare rounds and had to give up the place behind the dominant Norwegians to world champions France. After 4 x 7.5 kilometers, the Germans were 50.5 seconds behind the leaders and 29.9 seconds behind the French.

“Symptoms of infection” in Rees and Strelow

Four days after his surprising individual victory, Rees (30) was missing from the team, as was Strelow (26), who came second over 20 kilometers. “Justus and Roman have developed symptoms of infection, which we are currently treating intensively,” said team doctor Jan Wüstenfeld. After the nomination the day before, a relay race was no longer an option “in order not to endanger the following competitions”. The next race for the men's sprint is on Saturday. In this competition, Rees would compete in the yellow jersey for the first time in his career if he gets fit again in time.

Zobel, who joined the team for Strelow, started with three spares, but was well on his well-prepared skis and, due to the best running time of the starting skiers, moved to the top in sixth place, 15.3 seconds behind. “I let Justus show me the prone shooting again, unfortunately that was nothing. But the running was really good,” said the 27-year-old.

Doll has to let Norway's superstar go

Nawrath (30) quickly worked his way forward and, with just one extra cartridge in each of the two shooting stages and a strong running performance, brought the DSV team into second place, almost at the same time as the Norwegians. Experienced Doll (33) then had to let Norway's superstar Johannes Thingnes Bö take the lead by 38.5 seconds because he barely avoided the penalty loop in the standing stage. Kühn (32), who had replaced Rees as the final runner, showed his nerves in the standing position, as he often does, but secured the podium position. “Final runner is not exactly my favorite discipline. Standing was difficult, and then at some point I ran out of steam,” said Kühn.

The World Cup in central Sweden continues on Friday (2.45 p.m./ZDF and Eurosport) with the women's sprint. The team led by final runner Franziska Preuß finished third in the relay on Wednesday.

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