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Sturla Holm Laegreid takes his chance

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Sturla Holm Laegreid takes his chance

When Sturla Holm Laegreid lunged across the finish line and realized he had beaten the great Johannes Thingnes Bö by 3.5 seconds, he probably screamed as loud as he could. Only: I couldn’t hear it. 20,000 people in the Vysocina Arena in Nove Mesto made such a noise that the Norwegian’s cheers were drowned out. But everyone took away his joy about his victory in the sprint race at the Biathlon World Championships, even without making a sound.

It was the first win of the season for the 26-year-old, who had already become individual world champion in 2021. On the podium in Nove Mesto, the biathlon stronghold in the Czech Republic, he now led the sprint over ten kilometers ahead of the Olympic champion and current world champion Johannes Thingnes Bö and the third Norwegian Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen.

Laegreid said after the race that becoming world champion would be a dream come true for him. He was the only one in the top five to shoot clean. “I’ve had a season with ups and downs so far, a difficult start. But I realized during the race that if there was a chance to become sprint world champion, it would be now.”

Best German in 13th place

From the start of the race, the German biathletes had nothing to do with the awarding of medals. Already on the first section of the route it became clear that Norwegians, French and Swedes, as well as an American in Campbell Wright and a Latvian in Andrejs Rastorgujevs, had the better legs and skis that evening.

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“The race was a school grade of two, for the medal I need a one, that means I have to shoot without mistakes,” said Benedikt Doll, who crossed the finish line as the best German in 13th place with two shooting errors and 1:41 minutes.

The 2017 world champion, who has already won two sprints in the World Cup this season, emphasized: “I don’t just want to say that the skis weren’t optimal. I could have been faster myself. It was ok, but not good enough.” Looking at the pursuit race on Sunday evening (5:05 p.m. on ARD and Eurosport), he said: “For tomorrow I can see that I can move forward, but the medals are no longer the same within reach.”

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His teammates probably won’t come into contact with the podium either: Johannes Kühn was 14th, Philipp Nawrath 16th and Philipp Horn ended up in 25th place. The German medal hopes now rest on Franziska Preuß, who starts the women’s pursuit (2.30 p.m. on ARD and Eurosport) 1:05 minutes behind world champion Julia Simon (France).

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