The French, led by World Cup leader Julia Simon, won the last race before the World Championships in Oberhof (February 8-19) with a 45.2 second lead over Sweden, with third place Germany (+1:16.9 minutes) winning. Behind them, the Austrian quartet without the Hauser woman put in a surprisingly strong performance. Only three spares at the shooting range—the winners are only those who shot better—and decent mileage on a cross-country skiing track brought the historic score in the fourth relay competition of the season.
Zdoc and Gandler shot cleanly, handing the latter over to Juppé in the fourth, who managed to hold on despite two spare runs. As for the alternate runner, Schweiger, he was overtaken by Lisa Vittosi, the last Italian runner. In the end, the four were behind France by 1:56.1 minutes. “I made peace with Antholz today. It was a really tough race,” explained Gandler. “Honestly, I didn’t think I’d get two clean sheets today. I’m so happy, so happy.” Juppe spoke of “the best competition this weekend” and “a dream”. “This is how biathlon is fun,” Zdok added.
The Austrian biathletes finished 11th in the line-up of David Komatz, Simon Eder, Dominik Unterweger and Patrick Jacob. And there they were about five minutes behind the winning Norwegian team, who celebrated four victories in fourth-team competitions this season without any problems. Second and third place went to France (+59.0 seconds) and Germany (+2:17.5 minutes).
The Biathlon World Cup has been paused due to the World Cup Finals until the beginning of March, when it will continue in Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic. Most of the local biathlon team is preparing for the World Championships in Obertilliach and Hochfilzen in the coming days. Meanwhile, Felix Leitner and Harald Lemmerer would like to practice racing at the European Championships in Lenzerheide.
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