Laura dahlmeier could finally laugh again. Together with vanessa hinz, franziska hildebrand and maren hammerschmidt, the seven-time world champion was allowed to climb onto the podium at the biathlon world cup in hochfilzen after all.
In front of 10,900 spectators, the final skier brought home the sixth relay victory in a row and the first success of the season, ahead of olympic champions ukraine and france. Germany’s biathlon queen was enthusiastically embraced by her teammates at the finish line.
Earlier the men’s team with erik lesser, benedikt doll, arnd peiffer and final skier simon schempp had finished second in a wind lottery with 17 reloads and a gap of almost two minutes behind the norwegians who started without the bo-brothers. "We are on schedule and doing well," said national coach mark kirchner, even though world champion simon schempp narrowly missed the podium in fourth place in the two individual races.
For dahlmeier the final race in hochfilzen became therapy. The day before, she was still thinking about leaving. The 24-year-old wiped tears from her eyes after tenth place in the pursuit – she was so dissatisfied with her performance.
Despite her late start to the season, she had come to the site of her winter march with high expectations, even though she had always been low on public expectations. Five golds, one silver in six world championship races – this unique success from february still outshines everything.
Dahlmeier was ill at the start of the season, so her preparation was impaired. On friday, for example, russia’s darja domratcheva only finished 16th in the sprint, but on saturday, the seven-time world champion in the pursuit improved her position by six places when slovakia’s anastasiya kuzmina won the event. "I find this entry quite normal and orderly," said women’s national coach gerald honig.
Dahlmeier apparently not. Although the competition has been in competition mode since ostersund, the overall world cup winner probably expected things to work out on their own despite the time off due to illness. "Laura must first accept its current form. It’s a bit difficult for her," said honig, noting that "she is used to success, she has high expectations of herself."
Dahlmeier is not in her old form at the moment, as indicated by her 39. Maturity in the pursuit of. "After she has run one or two more races, laura will regain the form and the competition rhythm she needs to be able to compete at the top again."
The relay competition came just in time. National coach honig spared two-time ostersund winner denise herrmann. "This is not a decision against her," honig stressed, but he trusted his successful world championship quartet. Hammerschmidt, running in third position, shone, dahlmeier ran to victory: 44.9 seconds ahead of the DSV quartet at the end of the race.
In february, the athlete from garmisch-partenkirchen had led the DSV quartet to world championship gold with a feat of strength – and then suffered the second weak attack at the title competitions in tyrol. "She gives more than she is actually physically capable of", said team doctor klaus-jurgen marquardt at the time. This time it was "more of a head thing," said honig. "The situation is not easy for them, they know what they expect from themselves, what the environment expects." in hochfilzen the past successes became a rough burden.