A good second place, but could have done better.
Such is the assessment of the France team this Saturday at the end of the first stint of the season, on the side of Ostersund, in Sweden.
The Blues, well launched by Fabien Claude, were handicapped by the passage of Emilien Jacquelin who needed five picks in shooting (3 lying down, 2 standing).
A bad habit for the Frenchman, who had already weighed down several stints in the past with big rifle errors.
Of course before the race I had these old demons in mind,
” said Jacquelin: “
The only satisfaction of the day is to have known how to put the pickax balls at the bottom, something that I lacked before. I will be able to rely on this to build positive things for future relays. But it is undeniable that there is an ingredient, which is either in excess or not present in relation to the individual races, that I cannot identify. The guys were exemplary, on the skis, in race management or on the shooting range. We have a dense group, which has quality. It is interesting for the future. There will be other stints before the Olympic Games (February 4-20 in Beijing) but it's good to have confidence and serenity before the Olympics
On the other hand, Fabien Claude was satisfied with his experience of the day, new for him. "
This is the first time that I have left at the head of the relay in the World Cup, I had asked the coaches to leave in this place,
" he told Dauphiné Libéré. “
I didn't want to lead. I had prepared myself for this. I think I managed my race really well. I made the effort when I had to and was able to rest at certain times. A fault with each shot, because of my first balls, but we will work to make it in the next time. We had great skis, I had a great time. I took a few seconds before each shot without forcing it, it was fun…
The Norwegians are a step above but we could have done a little better in terms of shooting.
This is where they make the difference.
If we correct that, it can lead to very interesting things for the Games.
Satisfaction also for Quentin Fillon-Maillet, author of a last impeccable stint: “
I'm really happy that we finished 2nd. It really kicks off the season on a collective level. Individually, we had all done things well but we had to prove it collectively. The Norwegians are a step above but we could have done a little better in terms of shooting. This is where they make the difference. If we correct that, it can lead to very interesting things for the Games. I finished the baton and knew there was a pretty big gap behind the front two. I was waiting for it to miss out and that's what happened for Russia.
The Norwegians (Sivert Bakken, Tarjei Boe, Johannes Boe, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen), reigning world champions in the specialty, have shown formidable rifle efficiency (4 pickaxes in total) to get ahead of France of 11''2.
An efficiency like their start to the season on the shooting range, particularly impressive on an individual level.
Russia (Said Khalili, Daniil Serokhvostov, Alexander Loginov, Eduard Latypov) finished 3rd at 45''9.