Biathlon: first individual victory for Eric Perrot, who delivers the Blues after two years of waiting

The French men's biathlon has been waiting for this for two years, almost to the day: Eric Perrot obtained the first individual victory of his career in the World Cup on Saturday March 9, at the end of the sprint in Soldier Hollow, in the United States, and the first victory for the Blues since March 10, 2022 − the Blues, on the other hand, have won nine in the World Cup alone this winter

Biathlon: first individual victory for Eric Perrot, who delivers the Blues after two years of waiting

The French men's biathlon has been waiting for this for two years, almost to the day: Eric Perrot obtained the first individual victory of his career in the World Cup on Saturday March 9, at the end of the sprint in Soldier Hollow, in the United States, and the first victory for the Blues since March 10, 2022 − the Blues, on the other hand, have won nine in the World Cup alone this winter.

That day, Quentin Fillon Maillet, then just crowned with his five Beijing Olympic medals, won the sprint in Otepaa, Estonia. At 22, Eric Perrot therefore put an end to this drought: in Utah, he won thanks to a ten out of ten shooting, ahead of another Frenchman, Emilien Jacquelin, second at 3 seconds 9/10 despite two missed targets, and the Norwegian Johan-Olav Botn, third at 11 seconds 3/10th after a flawless performance.

So much so that the men of Simon Fourcade and Jean-Pierre Amat, the coaching duo who took the reins of the French men's team in the off-season, suddenly pile up two places on the podium in a race individual in the World Cup, in the home stretch of the season, they who had not climbed there since its opening.

“Very mature for his age.”

Three years after his debut in the big leagues, Perrot signed his very first individual victory. " It's crazy. I've been talking about it for a while, saying I'm chasing it. I promised myself not to finish this season without having won one, I thought about it in the last lap,” smiles the young biathlete, whose mother is Norwegian, at the microphone of the L’Equipe channel. “It’s the first double of the season. We've been waiting for this for a while. »

Until then, Perrot had only been on an individual podium: he took third place in the mass start in Östersund, Sweden, a year ago. Twice this winter, he finished fourth, at the end of the individual in Oslo, Norway, last week, and at the end of the sprint at the World Championships in Nove Mesto, in the Czech Republic, last month.

“He’s a very mature person for his age. He showed it today with very good race management, he was able to finish very strong, he ran a very good race at 100% of his potential for the day,” salutes Fourcade. “It’s a great day for Eric, for Emilien, and for the whole team. »

Poor performance by Johannes Boe

This was unfortunately less so for Fillon Maillet. The Blues were indeed heading straight towards a rare hat-trick until the double reigning Olympic champion received a two-minute penalty for having skipped the penalty round punishing the missed target on his standing shot. He finally ranked 31st, 1 minute 34 seconds 8/10 behind Perrot.

For Emilien Jacquelin, who finished this race second, “there is a sort of calm” after a shortened season last winter. “A year ago, I wasn’t there, two years ago, it’s as if I wasn’t there… I’ve gone through a lot of stages in recent months. Little by little, I am regaining my level on skis and shooting, but there are days with it and days without. But, he continues, “I’ve been feeling much better for a few weeks. Today, I'm super happy to have been able to control my race and my pace for three laps, like that."

Finally, the poor performance of the Norwegian Johannes Boe, only 17th at 58 seconds, because he was penalized by four shooting faults, allowed his older brother, Tarjei, 7th at 22 seconds, to catch up in the general classification. The youngest of the Boe brothers now only has a 47-point lead (902 against 855), four individual races from the end of the season. And the next one, a pursuit with the gaps inherited from the sprint, arrives on Sunday.