14.02.2020 - The men’s sprint promises to be full of excitement
The Biathlon World Championships in Anterselva continue today with the men’s sprint. The field of favourites is large - very large.
Ahead of the showdown at the first individual men’s competition which starts at 2:45 pm, everything points to a duel between the two biathlon superstars Martin Fourcade (France) und Johannes Thingnes Bø (Norway). While the overall World Cup winner and defending champion Bø also won the first sprints of the season (Östersund, Hochfilzen), he did not start in Oberhof and Ruhpolding, leaving the field to Fourcade. The 31-year old from Villard de Lans comfortably won both German legs of the World Cup.
After failing in the mixed-relay - the French team had been one of the top favourites at this first World Championship race in Anterselva but finished with a disappointing seventh place - the two-times sprint World Championship Fourcade (2012, 2016) has plenty of fire in his belly for the ten kilometres long “short” distance with two shooting sessions (prone, standing). As the new mixed relay World Champion at the title fights in South Tyrol, Bø has already had cause for celebrations when thousands of jubilant fans from all over the world celebrated him on the medal plaza in Anterselva di Mezzo.
Is a secret favourite ready for the big win?
Not only the two biathlon superstars are tipped to win the day. The Russian Alexander Loginov won Silver at the last title fights in Östersund. In the current season, he was third on the podium in Hochfilzen; during the winter 19/20 he was never lower placed than 11th. Quentin Fillon Maillet achieved two podium places this winter. The Frenchman also won the Bronze Medal at the World Championships in Sweden 11 months ago. His compatriot Simon Desthieux is second in the sprint classification 27 points behind leader Fourcade and is also a possible winner. Just like Tarjei Bø, the older brother of Johannes Thingnes Bø, who has already stood on the podium twice this season.
Germany's biggest medal hopes rest on Johannes Kühn, who finished third in Oberhof and seventh in the sprint classification, and on Benedikt Doll, who won in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand and beamed from the podium in third place at the “dress rehearsal” for the World Championships in Ruhpolding. And the hosts? Lukas Hofer and Dominik Windisch achieved two top-ten results this winter, but this is as far as it goes. Maybe the two Italians will be energized by their World Championship Silver in the mixed-relay and rise above themselves before their home crowd in the Südtirol Arena.