Biathlon: the French team wins its first world title in the women's relay

For the French biathlon team, the relays pass and they look the same

Biathlon: the French team wins its first world title in the women's relay

For the French biathlon team, the relays pass and they look the same. At the World Championships in Nove Mesto, in the Czech Republic, the French clan won its third gold medal in three collective events on Saturday February 17.

The French, big favorites in the women's relay, assumed their status with authority, despite some scares after errors on the shooting range. Lou Jeanmonnot, Sophie Chauveau, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Julia Simon – who started in that order respectively – won 38 seconds ahead of Sweden. The Germans complete the podium.

This success has an all the more special flavor as the four Blues enter the history of the French biathlon: they offer the French women's team its very first title of world champion in the specialty. Before them, only Corinne Niogret, Véronique Claudel and Anne Briand-Bouthiaux had won this race at a major international meeting. It was more than 30 years ago, during the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992.

With three relay titles and six individual awards, France dominates the medal rankings of these world championships – nine in total: five gold, one silver and three bronze. Norway, second, has certainly signed more podiums, but its members are less often invited to the highest step (ten medals: three gold, four silver and three bronze). Italy is third, with three awards.

“The real collective objective is the women’s relay”

The Blues had marked the event on the calendar for a long time. “The real collective objective is the women's relay, in which I expect us to approach things as favorites, to assume this status and to produce a beautiful biathlon,” said Cyril Burdet, the group's coach. women's, even before the start of the Worlds. “On paper, we are really the best, it would really annoy me if we didn’t have it,” Lou Jeanmonnot spoke ambitiously on Thursday evening, after her victory in the single mixed relay with Quentin Fillon Maillet.

Under the Czech clouds, the France team looked great. And like eight days earlier, when they had scored a historic quadruple in the sprint, Lou Jeanmonnot, Sophie Chauveau, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, and Julia Simon knocked out their opponents of the day.

Relentless on the shooting range (10/10) as since the start of the competition, Lou Jeanmonnot started the relay perfectly by launching Sophie Chauveau into the lead, 16 seconds ahead of Norway. But the latter did not ski in the footsteps of her partner and was very brittle behind the rifle. In the prone shooting first, then in the standing shooting, the young biathlete, 22, was forced to go to the penalty ring twice.

“I went through an ordeal, I’m super frustrated,” she explained to La Chaîne L’Equipe after her visit. It's hard to say that I had such a bad race in such a strong team. I'm going to kneel down in front of the girls to apologize and thank them for the victory. »

When she started in third position, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet was 45 seconds behind the Estonian women, who were surprisingly first at the halfway mark. As during her last outings, the Savoyard went very quickly on skis. Thanks to her marksmanship – just one fault – she even made up the entire deficit of the Bleues to pass the baton to Julia Simon, again in the lead.

The smiles were then back on the French side as the 27-year-old Frenchwoman reigned over these world championships (three gold medals and one bronze) and did not seem to be able to be worried by anyone. If not by herself. Although an expert in standing shooting, Julia Simon missed three targets. But she immediately recovered to leave no hope to her rivals and head towards the finish line with a comfortable lead over the Swede Elvira Oeberg.

As the Blues joyfully sang La Marseillaise, their male counterparts were in turn preparing to enter the track. At 4:30 p.m., they will defend their world champion title. Less in shape this year, they approach this relay as outsiders against the Norwegian armada, led by the best biathlete in the world Johannes Boe.