Johannes Thingnes Bø (28) did not find the good feeling in what is planned to be the last sprint before the Olympics in February. For Sturla Holm Lægreid (24) it was an upswing under demanding conditions.
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Five booms on ten shots made Johannes Thingnes Bø have no chance in the battle for victory, and ended up in 28th place.
In an interview with NRK after the race, he was asked how he was doing.
– Just really sad. It was a sad achievement. I was in a sad mood when I reached the finish line, says Thingnes Bø to NRK.
– I just have to get better. This does not matter. I have to stop whining and stop being sad. I really have to try to take back the throne. I have to wake up a little to life again, because now it’s a little daft. I have to get the aggression back, says Thingnes Bø.
The 28-year-old is aware of his own achievement:
– It was simply a bad effort by me, he says.
Things went much better then for Sturla Holm Lægreid. Under the difficult conditions, he spent a long time on the stand, but missed only once and led for a long time. However, the Norwegian’s finish on the track was a little too weak, and thus he failed to challenge Aleksandr Loginov and World Cup leader Emilien Jacquelin.
For Lægreid, it is the season’s first podium place in the sprint.
Tarjei Bø became the second best Norwegian in seventh place. Bø had the best cross-country time, but missed three times and ended up 23.6 seconds behind Loginov.
The plan for the Norwegian Olympic runners is to go straight to the heights in Lavazè after the race weekend in Oberhof, and thus stand over the races in Ruhpolding next week. Then the plan is to go in Anterselva again in two weeks as the last test before the Olympics, but in Italy there is no sprint.
Thus, Friday’s sprint was a kind of dress rehearsal before the Olympic sprint on February 12, and the last sprint before the final Olympic selection.
The conditions were also apparently prepared for the sprint in the Olympics, where, according to NRK’s expert commentator Ola Lunde, demanding wind conditions have been reported. It was also in Oberhof on Friday, with heavy snow and a lot of wind.
And for Johannes Thingnes Bø it was very heavy. There were three rounds lying down, while there were two standing rounds.
– It is one of the blackest days in his career. Quite simply, said NRK’s commentator Andreas Stabrun Smith when Thingnes Bø started shooting.
– It is completely black what he delivers today, added expert commentator Ola Lunde.
After five sprint races this season, Johannes Thingnes Bø’s victory in Le Grand-Bornand before Christmas is the only Norwegian victory in sprint for the men.
This is in stark contrast to recent years. Last season, the Norwegian men won six out of ten sprint races, while they won four out of eight in the 19/20 season, eight out of nine in the 18/19 season and five out of nine in the 17/18 season. The last time the count was just as bad for the Norwegian men was in the 16/17 season, where there was one Norwegian sprint winner for the men in nine races.