1 Other winter sports

The German para cross-country skiers experience almost perfect days at the World Cup in Toblach.

Toblach: Maier wins with anger in his stomach

The German para cross-country skiers experience almost perfect days at the World Cup in Toblach (Pustertal). Linn Kazmaier (SZ Römerstein) shines in the women with visual impairment with three wins from four races. For the men, a disqualification causes short-term discontent in the team.

Linn Kazmaier and her guide Florian Baumann were seven seconds short of a special kind of quartet after ten kilometers in free style on Sunday. The duo had competed at the start of the World Cup three times in the previous days and won three times. On Sunday someone else, the Czech Simona Bubenickova and her guide David Srutek, won by seven seconds.

Bubenickova, as the first impressions had already shown, is likely to be in the middle of the winner's podium more often in the future. The World Cup debutante, born in 2008, has huge potential, which German national coach Ralf Rombach perceives with respect and joy. Motto: Competition stimulates business. The arrival of the Extra motivation for newbies in the competition.

There was still a German World Cup victory on Sunday - and quite an unexpected one. Marco Maier (SV Kirchzarten), actually more of a specialist for shorter distances, won the men's standing event in 26:52.9 minutes ahead of Serhii Romaniuk (Ukraine, 26:59.2 minutes) and Witold Skupien (Poland, 27:02.2 minutes). “I wanted to prove it to everyone today,” said the 24-year-old from Allgäu, not hiding the fact that he started with a certain amount of frustration.

Nico Messinger dupes the world champion

This had to do with the sprint race on Saturday, after which Maier had initially celebrated, but was then disqualified - because of an alleged hindrance to the Canadian Mark Arendz during an overtaking maneuver, as an indirect result of which the competitor fell. Maier himself spoke of an “unfortunate situation”, Ralf Rombach of a “fifty-fifty decision” and a “very strict interpretation of the rules” by the jury. “It's always close in sprints. If Mark doesn’t fall, no one will talk about a disability afterwards.”

The victory on Sunday: a satisfaction for Maier. “I tackled it quickly and was then able to maintain my pace well. It went back and forth with Serhii and Witold. Sometimes one of them was ahead for a few seconds, then I was again,” he reported. "It was great fun."

Nico Messinger (Ring of the Physically Disabled Freiburg) also had great fun, with Michael Huhn as guide (replacement for Robin Wunderle, who was unable to attend) coming third in the men with visual impairments over ten kilometers after a good race layout (behind Jake Adicoff, USA, and Oleksandr Kazik, Ukraine) and won the sprint on Saturday. He fended off the attacks of the current sprint world champion Adicoff with strong nerves and running strength and ultimately saved 0,54 seconds to the finish.

Anja Wicker takes on the US competition

When it comes to his physical condition, Messinger can take a good feeling with him from Toblach. The same applies to Anja Wicker. She finished on the podium four times in four races in the women's sitting category (3x bronze, 1x silver). The 32-year-old from MTV Stuttgart had to admit defeat to Oksana Masters and Kendall Gretsch over ten kilometers on Wednesday and Thursday and over five kilometers on Sunday, but she gave the duo from the USA a lot of heat and left Gretsch behind in the sprint on Saturday itself. “My running form is fine. Mixing up the podium feels good,” she said. Oksana Masters, who last competed at the Paralympics in Beijing in March 2022 due to an injury, celebrated a brilliant comeback and won four gold medals.

Wicker's teammates Andrea Eskau (USC Magdeburg) and Merle Menje (StTV Singen) also collected positive results. Eskau came fourth three times and fifth once, Menje impressed in the sprint with fourth place. “That was one of her best cross-country skiing performances so far,” praised Ralf Rombach.

In the men's standing, Alexander Ehler (SV Kirchzarten) achieved his best result in Toblach with seventh place on Sunday ahead of the Paralympic champions Benjamin Daviet (France) and Grygorii Vovchynskyi (Ukrainian). Steffen Lehmker (WSV Clausthal-Zellerfeld) had to give up due to a cold. Maximilian Weidner (WSV-DJK Rastbüchl) and Sebastian Marburger (SK Wunderthausen) didn't start at all. After finishing seventh and eighth in the ten-kilometer classic races on Wednesday and Thursday, Weidner sustained a capsule injury to his elbow in a training fall and left. Marburger is concentrating on the classic-style competitions. He came ninth in the individual on Wednesday and sixth in the mass start on Thursday.

Among the men with visual impairments, the German young man Lennart Volkert (PSV Munich, with guide Nils Kolb) came tenth in the sprint on Sunday, as he did the day before.

Schlagwörter: Other winter sports

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