“I always aim to shoot 20-out-of-20”
Doll admitted that his shooting and the win were something to savor in a career that dates back to the 2008 IBU YJWCH. “It is really special because normally I am not such a good shooter. I always aim to shoot 20-out-of-20 and today I could reach it. Then to win this race, you could say I really used this chance when the Boe Brothers are not here. I am really happy.”
Season “highlight race”
Even though he missed a medal at the home BMW IBU World Championships in Oberhof, the win today made up for that letdown. “The World champs were a little bit disappointing. To make one highlight race each season is always important for me. To have one World Cup victory again; I am really proud.”
Christiansen’s small crystal globe “really important”
Norway’s Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, with one penalty finished third, 1:11.5 back. Christiansen’s third place combined with earlier second and seventh places in Ruhpolding and Kontiolahti, respectively secured the World Cup Individual Score discipline globe for the 30-year-old Norwegian. “I thought about this globe for a little while…It is amazing, indescribable. I said before the season that I wanted to fight for the big Crystal Globe but Johannes showed us pretty early that it would not be possible for us humans to do so.. so having this small globe is really important for me.”
Doll’s teammates, Philipp Nawrath and Roman Rees finished fourth and fifth, with one and two penalties, 1:51.4 and 2:02.1 back, respectively. France’s Eric Perrot, with one penalty finished in a career-best sixth place, 2:07.8 back.
The late afternoon men’s start had similar conditions to the women, cold, light winds but the sun fading on the horizon, casting a shadow over the shooting range. Doll and Dale were the first of the main contenders to clean the first prone stage. Christiansen in a position to win the Individual Score globe, did the same a half dozen seconds faster than the earlier pair.
Doll easily cleaned the first standing stage. Christiansen skied a fast loop into the range, but missed his third shot, going out 49 seconds behind the German. Rees after a clean first prone moved into third and contention when he closed all the standing targets, putting him 27 seconds back.
Doll knew before he started that his shooting was going well. “I had really good feeling on the shooting range in the training days before today. There was no wind today so nothing to be worried about so I just shot good. My heart rate was really low so it was easy to shoot. Hitting 20-out-of 20 is more important. It was always a goal I tried to hit for many years.”
Rees continued his sparklingly perfect day with a clean second prone stage, but Doll was even better, matching and getting away 40 seconds faster than his teammate. Christiansen held on to his podium and globe hopes, dropping all of his second set of prone targets, but still trailing by 49 seconds.
After Rees missed his first shot of the day, Doll shot like never before, slowly and controlled in the last standing, closing all five targets, ensuring the win. Christiansen also cleaned and left second, 48 seconds up on Rees. Giacomel after falling out of the top 10 with a first-standing penalty, continued his climb back up the standings by cleaning the final stage and getting away eight seconds faster than the Norwegian.
Giacomel "My Biggest weakness...now second place"
The 22-year-old Italian pushed hard in the last loop, sprinting down the finish straightaway and punching the sky, crossing 2.4 seconds faster than Christiansen, dropping the Norwegian to third place, and setting the podium. Giacomel’s second place was a matter of overcoming what he called his biggest weakness. “I felt quite good on the skis as I did last week in Nove Mesto. I knew the race is about covering the targets, so I just took my time…The individual race has always been my biggest weakness and now I stand here with second place, so that is just unbelievable!”
Christiansen, like Doll shot his last five bullets with the utmost of care, holding the last one for what seemed like an eternity before finally closing it, knowing the importance of that last shot. “I think you could see in my last shooting today that I knew what was going on…I knew that the last shot could be the difference between a crystal globe and not. I am really happy to make it today when it counted the most, because I have missed some last shots this year. I know the feeling to not make it. This was a lot better.”
He added that conquering the individual was a huge accomplishment. “These tracks, the 4K loop is the toughest in the (World Cup) circus. To show that I can fight in the individual which is normally my weakest. I am explosive, a big guy so I like the sprint, the man-to-man fights. I hate this long trip in the woods like the individual, so to prove that I can be one of the best is an amazing feeling.”
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Per Danielsson