The intensity of the competition escalated significantly after the third shooting, narrowing down the contenders to just three biathletes leading the pack. Quentin Fillon Maillet, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, and Vebjoern Soerum maintained a commanding lead of approximately twenty seconds ahead of the trailing competitors. Christiansen showcased exceptional skiing power, creating a substantial gap between himself and his two rivals as they approached the final shooting stage.
"I went on a tough fourth loop because I heard that both Tarjei Boe and Johannes Dale-Skjevdal were chasing close behind. They are really fast on the last lap, so I thought it would be smart to have some safety. "
The Norwegian executed flawless shots, securing his second triumph this season with a masterful display of skills on the course. Despite missing some races in Oberhof, Christiansen will arrive in Nove Mesto for the World Championships as number 4 on the World Cup Total Score.
"I managed to stay calm, and now I know at least one happy coach today. I have said before that perfect biathlon races do exist, and it could be one of them. Winning at the high altitude is amazing because skiing here is challenging."
In the final lap, Christiansen maintained composure as he confidently crossed the finish line, securing the coveted first place. All eyes were on the captivating duel for the podium's remaining positions. Quentin Fillon Maillet, initially leading the charge as the second contender, struggled to match the robust pace set by the Norwegians, ultimately falling behind and finishing only fourth. Once more, Johannes Dale-Skjevdal showcased his offensive attitude, propelling himself from fourth to second place in the final three kilometers of the race. Following closely behind was Vebjoern Soerum, making his inaugural appearance in the World Cup for January and securing a commendable third-place finish.
The Antholz Men's 15km Mass Start was the final race before the World Championships. Throughout the 2023/24 season's two trimesters, Johannes Thingnes Boe, who finished fifth in today's race, sustained his lead atop the overall standings with an impressive 92-point advantage. Johannes Dale-Skjevdal claimed the second position, securing a six-point lead over Tarjei Boe.
Photos: IBU/Thibaut, Nordic Focus