Stroemsheim with a maiden World Cup victory

Oberhof Men's 12.5km Pursuit was another show of strength of the Norwegian team, which won the top five places. Endre Stroemsheim clinched his inaugural victory at the World Cup level, while Sturla Laegreid claimed second place after a thrilling battle on the final lap. Johannes Dale-Skjevdal rounded off the podium, impressively ascending from thirteenth to third position.

The Norwegians surged to the top three positions after the initial shooting as Benedikt Doll, who had led after the sprint, missed three shots. By the halfway point, Endre Stroemsheim and Johannes Boe had already established a lead with a 20-second advantage over Sturla Laegreid. The World Cup leader faced a penalty round after the third shooting, providing a window of opportunity for Stroemsheim's first-ever win. Although two missed shots during the last shooting briefly jeopardized his success, Johannes Boe failed to capitalize on the occasion, tallying three misses himself. In an exhilarating pursuit, Sturla Laegreid fiercely chased Stroemsheim after the final shooting, briefly seizing the lead. However, in the latter part of the last lap, Stroemsheim denied him any chance, ultimately adding 90 points to the overall standings.

"It was awesome"

With 13 wins, Stroemsheim is the best athlete in the history of the IBU Cup. He waited long for his chance in the World Cup competition, but the patience paid off. After a few flower ceremony appearances, finally, he was able to finish first. The significance of this moment was heightened by the extraordinary atmosphere pervading the stadium and the enthusiastic presence of numerous fans lining the track.

"The crowd does everything so much better. I was so psyched on the last loop; it was a pure joy. I've been working for this for so many years, and now that I finally made it, it's like I'm really grateful. There are so few of us who get to win."

The final success was seriously threatened at the very end when the Norwegian missed twice during the last visit to the shooting range.

"It was a bad shooting. I felt confident, and I was going to shoot fast. I hit the first target, but then I lost a bit of focus on the second and third shots. I thought to myself: don’t mess it up. I was lucky other people also made mistakes; it was enough today."

Following the winner, an impressive procession of four of his compatriots crossed the finish line. Sturla Laegreid maintained his position after the sprint and finished second for the third time in the season. Johannes Dale-Skjevdal showcased a stellar performance, with only a single miss propelling him onto the podium from the position just outside the top 10. Hot on the heels of the podium finishers were Tarjei Boe, noteworthy for recording the best running time, and Johannes Boe. Fabien Claude was the only non-Norwegian attending the flower ceremony. Frenchman advanced to the 6th spot from 28th place after a sprint.


Photos: IBU/Svoboda, Nordic Focus

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