Benedikt Doll felt like he was in training and in the most difficult of all biathlon races. After the disappointing home World Championships, Doll broke the spell with his fourth World Cup victory and gave the German men their first individual podium of the year.

Four times zero: “It’s been many years”

In the Östersund individual over 20 kilometers, the 32-year-old did not have a penalty, shot clean four times – he has never managed that in a World Cup individual. “It was a bit like a training run today, like a training shoot, and I hardly wobbled,” Doll said after his first success in over a year on ZDF. At the start of the penultimate World Cup season, Denise Herrmann-Wick had already presented an excellent third place, Doll then topped that – somewhat surprisingly.

For him it was not only the first podium of his career in the biathlon classic. But also a special result at the shooting range. “The absolute highlight was that I got four times zero in a World Cup race for the first time. The last time four times zero was in a race in the German Cup, and that was many years ago,” said the man from the Black Forest.

Favorites are canceled with Corona

He also took advantage of the corona-related absence of some top people, including Norway’s 16-time season winner Johannes Thingnes Bö, who was still able to celebrate his fourth win in the overall World Cup early on the couch at home. “I used the chance quite well with the absence of the usual favorites and can be at the top today,” said Doll. “You would have had a hard time against Benni today,” added national coach Mark Kirchner.

Oberhof World Champion Bö had to cede the small crystal ball for the individual classification to his teammate Vetle Sjastad Christiansen without a fight, who finished third behind the Italian Tommaso Giacomel. The strong German team result was completed by Philipp Nawrath and Roman Rees in fourth and fifth place.

Doll had to wait a while for the feeling of victory. Most recently, the ex-sprint world champion won the mass start on January 22, 2022 in Antholz. At the World Championships in Oberhof, the protégés of national coach Mark Kirchner remained without a medal in World Championship races for the first time since 1976. This somewhat unexpected triumph should be a great motivation for Doll, as the Black Forester recently announced that he was postponing the end of his career for another season.

Herrmann-Wick previously third

Previously, even problems with a jammed rifle lock could not stop Herrmann-Wick. After 15 exhausting kilometers and one missed shot, she was only beaten by the flawless Italians Dorothea Wierer and Lisa Vittozzi. “95 percent hit performance and then on the podium, that’s a really cool thing,” said the individual Olympic champion. Herrmann-Wick only missed the third of their first five shots. But the Saxon didn’t let that discourage her. And that despite the fact that the lock on her gun kept getting stuck due to the cold. “You have to stay cool, I managed that,” said the sprint world champion from Oberhof.

Herrmann-Wick finished in the top three for the fourth time in a World Cup race this winter. And in a place that is particularly important to them. Because in Östersund she celebrated her first two World Cup victories as a ski hunter in December 2017, and she also won her first World Cup title there in 2019.

Herrmann-Wick: No worries about the future

It could be the last races in central Sweden for Herrmann-Wick, because it cannot be ruled out that she will retire after the season. How much she would be missed is shown by the fact that the former cross-country skier is responsible for all six podium finishes, including three wins, of the women’s team in the World Cup and at the World Championships.

But “Mama” Herrmann-Wick isn’t worried about the future, as she said after the Oberhof races. Vanessa Voigt (1 mistake) in sixth place and Hanna Kebinger (2) in her first World Cup individual in eleventh place showed that her teammates are also among the best in the world.