265 athletes from 33 nations will participate in the 7th stage of the BMW-IBU World Cup from Thursday to Sunday. Today the first training took place. Tomorrow, Wednesday, the men will train from 11:30 to 13:30 and the women from 14:00 to 16:00. They are all fine-tuning their form in view of the six World Cup races that will be held in the South Tyrolean biathlon stronghold. World Cup races have been held in Antholz since 1978.
On Tuesday, there was a hint of competition in the Südtirol Arena for the first time when the world's best biathletes did their first training laps and warmed up in at the shooting range. This year, unfortunately, is also another Corona winter: No spectators, no party tend, no biathlon village, but strict security checks and tests everywhere so that infected people and their contacts can be isolated immediately if so necessary. So far, everything was gone well.
The South Tyrolean fans are looking forward to Dorothea Wierer and Lukas Hofer. Both started slowly into the season, but the 31-year-old from Rasen climbed the podium for the first time this season in the sprint in Ruhpolding (3rd) and now wants to be at the top on her home track in Antholz. A total of 12 "Azzurri" will start in Antholz. Besides Wierer, Lisa Vittozzi, Federica Sanfilippo from the Wipptal, Michela Carrara, Eleonora Fauner and Samuela Comola are in the women's line-up, while Hofer, local hero Dominik Windisch, Thomas Bormolini, Tommaso Giacomel, Didier Bionaz and Daniele Cappellari are in the men's line-up.
Fillon Maillet hot favourite in individual competition
The competition programme starts on Thursday at 2.15pm with the men's 20km individual race. Sturla Holm Laegreid has won the only the only individual competition of the season at the World Cup opening event in Östersund. The hot favourite, however, is the French World Cup total score leader Quentin Fillon Maillet who has been on the podium nine times this year. At the last stage in Ruhpolding, Fillon Maillet won gold in both the sprint as well as the pursuit competition. The Südtirol Arena suits the Frenchman: Here he won bronze in the individual competition last year. He also secured silver in the mass start and won gold in the relay.
For the women, the Antholz World Cup week starts on Friday, also with a individual competition. On the weekend, two races a day are scheduled (mass start and relay). Antholz is the last World Cup stop before the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing and thus, the last chance for many athletes to qualify for the competitions in China.
The World Cup programme in Antholz:
Thursday, 20 January 2022
14.15 hrs: 20 km individual competition men
Friday, 21 January 2022
14.15 hrs: 15 km individual competition women
Saturday, 22 January 2022
12.50 hrs: 15 km mass start men
15.00 hrs: 4 x 6 km relay women
Sunday, 23 January 2022
12.15 hrs: 4 x 7.5 km relay men
15.15 hrs: 12.5 km mass start women