Relay silver feels like gold for Germans

24th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 February 2005, OBERSTDORF - World Cup leader Axel Teichmann returned to top form just in time to spare the cross-country team of hosts Germany from disaster at the Nordic world championships. "This is the most important medal I have ever won," said the 25-year-old Teichmann after anchoring the 4x10 kilometre relay team to silver in astonishing fashion. Teichmann, a 15km world champion from 2003, made up almost 40 seconds on Italy and one minute and a half on Russia as Germany at last won their first cro

25 February 2005

OBERSTDORF - World Cup leader Axel Teichmann returned to top form just in time to spare the cross-country team of hosts Germany from disaster at the Nordic world championships.

"This is the most important medal I have ever won," said the 25-year-old Teichmann after anchoring the 4x10 kilometre relay team to silver in astonishing fashion.

Teichmann, a 15km world champion from 2003, made up almost 40 seconds on Italy and one minute and a half on Russia as Germany at last won their first cross-country medal with time running out.

"We showed that we are a team. We would also like to thank the fans who continued to believe in us despite some unacceptable results in the previous races," said Teichmann.

Head coach Jochen Behle said: "All those who questioned our preparation must now ask themselves whether their criticism was justified."

Germany had one gold and three silvers from the Nordic combined skiers and ski-jumpers, but the cross-country team boasting several stars had come under increasing pressure because the self-proclaimed goal of several medals on home ground quickly evaporated.

The women's relay team managed no better than fourth as defending champions and 2002 Olympic gold medallists. In the men's double pursuit, normally a German domain, no one placed in the top 10.

Former women's star Evi Sachenbacher was sent home on Wednesday after poor results and men's reigning World Cup champion Rene Sommerfeldt may also not race any more after below-par showings.

Some also questioned the season preparations, with Teichmann a sensation in the early stages of the World Cup, possibly peaking too early.

But Behle said: "We always warned that the others would catch up. The Scandinavians for instance have another mentality and start slow into the season."

Bad luck added to the woes, with the only women's star Claudia Kuenzel and Teichmann bed-ridden with a flu just two weeks ago, which severely hampered their performances in the past days.

"We had no luck here, but we were the lucky ones in the past," said Behle ahead of the relay.

Thursday's race was to finally determine the fate of the team as the men's relay had won silver two years ago and was the last major chance for a medal.

Things looked grim when Germany seemed far away from the medals even though Jens Filbrich, Tobias Angerer and Andreas Schluetter skied well, but Teichmann once again saved the day.

"I think one could see what an exceptional skier Axel is. He proved it again today. I am delighted for the boys who fought very well and handled the pressure," said Behle.

Teichmann did not want to be singled out.

"It wasn't me who won the silver, but the team. We started with four skiers and finished with four skiers. All that counted was the team performance.

We always believed in ourselves and were rewarded for it," Teichmann said.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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