German biathlon relay surprises in Antholz without Herrmann-Wick

Nfter the exhilarating feeling of her tenth World Cup victory, Denise Herrmann-Wick gave up the relay dress rehearsal and focused fully on the home World Championships in Oberhof. “It was a long-term plan that I would not run the last race in Antholz. I’ll do another training block at altitude so that I can be as well prepared as possible for the start of the World Cup,” said the 34-year-old.

With her husband Thomas Wick, the Saxon traveled to the Alpe di Siusi in the Dolomites before the end of the Biathlon World Cup in South Tyrol. Recovery and the next few kilometers at altitude should lay the further foundation for the World Championships on the Rennsteig, in which the former world champion will go as Germany’s greatest hope for a medal, at the latest after her pursuit triumph on Saturday in Italy. “Everything is alright. It will definitely be a great World Cup and we are extremely motivated as a team,” said Herrmann-Wick.

Strong pointer towards World Cup

Even without the German number one, Vanessa Voigt, Sophia Schneider, Janina Hettich-Walz and Hanna Kebinger surprisingly finished third in the premiere formation on Sunday when France won and convinced. “We don’t have to hide. We showed that the four of us can also make it onto the podium. Of course, that makes us overjoyed,” said Schneider. It was already the third podium finish in the fourth relay race – a strong pointer towards the World Championship.

With a view to the peak of the season in Thuringia, the “alpha and omega” is to stay healthy now. You have to find a good balance between relaxation and exertion,” explained the individual Olympic champion. After a week it goes home to Ruhpolding, do the laundry and complete hard units again, as Herrmann-Wick explained.

With that, the German women go into preparation for the World Cup with a total of two wins and one third place – all thanks to Herrmann-Wick – and three relay podiums. At least with Herrmann-Wick, the form structure seems to be working perfectly. Because with the best running time and good shooting, the 34-year-old sent a challenge to the competition in the last hunt before the World Championships (February 8th to 19th). In any case, she has shown her class over and over again in the last few weeks. “Going towards Oberhof with a good flow is certainly not a hindrance,” said the former world champion.

Of course, she is happy to take the victory in the pursuit in the 2020 World Cup arena with her into the break. “But at the World Cup it starts again from scratch. It’s a new competition, you have to find your own tunnel, that’s the goal and the challenge,” said Herrmann-Wick. “And we face it as a team.”

Two and a half weeks before the home races at the Rennsteig, only Herrmann-Wick is a serious contender for a medal. Voigt, Schneider, Hettich-Walz, Anna Weidel and Franziska Preuß, who also qualified, can attack the top 10, but everything has to fit together. The last hit wicker started in Antholz Not. Hanna Kebinger also has a chance of getting a ticket to the World Cup. Although she only fulfilled half of the norm, she left a very strong impression as the final runner in the season and is traveling to the last training camp before the season highlight.

Especially the constitution of Franziska Preuss worries. After her illness of several weeks, the former relay world champion followed in Antholz (places 34 and 38) and was not placed in the relay. It was their first competition of the new year. She was also absent for several weeks during the summer preparation, she was missing more than 70 hours of training and she can’t make up for it, as she said. It remains to be seen whether their condition will improve before the start of the World Cup.

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