Kontiolahti (dpa) - Erik Lesser is very relaxed in the second part of the Kontiolahti World Cup.
After all, the biathlon veteran knows only too well that things can quickly turn out differently.
«It's going to be a completely new weekend.
There is momentum that was on my side.
But that doesn't mean that it'll work out again, ”said the 32-year-old before the sprint race on Thursday (1.30 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport).
After his third place in the individual at the start of the season on Saturday, his first individual podium in three years, and ninth place in the sprint, he calmly perceives the expectations from outside.
But also more.
“It's always the same for me, it's just about my own performance that I got the best out of it at the end of the race.
I can see in the goal what it is enough. "
In the preseason, the former world champion had to struggle with back problems, which also caused his poor performance and the transfer to the second-class IBU Cup.
He now has that under control, also because his body showed him in October that "I am no longer so tolerant of stress."
The more intense the units, the more painful the back - in October Lesser could hardly get out of bed early.
The training plan was therefore adapted, with intensive units in the morning and above all a lot of regeneration.
"That's how I'll go about it next year," said the man from Suhl.
Despite two World Cup medals, he had motivation problems in the summer and even thought of quitting like France's star Martin Fourcade.
«I thought to myself I would have just stopped.
But I didn't want to stop like that, ”said Lesser.
After two difficult years, Maren Hammerschmidt also had doubts.
Like Lesser, the 31-year-old reported back with good performances and cracking the World Cup norm.
"I can now appear a bit more liberated and self-confident," said the former relay world champion before today's sprint (4.30 p.m.).
Hammerschmidt had to have an operation on her left ankle in October 2018, but she had already suffered the injury in February at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Her return to the World Cup in the preseason failed, she only competed in five races with disappointing results.
"The last two years have not been an easy path," said the committed animal rights activist.
But since the training structure in the team was changed and a new training concept was tried out ("The trainers have shown a lot of courage"), Hammerschmidt has now moved closer to her teammates and the international top.
"That paid off," said Hammerschmidt.
She also drew a lot of positive things from working with the new shooting coach Engelbert Sklorz.
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