Sturla Holm Laegreid, brothers Tarjei and Johannes Thingnes Bø, as well as Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen easily outpaced France and Germany by nearly a minute, while local hero Patrick Braunhofer from Italy finished in 5th place along with his team.
Strictly speaking, it was evident even before the final race at the Südtirol Arena that there was no way past Norway in the relay. The Scandinavians lived up to their high expectations and set the tone right from the start: First-leg skier Laegreid, the Bø brothers and anchor-leg leg skier Christiansen delivered strong performances and only had six reloads as a team. For Norway, it is the fourth gold in four relay races after victories in Kontiolahti, Hochfilzen and Ruhpolding.
On skis, very few nations can match Bø and co. Accordingly, the gap at the finish was wide to France, who were 59 seconds behind. Although these two teams largely competed in a league of their own, Germany nevertheless filled out the podium, finishing some 2 min. 14 secs. behind Norway. Fourth place went to the team from Sweden.
Italy in 5th place
The Italian hosts were quite solid. Patrick Braunhofer from Ridnaun came in 14th, but Tommaso Giacomel handed over to his teammate in fourth place, as did Didier Bionaz. Elia Zeni, the anchor-leg skier, was also strong on his skis and at the shooting stage. In the end, he finished in a respectable fifth place, 2 min. 47 secs. behind.
The men's relay event officially brought the 2023 Antholz World Cup stage to an end, which concluded without a hitch after a two-year break due to the pandemic. Around 50,000 spectators attended the four-day competition. The biathlon teams will now enjoy a break of slightly more than two weeks before the World Championships kick off in Oberhof on 8 February.
Biathlon World Cup Antholz
Men’s 4x7.5 km relay
1. Norway (Sturla Holm Laegreid, Tarjei Boe, Johannes Thingnes Boe, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen) 1:11:50 (0+6)
2. France (Antonin Guiginnat, Fabien Claude, Emilien Jacquelin, Quentin Fillon Maillet) +59.0 (0+6)
3. Germany (David Zobel, Johannes Kuehn, Benedikt Doll, Roman Rees) +2:17.5 (1+11)
4. Sweden (Jesper Nelin, Peppe Femling, Martin Ponsiluoma, Sebastian Samuelsson) +2:38.7 (1+13)
5. Italy (Patrick Braunhofer, Tommaso Giacomel, Didier Bionaz, Elia Zeni) +2:47.3 (0+7)
6. Czech Republic (Michal Krcmar, Tomas Mikyska, Adam Vaclavik, Jakub Stvrtecky) +2:51.5 (0+10)
7. Switzerland (Sebastian Stalder, Serafin Wiestner, Niklas Hartweg, Jeremy Finello) +2:55.7 (1+13)
8. Ukraine (Artem Pryma, Denys Nasyko, Bogdan Tsymbal, Anton Dudchenko) +3:52.8 (0+8)
9. Finland (Tuomas Harjula, Jaakko Ranta, Tero Seppala, Olli Hiidensalo) +4:03.1 (3+8)
10. Slovenia (Alex Cisar, Miha Dovzan, Rok Trsan, Anton Vidmar) +4:27.9 (1+11)