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    Unlucky Preuss shoots German squadron off track


    Disappointment at the Biathlon World Cup
    Unlucky Preuss shoots German squadron off track

    The German biathlon men performed furiously in the mixed relay and hopes for a medal are high. Then Franziska Preuß delivers an unfortunate performance at the shooting range, precious metal is gone.

    First Franziska Preuß had a penalty, then she fell after leaving the shooting range. Of all people, Germany's best biathlete cost the German mixed relay the medal they hoped for with her mistakes at the start of the World Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. Justus Strelow, Philipp Nawrath, Preuß and Vanessa Voigt had to settle for fifth place after one penalty lap and nine spare rounds.

    “I just feel really sorry for the others. That’s really a shame,” said Preuß on ARD. “Somehow the lactate shot into me. My thighs were just shaking and I had a hard time on the lap.” In adverse conditions, the quartet was in the lead for a long time, but crossed the finish line after 4×6 kilometers 1:30.9 seconds behind world champions France. The defeated top favorite Norway secured silver ahead of Sweden, who took bronze in the first of twelve World Cup decisions.

    Motivation from the national coach

    The mixed doubles last won a World Cup medal five years ago with silver in Östersund, and in 2017 they won the last of a total of three titles. At the Olympic Games, Germany is still without any precious metal in this discipline – at the World Cup home game last year it only achieved a disappointing sixth place.

    With six degrees too warm and unpleasant constant rain, the German team had to do without the two-time season winner Benedikt Doll. The Black Forester was not ready for action after recovering from a cold and is only scheduled to start his possibly last World Championships in the sprint on Saturday. Without their best ski hunter, starting skier Strelow showed strong nerves and took the lead early after a quick-fire performance. The 27-year-old also made no mistakes in the standing stage, putting the competition under enormous pressure and handing over to Nawrath in second place behind France. “The shooting was perfect. Of course I was extremely excited, but I was able to enjoy the race,” said Strelow.

    The Saxon and his team also took the congratulations from German sports celebrities into the race as motivation. National soccer coach Julian Nagelsmann said in a greeting: “My mother watches every biathlon race on television, so please give it a go for her too.” Nawrath did the same. The Bavarian remained clean in the prone stage, but then needed all the extra cartridges to avoid the penalty loop. Nevertheless, he also sent Preuss onto the trail with an eight-second lead.

    Preuss makes a mistake and falls

    The big gold favorite Norway was already around 30 seconds behind. Preuß initially narrowly avoided the penalty loop with three spare rounds in prone shooting, but did not manage to do so on her second trip to the shooting range. From first position, the 29-year-old Bavarian initially fell back to fifth place and even had a small fall as she made her way back onto the trail. Final runner Voigt started almost 30 seconds behind leaders France. Although the Thuringian acted quickly and strongly at the shooting range, she no longer made it into the medal ranks.

    The weather caused chaos before the start of the World Cup. Training was even canceled on Monday because trees had fallen after a storm. The route should also be protected. In the forests of Nove Mesto only a thin white band of artificial snow could be laid out. The temperatures are too warm for the time of year, and instead of snow there has been mostly rain recently. The conditions are likely to remain difficult in the coming days – the women's sprint continues on Friday (5.20 p.m./ARD and Eurosport). It's supposed to be at least a little colder, but enough artificial snow has been stored anyway to continue to prepare the course adequately.

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