YesIt started strong, slowed down a lot and finished strong: the German mixed relay team was left without a medal at the start of the Biathlon World Championships. The French team of Éric Perrot, Quentin Fillon Maillet, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Julia Simon took victory in the first race of the season in the Czech Republic on Wednesday night, ahead of Norway and Sweden. The German quartet was even in the race for gold until halfway through the race. In the end he finished fifth because Franziska Preuss experienced a disaster at the shooting range.

The 29-year-old had started the World Cup with optimism after her good performances this season, but after having used up all three refill cartridges while standing, she had to run a penalty lap and fell behind. “This is mega bitter. “I'm very disappointed in myself,” she said after the race, fighting back tears. Based on her colleagues' previous work, “there really was something to it,” she added. “I have to put this shoe on now.”

Starting rider Justus Strelow got off to a perfect start in the title fight with two fast and error-free shooting sessions and gave second place to Philipp Nawrath behind Frenchman Éric Perrot. Although the Bavarian needed three reloading cartridges for five impacts in the standing stage, he made up time in the race and was the first to reach the transition zone, where Franziska Preuß was waiting for him.

Finalist Vanessa Voigt took fifth place with an impeccable shot, but the German team's disappointment prevailed: “In biathlon there are always ups and downs, it's a shame that Franzi took a hit like that today,” Justus Strelow said later. But he was satisfied with his performance: “It turned out exactly as I imagined. Now I'm looking forward to the next races.”