The target has never been so close to Julia Simon's rifle. The French ended her weekend in Östersund (Sweden) with a third place, Sunday, March 13, in the mass-start event. As a result, she retains a 144-point lead in the overall World Cup standings over Italian Dorothea Wierer, winner of the day, and 185 over her compatriot Lisa Vittozzi. With just three individual races left (a win is worth 90 points) to end the season – next week, March 16-19, in Oslo (Norway) – the leader's yellow bib looks solidly slung over his shoulders of the 26-year-old biathlete.
If she continues at the same pace in Norway, Julia Simon would thus become the first Frenchwoman to win the big crystal globe since Sandrine Bailly, in 2005. A reward that would conclude an almost perfect season, also embellished with a title of champion of the pursuit world in February in Oberhof, Germany.
She could even have had even more margin in the standings if the end of her mass-start had gone better on Sunday. Very fast on skis and against targets, Julia Simon was in the lead until the last pass on the shooting range, but had to turn once on the penalty ring after a foul on her standing shot, leaving the field is open to Dorothea Wierer, perfect, her rifle in hand (20/20).
Les Bleues all answered present
“There is a little shared feeling today, conceded the Frenchwoman, after the race, to La Chaîne L’Equipe. I am very happy with this podium, it was not easy to get, and it is a good deal in the general classification. There was a bit of tension because there are a lot of issues at the end of the season. But I miss this last ball which darkens the picture a little. “Words that join the image of her crossing the finish line, where she hit her head with her fist, frustrated by the course of events.
If Julia Simon was mixed in the era of arrival, the staff of the French women's team can for their part be very satisfied with the day, the day after the small globe gleaned in the relay.
Lou Jeanmonnot (20/20 against the targets) thus equaled the best result of his career by taking second place, and leads a long procession of French people to the front of the race. Behind Julia Simon, Caroline Colombo finished fifth (18/20), Chloé Chevalier tenth (18/20) and Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet fifteenth (16/20). And the Blues are not satisfied. "I would like to win one last race next week, why not the sprint...", slipped Julia Simon a few minutes after her podium.