Wierer and J. T. Boe prevail in Wiesbaden heat
Dorothea Wierer and Johannes Thingnes Boe prevailed at Wiesbaden’s City-Biathlon, with both cruising the last loop for comfortable wins on a hot 29 °C afternoon. Wierer took control after the first standing stage, running away to a 30:46.8 win over defending champion Julia Simon. Like Wierer, Johannes took control by cleaning the last two standing stages, easily taking the men’s title in 32:01.5.
Wierer, “tough in this heat”
Wierer, who grabbed a drink several times out on the tracks admitted the heat was a factor even on the shooting range. “It was really tough in this heat. We’re not really used to competing at our very best with temperatures like today. And the mat reflects the heat, so that makes it even hotter.”
Despite the heat, she appreciated the opportunity to compete against someone other than her teammates. “Nonetheless, this was a really good training, it was good to have an international competition. It brings a completely different tension compared to when you compete among each other in the team.”
The Italian used seven spare rounds in her win over the inner-city course. Simon, with six spares finished 35.6 seconds back, with Marketa Davidova, third, with nine spares, 1:14.9 back.
Doro and Julia
The battle among the eight elite women was short-lived. Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold initially led out of the start, but quickly fell back. struggling all afternoon on the shooting range. Everyone seemed to have trouble in the first prone stage even though the wind flags were completely flat. Still, Wierer got away with a small lead after using spare rounds, with Monika Hojnisz-Starega and Simon, 6.3 and 9.7 seconds back. Simon came back in the second prone to grab a two-second lead over the Italian. From this point, it was a two-woman competition. The duo came to the first standing, shooting side-by-side, but Wierer closed her five targets in six shots to grab a seven-second advantage. From that point, Wierer was on fire. The next five standing shots went down in quick succession; she was gone before her French rival fired one shot, pushing the lead to 27 seconds. The Italian made it a bit interesting in the last standing, with three quick shots, a miss, followed by a reset and another miss before the last target closed. Simon went five-for-five and was just eight seconds back.
The last loop was all Doro. Simon faded in the heat, never challenging and the Italian cruised over the finish line hands held high.
Second Place Said Karimulla Khalili
Johannes used six spare rounds to claim the win, while second in the men’s field went to the 22-year-old Khalili on the start for his first big international rollerski competition. Khalili bettered everyone on the shooting range using just five spares, 16.4 seconds back. Lukas Hofer finished third, with nine spare rounds, 22.7 seconds back.
Hofer Seeing Double
Hofer commented to the website Fondo Italia about his day. "It was a wonderful experience to live in this moment, because until today we had never competed against international opponents (this summer). It was a good test to understand where we are. I had some more difficulties in the first prone stage, because I had a strong pulse; I saw ten targets and not five! Then, I managed a good performance in standing (that sealed his podium spot).”
Tarjei and Johannes
Tarjei and Johannes controlled the pace from the start. Like the women, everyone needed spares in the first prone stage, but Tarjei got away in the top spot, with Dmytro Pidruchnyi and Erik Lesser less than three seconds back. Halfway through the next loop, Tarjei was 6 seconds up on the next three that included his brother. The second prone was all Pidruchnyi who went five-for five, assuming the lead as the Norwegians struggled with spare rounds. Johannes came out of the third prone with a .8 second lead, over Pidruchnyi and Roman Rees. The Norwegian used his ski speed to stretch the lead coming into the first standing stage. The Ukrainian again shot his way into the lead with a single spare round, with Johannes after using multiple spares 4.2 seconds back and Tarjei on his shoulder.
Clean Stages and Crashes
The brothers quickly passed Pidruchnyi; Tarjei led into the second standing. The leader shot three fast shots but struggled to close his last target. Johannes went five-for-five to take control. Johannes sealed the win with a final perfect standing stage. Tarjei fell after losing a rollerski just before the last standing, falling back to third, but recovered with an equally perfect stage to leave second. 23. 5 seconds back, with Khalili in third. However, the elder Boe brother again had a huge crash several hundred meters before the finish, knocking him out of the competition. He walked to the finish line, with cuts and scrapes on his arms, legs and face, yet was able to smile and comment to the crowd.
The last loop was a pure victory celebration for the three-time IBU World Cup Total Score winner, with time at one point to stop, look back and turn around with a huge smile before heading to the finish.
With another summer “test” over, these sixteen elite competitors head back to full training as they head to the Olympic season. After a strong performance today, Wierer chimed in on her goals (probably not that different from Johannes) that include Beijing 2022. “I want to be really consistent in the Total Score and deliver results across the entire season. The Olympics are really unique and you probably also need a little bit of luck. Everybody wants a medal.”
Photos: IBU/Harald Deubert