e Biathlon

Full speed ahead: Dorothea Wierer wants to attack at the home World Cup. © APA / GEORG HOCHMUTH

Dorothea Wierer's comeback and the many question marks

Dorothea Wierer hasn't competed in a race for 33 days, but now she wants to go back to the Biathlon World Cup - at home in Antholz, of all places. But what does Italy's head coach Alex Inderst say about their comeback? SportNews asked.

Alexander Foppa

With a 32nd place in the sprint from Lenzerheide, Dorothea Wierer took her self-imposed break. Over the past few weeks and months she has repeatedly been thrown off track by colds and illnesses. A 14th place in the pursuit in Östersund is the two-time overall World Cup winner's best result to date. In short, it hasn't been Dorothea Wierer's winter yet.

Mr. Inderst, how is Wierer doing now?

Alexander Inderst: “Doro is in a good mood. She has been training properly over the last few days and has steadily built up her form. However, it is also clear that she first had to learn how to deal with such a situation. She is the type of person who always gives full throttle. It’s not for nothing that she has hardly missed a race in her career so far, let alone missed more than a month in the World Cup.”

Will she be competitive straight away in Antholz?

“A Dorothea Wierer is usually always competitive. It remains to be seen to what extent she can compete at the front. As I said, she has trained really well over the last few days and prepared precisely for this event. However, of course she doesn't have the races to know where she stands in comparison to the others. A forecast is therefore not possible.”

Alexander Inderst, head coach of Italy's biathletes. © os

In addition to Wierer, debutant Sara Scattolo is joining the World Cup squad, but Hannah Auchentaller is missing. How did the decision come about?

“Scattolo made it to the podium in the IBU Cup and has recently shown continuous improvement in performance. She is an up and coming talent who deserves this opportunity. Hannah (Auchentaller, editor's note), on the other hand, is in a bit of a slump. She was slowed down by an illness and then no longer really connected. In such a situation there is little point in dragging yourself through the World Cup. It's better for her this way, she has more opportunities to play in the IBU Cup and can then come back stronger. Hannah knows that and accepted the decision, even if she would have liked to be at the start at home in Antholz.”

Speaking of Antholz: How difficult is it to adapt to Europe's highest World Cup arena?

“You’re talking about it, it’s a huge topic. Maybe we have a small advantage over other nations because we train a lot in Antholz. But our athletes also recently competed in Oberhof and Ruhpolding at under 800 meters above sea level, now they're going up to around 1600 meters. You have to 'acclimatize' yourself first. In addition, the wind conditions at the shooting range are difficult to calculate here. But that’s what Antholz is all about! It will be great, exciting competitions.”
“Giacomel and Vittozzi have shown that they are candidates for victory. We hope that they will be at the forefront.” Alexander Inderst

What are your goals going into the home World Cup?

“Tommaso Giacomel and Lisa Vittozzi showed in Ruhpolding that they are candidates for victory. We hope that they will be at the forefront. Lukas Hofer made a mistake in the sprint recently, but before that he delivered strong races. He knows Antholz like no one else, so he is a force to be reckoned with. Didier Bionaz and Patrick Braunhofer's form curve is pointing upwards, as is Rebecca Passler's. Although she had to sit out in Ruhpolding, she was back on the attack again in Antholz. If she shoots without mistakes, she can also move far forward in the individual race.”

Italy's squad

Men: Patrick Braunhofer (Ridnaun), Lukas Hofer (Montal), Didier Bionaz, Elia Zeni, Tommaso Giacomel
Women: Dorothea Wierer (Rasen), Rebecca Passler (Antholz), Lisa Vittozzi, Samuela Comola, Sara Scattolo

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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