JT admitted the two-penalty first standing stage made the victory a bigger challenge than it should have been. “It was a great fight in the end. First standing was not so good and suddenly there was a fight in the end. It could have gone either way, but I am happy to have finished first.”
“I learned a lot”
Regarding the challenging tracks and altitude, he added, “It was a little bit special. The first loop behind Benni was quite good. The second loop was quite fast and them my third loop was not as fast again. You push a little bit over the limit, you are not faster, only more tired. So, you try to find the right balance. This is why we are here, preparing for next year (2025 BMW IBU World Championships). I learned a lot during the day.”
Stroemsheim, with two penalties finished second after a brilliant last loop, 24.7 seconds back for his first-ever individual BMW IBU World Cup podium. That last loop followed a struggle on the mat after dropping his magazine in the last standing stage. Laegreid with one penalty finished third, 29.1 seconds back.
Brilliant sunshine, accompanied by -1C and again almost windless conditions with huge crowds on hand highlighted pursuit day. Sprint winner Benedikt Doll led into the first prone, missing a shot. JT cleaned, going out with a 17-second lead over the German and Laegreid also clean in third, with Johannes Kuehn two steps back. With the lead in hand, JT was free to run, pushing his lead to 33 seconds by the second prone where he missed a shot. Laegreid and Kuehn cleaned, leaving second and third, 23 seconds out.
JT pushed the pace hard into the first standing, missing his first two shots; his big lead killed off by the demanding tracks and altitude. Laegreid cleaned easily, leaving with a 3.9 second margin. Stroemsheim was also perfect, moving to third, 13 seconds back. JT let Laegreid do all the work into the last standing stage; the tactic worked. Laegreid missed a shot, while his teammate cleaned, leaving unchallenged. Laegreid followed 19.9 seconds back with Stroemsheim, after taking off both skis to pick up a dropped magazine, third 34 seconds back.
JT comfortably cruised to his second consecutive pursuit win, taking control of the Yellow Bib for the first time this season. Laegreid and Stroemsheim battled behind him. Mid-way through the last loop, Stroemsheim was alongside with his teammate, then flew past Laegreid, claiming second place.
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni