“Fun to win here”
Doll admitted his first-ever win and podium in Oberhof, “feels really, really good. Of course, the weather could be a little bit better. The fans are really big support; they make it a lot of fun to win here.”
“Unexpected to be in the lead”
Although he felt good, Doll was surprised to find himself in the lead after the standing stage, crediting his win to “Really good skis. I felt on the first loop, I can go for the best skiing time. Good, fast shooting in the end (helped). It was a little bit unexpected to be in the lead after the second shooting. I thought JT Boe was in front of me so when I got the first intermediate (split time) I was really surprised to be 20 seconds in front.”
Norway’s Sturla Holm Laegreid after a standing penalty used a powerful last loop to finish second,1.8 seconds back. His teammate Endre Stroemsheim finished third, also with one penalty, 5.4 seconds back for his second career podium appearance.
Yellow Bib Johannes Thingnes Boe, with a penalty in each stage finished fourth, 19.6 seconds back. Slovenia’s Jakov Fak and Doll’s teammate Johannes Kuehn both shot clean, finishing in a tie for fifth place, 29.8 seconds back, season best results for both men.
After a day’s delay because of rain and wind, the first competition of 2024 kicked off under +2C, cloudy, the typical Oberhof fog and slow soft conditions on the tracks. JT opened 2024 with a single penalty in prone getting away with the fastest initial time. Doll’s clean stage set the bar, giving him a 16-second advantage. Stroemsheim cleaned, moving into second position as did Laegreid in fourth, 4.7 seconds slower than Doll.
The Yellow Bib skied a fast loop into standing, missing his first shot, but retained a slim lead. Doll likewise missed a shot, but took a commanding 20-second lead into the last loop. Despite a missed shot, Stroemsheim moved into second a mere 6.7 seconds behind Doll. Laegreid also missed one shot, going into third position, just behind his teammate.
Doll had a solid last loop, delighting the crowd as he crossed the line with the fastest time of the day. Laegreid and Stroemsheim fighting for the podium battled the tough conditions, with Laegreid just missing the victory after a furious last loop, pushing his teammate into third place.
Photos: IBU/Svoboda, Manzoni