Biathlon – German mixed relay remains without a podium in Oslo

As of: March 3, 2024 3:53 p.m

The fact remains: the German biathletes end the season without a podium place in the mixed team. However, more was possible at Benedikt Doll’s last relay race in Oslo.

The DSV quartet with Janina-Hettich-Walz, Sophia Schneider, Benedikt Doll and Philipp Nawrath had to settle for fifth place on Sunday (March 3rd, 2024) after a total of 24 kilometers and ten spares. The podium was there until the end, but Nawrath lost his strength on the last lap.

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For Doll it was a farewell in two respects. The 33-year-old is ending his career after this season and not only completed his last race at the traditional Holmenkollen in Oslo but also his 57th and final appearance for a German biathlon relay team in the World Cup.

Victory once again went to the world champions from France with Julia Simon, Sophie Chauveau, Fabien Claude and Quentin Fillon Maillet, who only used six spares. Sweden came second (8 spares / +32.2 seconds), Norway third (10 / +35.9).

Hettich-Walz starts with three reloaders

Without Vanessa Voigt, who was not nominated for the relay after her disappointing performance in the mass start, and Franziska Preuß, who was still in poor health, Hettich-Walz started the race for Germany as the starting runner. The individual vice world champion got off to a good start in the drizzle of Oslo with a prone spare, but had already lost 17 seconds to France’s Simon.

The gap continued to grow until the second shooting, and two more spare rounds were added. So Hettich-Walz handed over to Schneider in fourth place, 36 seconds behind France at the top. “In the last two races I wasn’t at 100 percent. Today it was better – especially in terms of running“, the 27-year-old drew an overall positive conclusion.

Schneider has strong nerves at the shooting range

Schneider had to keep up with the Swede Elvira Öberg on the cross-country ski trail. That wasn’t entirely successful, but she showed a solid performance at the shooting range, although the last shot was repeated and then missed the target. But since the competition wasn’t without mistakes, the 26-year-old went into the next round in third place at the same time as Norway.

She also kept her nerve in the standing position and hit the finish line with five direct hits – second place. Until the second change, Italy and Sweden passed again, but Doll’s starting position as third runner was still promising. Meanwhile, France held its own at the top with a lead of more than half a minute. “Today I had a better feeling at the shooting range“, Schneider explained afterwards. “Although I lost time on the final lap, I’m happy with the race so far.

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Doll’s nerves are fluttering

After his great second place in the mass start the day before, Doll started with a mistake, but corrected without any problems and initially stayed in third place with Italy and Lukas Hofer. However, the gap grew again on the route, so that the six-time World Cup winner had to deliver while standing. But his nerves were fluttering during his last appearance in Oslo: the first three shots all missed, and Doll barely avoided the penalty loop. Norway still moved past, so that Germany was only in fifth place at the last change. The podium was 22 seconds away, and the French were in first place by just under a minute.

Nawrath loses his strength

What was Nawrath able to achieve as a final runner? With Johannes Thingnes Bö, the competition in the fight for the podium could hardly have been greater. But the 31-year-old stuck with it and, like the Norwegian, only had one spare shot. Because Nawrath’s rifle got stuck when he put it down, valuable seconds were lost. He even had to stop briefly and fell slightly to the ground. Accordingly, the gap grew to 30 seconds.

In the fight for victory on the day, Fillon Maillet kept his nerve for France and confidently achieved success. Italy, on the other hand, had three penalties. Because Sweden and Norway also missed shots, the door was suddenly open for Nawrath again. The first four targets fell and second place was even possible with just one spare round. In the four-way battle with Norway, Sweden and Italy, Nawrath was ultimately unable to set any accents and quickly lost ground on the final lap.