The Biathlon World Cup 2024 in Joyn

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Despite the material problems and the disappointing medal haul so far, the German biathlon team is hoping for a change of course in the second week of the World Championships in Nove Mesto. “If we give up now, we can pack our bags and go home. But we will continue like this,” said women's discipline coach Kristian Mehringer.

For the first time since 2021 in Pokljuka, Slovenia, the German ski hunters are left without a medal after the first week. So far, fifth place in the mixed relay, two sixth places for Franziska Preuß, as well as 13th for Benedikt Doll and 15th for Johannes Kühn are the instructive results.

One reason: the material has not yet performed as expected in the difficult conditions with very high temperatures, rain and dirt on the roads. At the beginning of the season, the Germans in Östersund had some of the best skis, but it was very cold there. Even in the other World Cups before the World Cup, the DSV team never had problems like the ones it had now at the climax of the season.

“This without fluoride is a dance on the razor blade every week and a blade like that is narrow. “You can fall in one direction very, very quickly,” said sporting director Felix Bitterling.

In the first season since the ban on fluoride wax, technicians face great challenges. Because they can no longer draw on decades of past experience: everything started from scratch.

The world biathlon association Ibu is enforcing an EU directive that bans certain fluorine compounds. They are considered harmful to the environment and health, but they make the skis water and dirt repellent and therefore slide faster and for longer.

A solution must be found quickly so that we do not end up with the first women's and men's World Cup without medals in the history of German biathlon. Franziska Preuß and her teammates will have their next opportunity on Tuesday in the women's singles (5:10 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport).

The technicians would do everything possible to provide the perfectly prepared ski. “Then it will also be able to work on Tuesday. We are not that far from the medals. We are already close to Franziska and we try to give our best until the end,” said Mehringer.