When one of the French biathletes is in difficulty, there are always others to take over. This season especially. While Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, second in the general ranking of the World Cup, is going through a more difficult time (outside the top 30), it is Julia Simon and Lou Jeanmonnot who took over, Friday January 19 in Antholz (Italy) . They finished 2nd and 3rd in the individual race, the opening of this weekend in the transalpine resort.

In Ruhpolding, during the previous round of the World Cup calendar, the French team had stalled slightly, failing to achieve any individual podium. In Germany, Lou Jeanmonnot twice finished in 4th place in the sprint and the pursuit.

Thanks to this second place in Italy, Julia Simon confirms her clear return to form two weeks before the world championships in Nove Mesto (February 5 to 18). She also moved up to 5th place in the general ranking, one point behind Swede Elvira Öberg. The leader, the Norwegian Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold, missed her second standing shot (three errors) and limited the damage by finally finishing 12th in this individual race.

Tandrevold still at the top of the general classification

This time, in Italy, Simon, 18 out of 20 in shooting, failed 20 seconds behind the Swiss Lena Häcki-Gross, while Jeanmonnot, 19 out of 20 in shooting, took 3rd place at 31.4 seconds. This is Häcki-Gross’s first World Cup victory in this new shortened format, from 20 to 15 km with 45 seconds of penalty added to each shooting error.

Back on the main circuit, Frenchwoman Gilonne Guigonnat took an excellent 15th place. On Saturday, the Italian stage of the Biathlon World Cup continues with two relays that do not count for the general classification: the single mixed relay (one man and one woman) and the mixed team relay (two women and two men ).

Sunday will take place the men’s and women’s mass start (line start). The opportunity for Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, 2nd 38 points behind Tandrevold, to recover; and for Julia Simon and Lou Jeanmonnot to confirm their fitness.