Ruhpolding is a good address for the Norwegian men’s relay team

In the final sprint, the seemingly certain victory slipped away from the Russians.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

On the first day of the Ruhpolding World Cup, the spectators’ nerves were put to the test during the men’s relay race: The Russian relay team with Alexey Volkov, Anton Shipulin, Matvey Eliseev and Anton Babikov, lead much of the time, not least due to the entire team’s great shooting performances. Altogether, they only had to reload twice which is an excellent result for 40 shots. Their trainer Ricco Groß was satisfied: “We are proud of this team. At first they were outliers, but they achieved excellent results.” They made second place because the Norwegian team, with Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Vetle S. Christiansen, Henrik Làbee-Lund and Emil Hegle Svendsen, surpassed them in the end spurt. Emil Hegle Svendsen, who did not miss a shot in either bout, brought home the gold though this was not initially his goal, “I really just wanted to keep my distance from Simon Schempp and then I saw Anton ahead of me.” Previous champion Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who has been on the winner’s podium a few times in Ruhpolding said, “Ruhpolding’s trails suit us. We have been able to achieve good results here often.” The Norwegian relay team won the gold in Ruhpolding last year as well.

The German relay team’s effort to catch up was an emotional roller-coaster for the spectators. Erik Lesser, who had to turn an extra round, and Benedikt Doll had difficulties in the standing position shooting. And this in spite of perfect shooting conditions, resulting in as much as a minute deficit at times. “The shooting range tempts us to exceed the time limit. I wanted to be confident and play my own game”. Doll was wearing “skis with attitude” and brought the German team back within striking distance. He handed over to the third athlete Arnd Peiffer with 30 seconds deficit. The local star Simon Schempp had to reload once and brought the team into third place.

The Ukrainian relay team made fourth place and fifth place went to the Czech relay team.