Justine Braisaz-Bouchet world champion in biathlon mass start, 6th French gold medal

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet couldn't hold back her smile as she blanked her very last target

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet world champion in biathlon mass start, 6th French gold medal

Justine Braisaz-Bouchet couldn't hold back her smile as she blanked her very last target. At this moment, the French biathlete knows it: the title of mass start world champion can no longer escape her. She never left that smile until she crossed the finish line. And it even widened when, a few moments later, his compatriot Lou Jeanmonnot in turn completed the queen event of the discipline in third place. The Italian Lisa Vittozzi completes the podium.

Once again, on Sunday February 18, La Marseillaise will sound in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. And, even before the start of the men's race, a little later in the afternoon, France has already broken its record for medals at the Worlds: twelve in total, including six gold.

A nod to history, two years ago to the day, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet was crowned Olympic champion in the mass start, this event reserved for the thirty best biathletes of the season, whose competitors start simultaneously for a course of 12.5 km (15 km for men), i.e. five loops and four passages behind the rifle, for two shots lying down then two shots standing up.

Sunday, the Savoyard was imperial, controlling her race from start to finish, signing a flawless performance on the shooting range. Stronger on skis throughout the competition, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet had missed first place during the sprint (2nd), the pursuit (3rd) and the individual (7th) because of her failures behind the rifle. Finally on the top step of the podium, she let her tears escape.

Julia Simon at the foot of the podium

The emotion was also palpable for Lou Jeanmonnot, 25, who confirmed his excellent form for his second season on the World Cup circuit. The young woman leaves Nove Mesto with four medals: gold in the single mixed relay with Quentin Fillon Maillet and in the women's relay, bronze in the sprint and the mass start.

Awarded bronze in this specialty during the World Championships in Oberhof (Germany) last year, Julia Simon this time finished just off the podium, 4th. “Today it was very hard on the shooting range,” admitted the person concerned, author of a 17/20 behind the rifle, at the microphone of La Chaîne L’Equipe. “I'm not satisfied with this race, but I'm relieved that it's over,” admitted the 27-year-old, who will remain the athlete of this fortnight, with five medals in six races, including four gold.