Thereby, the Norwegian duel between super star Johann Thingnes Bø and Sturla Holm Laegreid who are neck and neck in the total score as well as the discipline score will continue.
This season’s high rider, world cup debutant Sturla Holm Laegreid has won the season-opening 20km individual competition in Kontiolahti with its four shooting bouts (prone, standing, prone, standing) in front of his fellow Norwegian Johannes Thingnes Bø and Erik Lesser form Germany. Taking this season’s results as a base line, the fight for the stage victory will involve the biathletes from Norway. For the first four positions – Bø and Laegreid are followed by Tarjei Bø and Johannes Dale - in the world cup are solely taken by biathletes from the northern kingdom.
However, Johann Thingnes Bø is the favorite once again. The world cup total score winner of the past two seasons has taken the podium’s top spot three times already, along with two second places and four times third. The 27-year-old Norwegian who will start the Antholz individual competition with bib number 31 at 13.30h is leading the total score with 618 points this season as well. Bø’s toughest competitor for the large crystal ball, as well as, the discipline score is Sturla Holm Laegreid who will be wearing the red bib with number 44, starting at 1337h. Bø’s older brother Tarjei who is in third place in the total score ranking will start the battle against the clock with bib number 24 at 13.27h.
South Tyrol’s biathlon fans will have a keen eye on Lukas Hofer when he is taking on his home world cup. The 31-year-old from Montal is on very stable trajectory this year and has already scored four top-ten spots – all of them during the two world cup weeks in Oberhof. He has finished in fourth place in sprint and mass start and scored a fifth place in the pursuit competition and a sixth place in another sprint competition. Hofer will start with bib number 42. The other “Azzurri” who will take on their home world cup in Antholz are Thomas Bormolini (3), second local hero Dominik Windisch (36), Tommaso Giacomel (57) and Didier Bionaz (85).
The hopes of the German fans rest with, among others, the recently strong performing Arnd Peiffer (bib number 37) and Erik Lesser (45). Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet from France, Sebastian Samuelsson from Sweden and Jakov Fak from Slovenia are also expected to fight for a spot on the podium. A total of 97 biathletes will take on the race.