Biathlon: Justine Braisaz-Bouchet achieves the hat-trick and takes control of the general classification of the World Cup

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, power three! The Frenchwoman scored a prestigious hat-trick on Sunday, December 17, by winning the mass start of the World Cup stage in Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Biathlon: Justine Braisaz-Bouchet achieves the hat-trick and takes control of the general classification of the World Cup

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, power three! The Frenchwoman scored a prestigious hat-trick on Sunday, December 17, by winning the mass start of the World Cup stage in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. She is ahead of the Swedish sisters Elvira (2nd) and Hanna (3rd) Oeberg thanks to ideal race management.

After her victories in the sprint on Thursday and the pursuit on Saturday, the reigning Olympic champion in the mass start once again appeared liberated behind the rifle. She took advantage of opposing errors on the shooting range, combined with her good speed of movement on skis, to seize the yellow bib as leader of the general classification.

“We take it turn by turn, shot by shot, ball by ball. I thought about victory when I reached target 30, but I said to myself: we'll see. And then there is this little entry point, these little technical points which help me get into my shot. And behind it in fact, it’s happening, explained the person concerned at the microphone of La Chaîne L’Equipe. It’s cool, you have to enjoy days like this. It was unexpected! ".

In World Cup history, only seven biathletes have completed a hat-trick with three individual races in the same week. A tour de force which follows in the footsteps of her compatriot Sandrine Bailly, who did it in 2005 in Pokljuka (Slovenia).

A flawless performance behind the rifle

After four weeks of intense effort for the first three stages of the World Cup, the bodies were put to the test one last time on the 12.5 kilometers of the mass start in Lanzerheide. A long and difficult race, before the traditional end-of-year holiday break.

Four Tricolors were announced at the start of the event, which brings together the 25 best biathletes in the general classification and the five best of the week: Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, Julia Simon – who won her first individual podium of the season on Saturday – , Lou Jeanmonnot – back after Covid – and Sophie Chauveau.

Julia Simon, very prominent on skis, tried everything to take the race to her advantage. Opting for a very offensive strategy, the winner of the big crystal globe 2023 cleared her five targets at lightning speed, coming out on top from the second shot. If the Savoyard signed the best shooting time, she nevertheless paid for her lack of precision (17/20) and finally finished 6th in the race.

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, for her part, applied a strategy that was the polar opposite of her compatriot. Without ever losing her composure, despite a rifle problem on the second shot, she made a perfect copy (20/20) and took advantage of the errors of the Italian Liza Vittozzi and the Norwegian Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold to fly away towards victory. The Frenchwoman is now 10 points ahead (427 points) in the general classification over Ingrid Tandrevold.

Sophie Chauveau, for her part, signed her first top 10 of the season (9th) and Lou Jeanmonnot, for his return, took 14th place (19/20). Since the start of winter, the Blues have won five of the eight individual races contested.