The German Simon Schempp and the Italian Lukas Hofer tied for first place today in Antholz Anterselva, with a time of 22:44.9, marking the first career wins for both of them. Schempp shot clean while Hofer had a single standing penalty. Schempp’s teammate Arnd Peiffer complete the podium, also with a clean shooting, 4.6 seconds back.
Initially, Simon Schempp was in first place with a 0.3 second lead over Lukas Hofer, but the results were changed to a tie after an examination of the finish line back-up systems. The announcement of the tie for first place came several minutes after the final man finished the competition. Borut Nunar, IBU Assistant RD World Cup explained, « For those watching on television, they saw for a moment, 00 seconds difference, then the main system showed .3 seconds. But the timing company saw this and went to their back-up systems to recheck. When they rechecked, they found that the sensor actually picked up the time of the Czech athlete next to Schempp. Then they checked their second and third systems including the photo which showed the same time. They brought this evidence to the jury, who agreed that both had the same time and awarded two first places. The timing company did a very good job with this situation. »
Both Hofer and Schempp were a bit stunned by the result. Hofer, who became the first Italian winner at Antholz since 1988, said, « What more can I expect as an athlete? I had a really good race and am really happy. » Schempp added, « I am very satisfied with my race. It was an incredible day. Only first place was missing in my resume, so this is a good feeling; a perfect race. »
Hofer who was in the lead when Schempp finished went through some mixed emotions before the final decision was announced. « The first moment after the finish, I was really happy. Then I was really sad about .3 seconds after Simon finished. After a time, it was okay because I was on the podium. Then when I heard we both had first place, I got more and more happy. » Both men praised their ski technicians for their fast skis, with Hofer saying, « I never had skis like that before! »
Almost lost in the excitement was Arnd Peiffer with his first podium in almost two years. He commented, « This is a good feeling…and it fills a hole in my resume; I have never finished third before! For me it was very important to shoot clean especially in a sprint… It is really good to have two Germans on the podium; it has been a long time since that happened. »