Yesgain self-confidence – has this mission Franziska Preuss Comply. The best German biathlete had nothing to do with the medal decision in the third race of the World Championship in Nove Mesto. But with a single throwing error, the 29-year-old Bavarian maintained at least her sixth position from Friday's sprint in the pursuit race on Sunday and fueled hope that the German team could win a medal in the second week of the World Cup.

In the lead, the Frenchwoman Julia Simon did her thing again, confidently winning her third gold medal in this World Championship and successfully defending her title against the Italian Lisa Vittozzi and her compatriot Justine Braisaz-Bouchet.

The German team also realized that Franziska Preuß's skis could not keep up with the competition either. The technicians of the German Ski Federation (DSV) slept little during the night and spent a lot of time analyzing what happened in the men's sprint on Saturday night. Because after this race I had Benedictine doll almost all hopes of achieving a prominent position in the competition were buried. The gap to the top was too big after his 13th place.

The Germans are behind

The new world champion Sturla Holm Laegreid (Norway) only needed 25:24 minutes for the ten kilometers and two shooting sessions and he hit all ten targets. Doll, the best German starter, made two mistakes while lying down and finished 1:41 minutes behind. Johannes Kühn (14th) and Philipp Nawrath (16th) were also behind, although with just one shooting error they did not shoot worse than Johannes Thingnes Bö or Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, who won silver and bronze respectively.

The fourth German, Philipp Horn (25th), even spoke afterwards of “the worst time I have offered this season”. And Philipp Nawrath acknowledged it: “In terms of materials, we couldn't live up to the best.”

The Germans started with good preliminary performances. Nawrath won the sprint in Östersund at the beginning of the season, Doll led the races in Lenzerheide and Oberhof. “After many competitions in which we had top quality skis, yesterday unfortunately we could not keep up with the best in terms of material,” Jens Filbrich analyzed the result.

The Thuringian was specially chosen before the season DSV They were hired to advance athletes in terms of career and close the gap with the Norwegians and other strong nations. Basically, “all four guys are in good shape,” the 44-year-old added.

However, with the exception of Oberhof, the successes of the season so far come from those World Cups in which temperatures were clearly below zero degrees. In Nove Mesto, in the Czech Republic, temperatures range between five and ten degrees Celsius. The sun gave a brief interval on Saturday. But by the afternoon, rain clouds had darkened the sky again and it was raining just in time for them to chase the women.

On Sunday morning there was news from the IBU World Association: due to weather conditions, part of the course could not be used. For the sprint races, organizers used large equipment to carry fresh artificial snow from the warehouse to the track on Friday night.

daily challenge

Hot wind and rain: German biathletes often find it difficult to cope with these conditions. Sebastian Hopf, head coach of the German biathlon team, described the challenges in Nove Mesto as “quite extreme”: the large amounts of pre-made and summer artificial snow are more ice than snow, and much of the course runs through forests, That's why there are a lot of spruce needles on the road.

In addition, this year, for the first time, skis must be prepared without fluorine wax, which harms the environment and health, and which makes the lasts “more durable”, especially in dirty and humid conditions, and allows you to slide better for longer. . If the ability to slide decreases, athletes have to use more force to move forward, lean their body further forward and run more frequently, that is, take shorter steps.

According to Hopf, there are about 200 fluoride-free products to choose from. The daily challenge of the technicians is to select from this quantity the appropriate product for the respective climatic conditions. To do this, they are the first on the course before the races and travel up to 30 kilometers to try different skis and waxes.

At the beginning of the season it seemed that the German team had been able to adapt well to the new challenges. In previous World Cup races it became clear that other nations, especially Norway and France, had also found the right material to complement the running strength of their athletes.

“The route here is really hard, it takes away your energy,” said silver medalist Johannes Thingnes Bö. And: “Today the skis have been the key to success.” This could already be seen on Friday, when the French dominated the women's sprint and praised their techniques.