News : Biathlon: German relay wins in Nove Mesto, Erik Lesser dominates – sport
Erik Lesser was still devastated at the World Cup, but 13 days after his personal Waterloo, he celebrated the first German relay victory in more than four years: Thanks to an excellent performance by the 32-year-old starter, the German biathletes have big at the World Cup in Nove Mesto trumped up and duped the competition. Lesser and the equally strong Benedikt Doll, Arnd Peiffer and Philipp Nawarath only managed five spare rounds on Friday and distanced Russia by a full 1: 21.7 minutes, third place went to world champions Norway despite three penalties.
After the World Cup debacle with seventh place, national coach Mark Kirchner was also happy about the first German relay victory since January 21, 2017 in Antholz. “It’s been four years since a win like this always has a special meaning because we had a few problems. When you win so confidently, it’s balm for the team and has impressively demonstrated the potential of the team.” said national coach Mark Kirchner on ZDF.
When the final runner debutant Nawrath had brought the last five shots in his third World Cup season, Lesser and Peiffer fell into each other’s arms. A little later, all four posed in the finish area for the winning photos. Lesser was particularly relieved after he experienced an unprecedented slump as a starting runner at the World Cup in Pokljuka and was responsible for seventh place. Resurrection, reparation? Neither of the two for Lesser. “I sensed from the start that there was something in there today,” he said. In Slovenia, Lesser, who had to prove his comeback qualities again and again in his long career, had the worst World Cup of his career.
After that there was a lot of criticism. But Lesser knew: he had had his worst day at the worst possible time. “I knew it wasn’t my normal performance. I’m glad it didn’t turn out like it did in Pokljuka. But it would have been difficult to repeat that,” said the 32-year-old. In the Czech Republic, the Thuringian delivered in a well-known manner: lying down he cleared all five discs in 21.5 seconds, while standing he needed two spare rounds with increased risk – but he was still the first to hand over to Doll in 3.9 seconds.
“I’m particularly happy for Erik,” says Arnd Peiffer
On the last climb, Lesser even passed the four-time Pokljuka world champion Sturla Holma Laegreid from Norway. “Today everything went back to normal and then I can show the overall World Cup runner-up that I’m not that bad on the climb either,” said Lesser, visibly satisfied: “What happened on the last lap will hopefully become normal again . “
The actual final runner, Doll, used the good default and convinced with only one extra cartridge at the shooting range. “It’s a thousand times more fun to run away from the front. The material was also right,” said the Black Forest man (30). And Peiffer, who won the only men’s medal with individual silver at the World Championships, was in no way inferior to his colleagues. Nawrath started the race with a lead of 36.7 seconds over France and expanded that further. “I’m especially happy for Erik that he showed today what a great starter he is,” said Peiffer. Nawrath thanked his teammates for their “huge job” and the coaches for their trust.
The sprints for women (11.00 a.m. / ZDF and Eurosport) and men (3.40 p.m.) continue on Saturday. Denise Herrmann is there again. She had been spared in the season, the German quartet experienced a debacle with twelfth place. The final pursuit races will follow on Sunday.