The German men’s team has recovered from the poor results in Oberhof and came in second ahead of France which snatched the third place from the Austrians.
Norway wins: “Same procedure as every year.” For the fifth time in a row, the Norwegian men’s relay team was the first to cross the finish line at the Chiemgau-Arena. With the best team composition the Norwegians were in the lead at every exchange. This lead was a bit precarious towards the end, because after the last bout of shooting, the German relay team was ahead. Benedikt Doll had to re-load only once in the standing position, but Johannes Thingnes Boe had to re-load three times. Doll entered the final round a few seconds ahead of Boe. In the flat stretch behind the stands, both of them started calmly. Right before the shooting range incline, Boe started to pull ahead, only to then start an incredible spurt that Doll could not counter. Ten seconds quickly lapsed, and the race for the victory was determined. “I needed to not have missed a shot in the standing position to still have had a chance. Maybe, also if I had had a chance at the final sprint. But when Boe gets going on that stretch, I don’t have a chance,” said Benedikt Doll after the race.
The German Ski Federation relay team was strong throughout
The German team had the right approach after the slip-up in Oberhof. The fact that Erik Lesser and Simon Schempp were missing was not noticeable. Roman Rees was the starter and did not have to re-load. He handed over as sixth, just one second after the leading Norwegians. “I was very nervous before the start, but once I got going, the nerves were gone. It went perfect for me,” said Rees. He sent Johannes Kühn off on the circuit who had to do three penalty rounds in the relay race in Ruhpolding in 2016 and also had to complete extra meters in December in Hochfilzen. This time things went better even if he did have to re-load three times in the standing position. “I could block out most things and felt pretty secure. I was frustrated that I needed to reload three times.” He hit four targets on the first go, and the fifth was close, confirmed the national trainer Mark Kirchner, “he was unlucky.” Skiing Johannes Kühn is tops, he already demonstrated this in the Sprint. In the last round he was able to reduce the deficit to Norway by 15 seconds.
Peiffer and Landertinger catch up
In a group, with just a half a minute behind the Norwegians, Arnd Peiffer started the pursuit. Together with Dominik Landertinger, he got ever closer to Tarjei Boe, who admitted after the race that the two made him seriously nervous. The Norwegian had to re-load twice in the standing position, and Peiffer and Landertinger did not miss a shot. They caught up the remaining back-log in the final round. Johannes Thingnes Boe, Julian Eberhard and Benedikt Doll started together as the last relay team members. After the prone position shooting, Eberhard, who had to re-load three times, had to let the competition pull ahead. Boe did not miss, but shot more slowly than Doll. Even the standing position bout did not lead to a clear leader. Boe arrived earlier at the range, but had to re-load three times. “I was quite worried that I would have to do a penalty loop and was grateful when the last target fell,” he later admitted. Shortly thereafter Benedikt Doll began the final round. The small lag was quickly caught up. The rest of the story is common knowledge...
National Trainer Mark Kirchner: Without reproach
Even if for a short while it looked like Germany might win, not only the athletes but also the national trainer Mark Kirchner were quite satisfied with second place. “The team performed very well. Roman Rees without a miss, and Johannes Kühn had a bit of hard luck.” Only the Ukranian team had to re-load less than the Gemans with six re-loads. A complete contrast to the results in Oberhof with 17 re-loads and two penalty rounds!
France places third ahead of Austria
In the fight for third place, the Austrians had to cede to the French team. Simon Desthieux offered a brilliant performance as the last in the relay. He was faster than Boe, Doll and Loginov and shortly before the finishing line, he sprinted past the strongest racer Julian Eberhard, who also had to re-load three times. He couldn’t shake off the Frenchman in the final round even though he kept trying, “it was a really hard fight against Julian,” Desthieux admitted. He went into the race in fifth place and at first left the Swedes behind him, “It was not an easy situation when I started shooting in the standing position and the spectators were shouting as soon as Doll and Boe were finished.” The French athlete demonstrated that he has strong nerves.
The Swedes, who were at the forefront for much of the time, had to pay for Sebastian Samuelsson recent illness. In the end, Peppe Femling had to let Alexander Loginov from the Russian relay pass him as they shot unusually poorly and even had to run a penalty round to achieve fifth place.