Norwegian Johannes Boe is guaranteed to win the Biathlon World Cup after the withdrawal for the next race scheduled for Thursday of his closest pursuer in the general classification, his compatriot Sturla Laegreid, announced by the Norwegian Biathlon Federation.
Laegreid “feels in good shape but prefers to wait until Sunday at the earliest” to resume competition, a federation spokeswoman told AFP on Wednesday. Contaminated by Covid-19 like Laegreid, Boe will not participate in the individual in Oestersund (Sweden) on Thursday either. But his 399 point lead puts him out of reach in these conditions.
It is the fourth time in his career, after those won in a row between 2019 and 2021, that Johannes Boe has won the big crystal globe, at 29 years old. He thus joined the Frenchman Raphaël Poirée, at the turn of the 2000s, and the German Frank Ullrich, at that of the 1980s. Still leading the dance are Martin Fourcade, with seven big globes won consecutively between 2011 and 2018, and the Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Swede Magdalena Forsberg, with six each.
This big globe crowns Boe’s hair-raising season: even before the end of winter, he has already equaled the record for individual victories in a season, which he seized in 2018/2019, with sixteen success, World Cup and Worlds combined. He potentially has four individual races left to go.
He dominated the 2023 Worlds in Oberhof (Germany) in February, with five gold medals, including three in the individual (sprint, pursuit and individual), and a total of seven medals in seven races.
The podium only escaped him once this winter, during the first race of the season at the end of November, an individual in Kontiolahti (Finland). He climbed on the next 19, until his absence on Thursday.
Like Laegreid, Boe is aiming for a Sunday comeback for the mass start. His older brother Tarjei, also infected, too. Last Saturday, the Boe brothers signed the double in pursuit in Nove Mesto (Czech Republic) while already being positive for Covid-19, which is not contrary to the regulations of the International Biathlon Federation.