Hartweg felt so out of order before the Oslo-Holmenkollen week commenced that he skipped skiing training before the Sprint, something he never does.
“I am an athlete who needs a lot and regular skiing training to feel good about my shape. But my body screamed for rest. And I listened,” he explained.
Giacomel finished 14th, with one miss and 9th fastest skiing time. Hartweg shot 10/10 but finished only 32nd with a subpar 53rd skiing time, a good minute slower than the Italian.
“The batteries are empty. I am dead.” Hartweg’s Instagram post after the Sprint was blunt. With two competitions to go, Giacomel’s lead increased to 49 points.
With the weather conditions deteriorating, Hartweg found his mojo in the Pursuit. He shot 20/20 and was the fastest shooter. Almost matching Giacomel’s 10th-fastest skiing time, he clocked the best Pursuit time and climbed from 32nd to 6th place. Still, Giacomel looked firmly in control: he shot 18/20 and finished 11th. Before the Mass start, he had 39 points edge over Hartweg.
Enough, surely, to capture the U25 title.
Hartweg transferred his Pursuit performance to the Mass start: he shot 20/20 and finished second behind the unmatchable JT Boe. Giacomel had a bad day on the shooting range, with 15/20 accuracy. Hartweg scored 75 points, and Giacomel 20, succumbing to the U25 Total Score title to the Swiss athlete with a margin of 16 points.
In Oslo, Giacomel skied on average 65 seconds slower than the fastest skier of the day, five seconds below his 60 seconds season's average. Hartweg skied on average 73 seconds slower behind the fastest skier of the day, 21 seconds faster than his 94 seconds season's average. Hartweg shot with 100% accuracy or almost 6% above his season's average of 93.9%. Giacomel shot with 90% accuracy in the Sprint and Pursuit; more than 8% higher than his season's average of 81.9%. But in the Mass start, his accuracy dropped to 75%. Five penalty loops proved too costly for the the Italian.
When the curtain fell over the 2022/2023 season, Hartweg had 608 points to Giacomel’s 592. Trimester-by-trimester analysis shows that Hartweg scored 218 points in Trimester 1, or 66 points more than Giacomel’s 152. The Italian collected 216 points in Trimester 2, 41 more than the Swiss. Hartweg had 393 after the Antholz-Anterselva week and Giacomel 368. In Trimester 3, Giacomel won 224 points, nine over Hartweg’s 215.
But Hartweg saved his fines performance for the end: he shot and skied above his season's average in Oslo, rising to the occasion just like the great champions. He added 119 World Cup points to his season's account in Oslo vs Giacomel's 77.
Photo: IBU Photopool