At the IBU World Championships Nove Mesto na Morave 2013, newly-crowned Mass Start champion Tarjei Boe was still the only Boe bossing around the biathlon world. His brother Johannes successfully competed at the IBU Junior World Championships in Obertilliach and joined the World Cup team in the last Trimester. Johannes - we know now - never looked back.
JT Boe announced the change of guards atop the men’s biathlon in 2018/2019 with a Sprint-Pursuit-Mass Start triple in Nove Mesto, 16 wins in the winter, and his first Total Score title. Johannes added four wins (and two further podiums) in Nove Mesto in later seasons. Clearly, the main favourite, Johannes, will be closing on Ole Einar Bjoerndalen as the athlete with the most Gold medals from the World Championships: Ole Einar has 20 to his name, and Johannes has 17 before Nove Mesto.
Tarjei Boe won twice in Nove Mesto, finished second three times, and third twice. Last season, he and Johannes did a Nove Mesto Sprint-Pursuit Boedium. Johannes Dale-Skjevdal made a World Cup debut in Nove Mesto in 2018/2019 but scored no podiums later. In-form Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen was third in the Sprint last winter, his only podium in Czechia. Sturla Holm Laegreid - like Dale-Skjevdal - tasted the World Cup drama for the first time in Nove Mesto, just a season later in 2019/2020. Sturla had three Flower ceremony finishes in 2020/2021 and skipped Nove Mesto due to health issues last season.
This season high-flying Germans will like their chances in Czechia. Philipp Nawrath anchored the German relay to a win in 2020/2021. Two-time Sprint winner in 2023/2024, Benedikt Doll finished fourth in the Pursuit last winter, his best result in Nove Mesto. Roman Rees and Johannes Kuehn have three Top 10 finishes in Nove Mesto between them.
The awakening of Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet in Ruhpolding and Antholz-Anterselva will raise French hopes for the World Championships and for a good reason. Quentin won in the Sprint and Pursuit in 2020/2021 and achieved three further podiums in Nove Mesto; Jacquelin has two podiums to his name in Czechia.
Martin Ponsiluoma and Sebastian Samuelsson each had one podium in Nove Mesto: Ponsiluoma was third in the Pursuit last winter, Samuelsson second in the Sprint in 2020/2021. They will hope their form will peak in Czechia.
None of the still-active athletes on the women’s side has won in Nove Mesto. Still, Total Score leader Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold will feel good traveling to Nove Mesto as she scored two second-place finishes in 2022/2023.
Justine Braisaz-Bouchet has one Flower ceremony finish (Mass Start 2019/2020) as her best result in Czechia. The same goes for Julia Simon, who was fourth in the Pursuit last winter. Lou Jeanmonnot, another world-class French, was 13th and 16th in 2022/2023.
Lisa Vittozzi has a third place from the Sprint in 2020/2021 in the Top Results part of her resume. Last season, she was fifth in the Sprint and eighth in the Pursuit. Dorothea Wierer competed at the World Championships in 2013 and collected four World Cup podiums in Nove Mesto. She was fourth in last season’s Sprint. After a troubled first half of the season, Doro will hope to regain her powers just in time to perform well in Nove Mesto.
Franziska Preuss can optimistically look towards Nove Mesto for two reasons: she achieved two podiums there (Mass Start 2019/2020, Pursuit 2020/2021) and never finished outside the Top 10 this season. Vanessa Voigt’s stellar performance in Antholz-Anterselva ( her shooting score was 60/60) and last winter’s fifth place in the Sprint will also make her feel good about the chances in Nove Mesto.
Oeberg sisters, Elvira and Hanna, will travel to Czechia with mixed feelings. Hanna scored two podiums there, but knee issues and a rocky form don’t make for high hopes. Elvira has two Top 10 podiums in Nove Mesto, with her form in 2024 good enough for her to switch gears at the World Championships.