The men’s biathlon sprint only knows one name this season: Johannes Thingnes Bö. With the Norwegian’s victory in Oslo, Benedikt Doll also achieved his third podium finish of the season.
Seven races, seven victories: Johannes Thingnes Bö also won the last biathlon sprint of this World Cup season. The already established overall World Cup winner was once again unbeatable at the World Cup finals in Oslo on Thursday (March 16, 2023) on the 10-kilometer route.
Bö could even afford a mistake in standing to clinch the win thanks to his outstanding running form after 25:13.0 minutes. The dominator had skipped the last races in Nove Mesto due to a corona disease.
Doll with “good feeling and good legs” in third place
Even Benedikt Doll could not stop the high-flyer of the last few years. The 32-year-old once again delivered a strong race and remained flawless. In the end, he was 28.9 seconds behind Bö. The Swede Martin Ponsiluoma (0 errors/+23.9 seconds) landed one place in front of him.
“I would also have liked to have won the long-distance duel with Ponsi (Ponsiluoma, editor’s note), but he really put his foot down again“, Doll said after the race at the sports show microphone. “I had a good feeling today and good legs. But if you look at the running times of gusts, it’s crazy.” But above all it is the performance on the shooting range that makes him “very very happy” said Doll: “It’s always a question of self-confidence. If you know you can shoot well, it’s easier.“
Strong German DSV result
Johannes Kühn was also convincing on the shooting range and on the course and ended up sixth with a strong result in the top ten (0/+55.9). Philipp Nawrath caused a small surprise from a German point of view, who also made it into the top ten with one mistake in ninth place and rounded off the good German team result. Roman Rees was 18th (1/+1:24.5 minutes), David Zobel 26th (1/+1:39.3).
Philipp Horn and Lucas Fratzscher earned the two additional starting places at the season finale with good performances in the IBU Cup. Horn finished two places clear of Zobel in 24th place, Fratzscher was 27th (2 penalties). Justus Strelow finished the race in 36th place despite zero penalties.
Doll without fault and blame
In perfect external conditions, Doll completed a very good first lap. The shooting range also ran like clockwork, so that the most experienced biathlete in the German team was able to hope for a top placement early on. This was nourished again after Doll had completed the second round with the fastest time of the first 17 starters. Five more perfect shots then finally flushed him into the narrow circle of favorites on the podium.
Gust with next records
But against gusts that day there was again no herb. Already after the first shooting the Norwegian looked like the certain winner. When a shot missed the target in the standing position, a touch of tension germinated for a brief moment. But after completing the penalty loop, it was already clear that his lead would be enough again.
Bö was already the winner of the overall World Cup before the World Cup finals at Holmenkollen. The 29-year-old has now had 17 successes this season. He also set a new victory record. The 29-year-old’s previous record came from the 2018/2019 season, when he was at the top 16 times. In addition, the five-time Oberhof World Champion is the first biathlete to win all sprint races in a season.
Strelow draws a positive conclusion
In contrast to Bö, Strelow remained flawless. But he lost a lot of time on the track, which annoyed him in the end. “The conditions were very good. My goal was to get the zero. I didn’t feel so good running. I lost a lot of time on the last lap in particular. It was a tough race“, Strelow summed up, but drew a positive conclusion for the last few months. “The season was better than expected. I was able to achieve good results at the World Championships. The outliers to the top were still missing a bit.“
Who will grab the last little crystal ball?
At the weekend, the biathletes in Oslo still have to compete in the pursuit on Saturday and in the mass start on Sunday. While Bö is already in the pursuit of the small crystal ball, the decision in the mass start promises to be exciting: Here, the Norwegian Vetle Sjastad Christiansen leads the ranking with 22 points ahead of his compatriot Johannes Dale. Sturla Holm Lagreid and Bö still have a chance of winning the discipline classification.