January 24, 2022

RUHPOLDING – Victory of the French relay – “This is the strength of this team, we have five girls capable of playing in front”

The French women’s team offered us two beautiful images, among many others, at the end of its victorious relay, Friday in Ruhpolding. That of the arrival of Julia Simon, tricolor in hand, to celebrate the second triumph of winter, after that of Ostersund. And then there was the one offered by Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, who had the privilege of completing the course of Bleues oriflamme very high, on December 5 in Sweden.

Broken in honors, the licensee of Les Saisies let Chloé Chevalier savor her first victory on the podium, even abandoning her on the box for a few seconds for the good cause, that of lasting memories. To salute, too, the entry of the youngest in the circle of winners, and to insist on the wealth of the French reservoir, a few weeks before the Beijing Olympics. “Since a while ago, I’ve been saying, ‘Hey, it’s the first time, hey, it’s the first time!’, reacted Chloé Chevalier, to La Chaîne L’Equipe.

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“The four do the job”

The only small downside was obviously the heartbreak of this temple reduced to silence imposed by the camera in these times of resurgence of Covid cases. For the rest, the Bleues savored their chained courses which ended up failing the Swedes at 35″1 and the Russians, authors of a good comeback, at 1’12″2. Behind the masks, smiles were in order because each one showed, proved something, in a perfect collective spirit.

Mission accomplished for Anaïs Chevalier-Boucher, Chloé Chevalier, Justine Braisaz-Boucher and Julia Simon, who were not distracted by their status as favorites in the absence of the Swedes Hanna and Elvira Öberg and several big names from Norway. The rotation imposed by the staff too, eager to put Anaïs Bescond to rest, present during the last six victories of the Blue ones.

“This is the strength of this team this year, it is that we have five girls capable of playing in front, welcomed Frédéric Jean, coach of the France team. We made choices, dead ends last week, this week, maybe next week. When all four do the job, they have the level to win.”

“We are never served a victory on a plate”

It must be said, in this unprecedented composition, the French were not sure of anything, especially since five different nations had won the last six World Cup relays. “That’s what we told them yesterday, at the meeting: ‘You are the favourites, we may win, but I have never seen an easy race. We are never served a victory over a plateau'”, said Frédéric Jean.

Seriously, they signed a second victory, like the Swedes, showing selflessness. After a standing shooting fault, Anaïs Chevalier-Boucher found herself third at 20 seconds. A delay that Chloé Chevalier reduced to less than four seconds before Anaïs Chevalier-Boucher’s run, who quickly showed Italian Comolo and Belarusian Kruchynkina that she was skiing and shooting in another category.

“With respect for the fundamentals”

Finally, Julia Simon held off the ultimate Swedish, missing a target shooting prone, for a total of four picks for the Habs. “I think we’re all super proud of our races., she said, to La Chaîne L’Equipe. These are great races put together, and it makes for a great stint. It’s really too good!”

And to be able to continue in a more personal register. Author of three standing faults two days ago, she rectified the situation with a faultless and wanted to underline it. “Today I had goals on standing shooting, did she say. I’m happy to have set it up and I can’t wait to know what he (Frédérique Jean) thought of it behind the twin, the way, the attitude. What comes out of it.” Happy, the technician spoke about “four girls present, diligent, vigilant”, who acted “with respect for the fundamentals”, of what he “repeating for a year and a half – two years”.

“I really know what I have to put in place on the recumbent, what points I have to pay attention to, added Julia Simon. Standing, I was told that at home it was more natural and certainly easier, which is true. These are not shots that I manage to reproduce all the time. It is sure that when it passes it is beautiful, but this regularity, it is what Paulo wanted. I found a specific point to work on today. It makes my shots a little more calm, a little calmer. This is what I would like to put in place for the pursuit on Sunday and for the rest of the competitions.” Less than a month before the Games, the French team takes nothing for granted.

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