ALGB preview: Les bleus on attack

Set in the middle of the village, Annecy-Le Grand Bornand’s Sylvie Becaert stadium is uniquely intimate, with the animated, enthusiastic French fans lining the tracks and filing the tribune and creating an exciting atmosphere. Before heading home, team France is in great form and is very much looking forward to continuing the trend in front of a sell-out crowd.

The French team is looking for a great time at home

Before heading home, team France collected 14 podiums in the three weeks before Annecy Le Grand Bornand, two of those were wins. Norway scored 11 podiums in Oestersund and Hochfilzen but won six times. Their men's relay is yet to be put under severe stress as it won twice with relative ease. But nor France, nor Norway are the leaders in Women’s nations cup score for Elvira and Hanna Oeberg, despite subpar shooting for the Olympic and world champion in the individual, keep finishing on the podium or at least in the flowers. They bought back their relay from the abyss in Oestersund and then won with big margin (and despite penalty loop) in Hochfilzen. Men’s nation cup score reflects a very close battle between Norway and France in which the Norwegians prevailed on four of six competition days. Yet again, Sweden is having its say, as Sebastian Samuelsson wears a yellow bib as the only man who won twice this season and added two podiums. These are the results we were used from JT Boe, but the mighty champion is still looking for his famous flow, which brought him Olympic gold and three Total Score titles. JT is not skiing as fast as in his winning seasons, but shooting as good (or better). If his spotless leg in Hochfilzen’s relay was any omen, then he will be ready to attack the formidable French trio of Quentin Fillon Maillet, Emilien Jacquelin, and Simon Desthieux on their home turf. He is, after all six-times winner in Annecy.

A glance into 2019/2020, when Annecy last hosted the world cup: JT was fourth in the sprint, won in the pursuit, and destroyed the field in the mass start in the first two super-fast laps. Tiril Eckhoff had a triple two years ago. A repeat is highly unlikely as the Oeberg sisters, Hanna Sola and Dzinara Alimbekava, Anais Chevalier-Bouchet and above all scarily composed Marte Olsbu Roeiseland compete on another level at the moment.

Why it matters before the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022

A formidable contest between Martin Fourcade and JT Boe in the Olympic 2017/2018 season was reaching one of its many peaks at the BMW IBU World Cup in Annecy Le Grand Bornand in December 2017. JT Boe won in the sprint and pursuit in Annecy, and gold in the individual in PyeongChang 2018. Fourcade won in the mass start in Annecy, and repeated the feat in Korea (plus he won in the pursuit in PyeongChang). Anastasiya Kuzmina won in the sprint and was second in the pursuit. Both wins were self-confidence boosters for the Olympic Winter Games and a win in the mass start. But it was Laura Dahlmeier who filled all three podium places in Annecy with a second in the sprint, victory in the pursuit, and a third place in the mass start. The German went on to win medals in three disciplines (gold in the sprint and pursuit, bronze in the individual) in Pyeongchang. Iryna Leshchanka (Kryuko at that time) was second in the mass start and part of the unforgettable Belarus golden women relay in Korea.

Header iconPreview ALGB - Winners 2019/2020

Most wins in Annecy: All-time and active athlete

Header iconPreview ALGB - Most wins - All-time and active athletes

About Annecy Le Grand Bornand

Annecy-Le Grand Bornand’s Sylvie Becaert stadium is uniquely intimate, set in the middle of the village, with tracks that sweep through snow-covered pastures populated by the local cows in the summer, while winding past traditional village chalets and barnyards.  Although small in capacity, the animated, enthusiastic French fans line the tracks and fill the tribune creating an exciting atmosphere. The stadium and shooting range are part of a sustainable development program that uses the area for different event including paragliding landing and frequent visits by the Tour de France.

Photo: C. Manzoni; IBU archives

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