Janina Hettich-Walz and Roman Rees narrowly missed the podium at the atmospheric biathlon show in Schalke. The duo from the German Ski Association (DSV) came fourth in the 20th edition of the competition in the Gelsenkirchen football arena – and after four penalties in the final pursuit they were 1:10.1 minutes behind the victorious defending champions Julia Simon and Fabien Claude from France . Rees lost the finish sprint for third place against the Slovenian Jakov Fak.
Hanna Kebinger and Benedikt Doll had to settle for sixth place. Kebinger celebrated an impressive comeback despite a fall in front of around 45,000 spectators after her corona infection and an almost month-long break from competition; Doll, on the other hand, revealed major weaknesses on the shooting range, unlike in the World Cup – so she fell four places in the pursuit.
Hettich-Walz and Rees, however, caught up and moved up from seventh place. Hettich-Walz replaced Sophia Schneider, who was ill, at the World Team Challenge, and season opener winner Rees returned after a break due to an infection. Norway came second with Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold and Sturla Holm Lägreid.
The 1.3 km long lap in and outside the arena including the “Ruhrpott Glacier” had to be run nine times in both the mass start and the subsequent pursuit. There are no World Cup points at Schalke. The last German success of Vanessa Hinz and Simon Schempp, who have since resigned, was seven years ago. Previously, Martina Glagow/Michael Greis (2002) and Laura Dahlmeier/Florian Graf (2013) were victorious. Due to the pandemic, the competition, which has been held since 2002, took place in Ruhpolding in 2020 and 2021 without spectators. The home races are now on the program in the Biathlon World Cup. The German team will first attack in Oberhof from January 4th before continuing with the competitions in Ruhpolding the following week.