Sweden’s Martin Ponsiluoma missed one in the first standing stage, but cleared the rest and took the first race of the season in Men’s Individual. Switzerland’s Niklas Hartweg took his first ever podium in World Cup, placing second, 37.2 seconds behind. Also Germany’s David Zobel, who placed third, took his best ever World Cup placing. Hartweg and Zobel both cleaned all four shootings.
Ponsiluoma won the Sprint World Championship in 2021, but he has never before won a World Cup competition.
"Shooting was of course the key to the victory today. I felt focused all day. On track I opened under control and could hold the times for the five loops. That was the key (to victory). It felt like a hard interval session. I never got really tired so I had a fantastic day out there," stated the happy Swede.
On Saturday, a dream of his comes true, when he starts the race wearing the yellow bib.
"I think everyone dreams of starting in yellow so I am really happy and excited about it."
Hiidensalo successful, Seppala missed better placings in first standing stage
The best Finnish man was Olli Hiidensalo, who missed one shot and placed 11th. Hiidensalo started easy because he could not tell how the skiing would work today. He carried on his all-round successful performance to the finish, missed only two shots, and finished 11th. He was 2:24.1 behind the winner,
"All in all, it was a pretty good race. I started easy and tried to tag along with others. I fell a bit behind in the third shooting and had to try to catch the others. I was able to keep it up really well until finish. My shooting was a bit slow, but the hits were key today," smiled Hiidensalo.
Tero Seppala was 35th with four misses. He got three of them in the second shooting.
"It was not quite my day today. It all went awry in the first standing. The going was challenging on the track, too," pondered Seppala, and figured he would do more ski testing before the next races.
Translation from Finnish: Hanna Sairanen