Biathlon World Cup – Erik Lesser: “Believe in two relay medals”

The biathletes’ hunt for a World Championship medal begins again. Erik Lesser, pursuit winner in 2015, has a lot of confidence in the Germans.

It is always a spectacle when the best biathletes in the world compete at the World Championships. This year too, the stars around the Norwegian top aces Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold and Johannes Thingnes Bø are chasing medals again from February 7th to 18th. The Germans also want to attack in Nove Mesto (Czech Republic).

Franziska Preuß and Benedikt Doll lead the German team. In addition to the other experienced athletes, there are also two young talents at the start. The 19-year-old Selina Grotian can prove herself as well as the 21-year-old Johanna Puff. But what are the chances really for the DSV athletes?

“There are two relay medals”

Someone who needs to know is Erik Lesser. Germany’s former top performer won the World Cup pursuit race in Kontiolahti in 2015 and also took gold in the relay back then. As a TV expert and shooting trainer, Lesser is still close to the action – and now has a lot of confidence in the Germans in Nove Mesto. “I believe in two relay medals at the World Cup, they are possible,” said Lesser in an interview with t-online. For Lesser, however, these successes also depend on the top performers in the team.

The 35-year-old explains: “The women have it in them when Franzi is fit. Vanessa Voigt is also a strong athlete.” Preuß is currently the best German in the overall World Cup and is in eighth place. Voigt is currently in tenth place. “It will be exciting to see whether Selina Grotian outstrips Hanna Kebinger and Sophia Schneider,” says Lesser.

Medal fight? “At least for bronze”

Grotian is considered a great talent. Experts believe she can build on Laura Dahlmeier’s successes. However, their performance in the past has not always been consistent. In Hochfilzen last December, Grotian was able to impress as the starting runner in the relay. However, she wasn’t there in Ruhpolding, was left off the World Cup team, but gained experience again in the IBU Cup and gained self-confidence. Now she is taking part in the World Cup.

And what about the men? Lesser: “If they get their stuff together and Benni (Doll, Note d. Red.), novel (Rees, Note d. Red.) and Philip (Nawrath, Note d. Red.) are consistently there and Justus Strelow is doing his thing at the starting position, we have two good relay teams at the start that are fighting for at least bronze.”

“For men, gold will be gone through Norway”

The former biathlete already has another nation in mind for victory: “For the men, Norway will take away the gold, they are too strong for that.” The Bø brothers Johannes Thingnes and Tarjei are currently in top form. Johannes Dale-Skjevdal and Vetle Sjastad Christiansen are also convincing at the moment. The six best men who determine the overall World Cup are all Norwegians. As the best German, Doll – like Preuß among the women – is in eighth place. Lesser has a lot of confidence in him apart from the relay: “On the individual route I would rate Benni as strong. And for the women, Franzi and Vanessa Voigt.”

However, Lesser, who won silver in the individual at the 2014 Olympics, is also realistic: “From last season there is a big gap to the big nations, so you can roughly predict the performances,” says Lesser. “The times when an athlete over 30 years old suddenly fights for the yellow jersey and immediately becomes world champion are over,” he says.