e Biathlon

Italy's great hope for men: Tommaso Giacomel. © Nordic Focus

Antholz: The biathlon madness begins

Everything is set for the largest winter sports event in Italy: On Thursday afternoon, the Biathlon World Cup in Antholz opens at 14.20:XNUMX p.m. with the shortened men's individual race. A total of six competitions will be held in the Südtirol Arena until Sunday.

When the best biathletes in the world tackle the 15-kilometer distance with four shooting tests on Thursday, all eyes in the South Tyrol Arena will be on the Norwegian ski hunters. No wonder, because six Scandinavians are currently leading the overall ranking among men. At the top is once again Johannes Thingnes Bø, who leads the rankings with 671 points ahead of his brother Tarjei Bø (593) and Johannes Dale-Skjevdal (589). Last year Bø was practically unbeatable, this year the 30-year-old has “only” six World Cup victories and four podium finishes to his name. Bø also feels right at home in Antholz, as he won all three races here 12 months ago (sprint, pursuit, relay).

This year's World Cup program in Antholz is experiencing a European premiere in the World Cup with the Short Individual on the first two days. This competition has only taken place once before, in Canmore in 2019. It is a shortened individual competition, the running distances are reduced to 15 km for men and 12,5 km for women and instead of a penalty minute, only a penalty time of 45 seconds is charged for a shooting error.

Johannes Thingnes Bø is no longer considered unbeatable this year.

The closest group of favorites among the men tomorrow in the Antholz individual competition also includes others than the Bø brothers and Dale-Skevdal. Their teammates Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, Endre Strømsheim and Sturla Holm Laegreid should not be underestimated in the Südtirol Arena. The German biathlon aces could also achieve a top result: Benedikt Doll is in bomb shape this year, just like Philipp Nawrath. The two Swedes Martin Ponsiluoma and Sebastian Samuelsson will certainly also impress.

Italy's great hope

From an Italian perspective, one can be excited about Tommaso Giacomel. The 23-year-old “Azzurro”, who is celebrating his 99th individual World Cup start, ran to a fantastic second place in the sprint from Ruhpolding. Giacomel also made it onto the podium twice this year in the relay (3rd place each). There is also the bronze medal with the mixed relay in Östersund. Of course, South Tyrolean fans can look forward to the appearances of Lukas Hofer from Montal and Patrick Braunhofer from Ridnaun. Two other Italians, Didier Bionaz and Elia Zeni, will also be competing in Antholz.

Benedikt Doll in the forests of Antholz. © Nordic Focus

On Friday the competition program in Antholz continues with the women's individual competition (12,5 km). The starting signal here has been brought forward to 13.40 p.m. Biathlon fans can look forward to double the sporting pleasure this weekend. Saturday is all about the relay competitions. The start time for the single mixed was set at 12:55 p.m. and that of the mixed relay at 14:45 p.m. The World Cup week in the South Tyrol Arena ends on Sunday with the mass starts. At 12:30 p.m. the biathletes set off on the 15 km long loop, while the starting signal for the women (14.45 km) goes off at 12,5:XNUMX p.m.

The World Cup program in Antholz

Thursday: Individual competition (15 km) men (14.20 p.m.)
Friday: Individual competition (12,5 km) women (13.40 p.m.)
Saturday: Single mixed relay (12.55 p.m.) and mixed relay (14.45 p.m.)
Sunday: Mass start men (12.30 p.m.) and mass start women (14.45 p.m.)

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