Still undefeated - Norway wins men's relay in Oberhof

The fantastic performance of the Norway team in the sprint and pursuit was again reflected in the results of the relay race. Endre Stroemsheim, Sturla Holm Laegreid, Tarjei Boe, and Johannes Thingnes Boe did not give their opponents any chance and won the Oberhof Men’s 4 X 7.5 km Relay. Counting only World Cup starts, this is Norway's tenth win in a row. The Germans clinched the second position, while the Italian team celebrated a noteworthy return to the cup podium after a three-year hiatus by claiming the third spot.

In the initial stages, both the French and, subsequently, the Germans attempted to match the pace set by the dominant Norwegians in the relay race. The most critical moment of the race was the sixth shooting. Tarjei Boe showcased impeccable marksmanship, shooting flawlessly, while Phillip Nawrath had to run one penalty round after a couple of misses. Norway had already established a commanding one-minute lead over their closest competitors by the final exchange. Johannes Thingnes Boe, enjoying a comfortable position, skillfully fired without requiring additional bullets, further widening the gap. The Norwegians continue their impressive streak, with their last relay defeat in the World Cup in Ruhpolding dating back to January 2022.

"I am so proud of all the people coming here"

Despite challenging conditions marked by fog and wind gusts, Johannes Thingnes Boe chose to redirect attention away from the inclement weather. Instead of dwelling on the adversities, he highlighted the fantastic atmosphere prevailing in the stadium and along the track.

"In Oberhof before the race you always think about the weather, but when the competition starts, you only feel the energy of the people watching and cheering for us. It’s been three days with very good competition."

"For me, today, it was only to focus on breathing and being calm in the shooting range. I was able to shoot clean despite the strong wind, so I am proud of myself. It was a good team performance."

Behind the back of Norwegians, there was an exciting fight for the remaining two places on the podium. The German relay team secured second place, finishing over two minutes behind the leaders. After a shoot-off in the final standings, the Italians manoeuvred their way to the third position, displacing Sweden. Tommaso Giacomel's exceptional performance solidified his team's success, marking their return to the podium after a break since January 2021. The Swiss national team's remarkable fifth-place finish is noteworthy, matching their best historical achievement. On the flip side, French fans might harbor dissatisfaction as their team, initially co-leading the pack until the halfway point, faltered when Emilien Jacquelin missed some shots and incurred four penalty rounds, which affected France finishing only in seventh place.


Photos: IBU/Svoboda, Nordic Focus

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