France Rebounds to Women's Relay Gold

France’s Justine-Braisaz-Bouchet tagged 46 seconds back at the second exchange but with her typical fast skis and a single penalty tagged anchor Julia Simon first, setting up the French victory in this afternoon’s IBU World Championships Women’s 4 X 6 km Relay. Simon powered through the anchor leg, unchallenged, despite using all three spares to clean standing stage as the wind whipped her shots far off target. Simon, Braisaz-Bouchet, and teammates Lou Jeanmonnot and Sophie Chauveau tallied two penalties and eleven spare rounds in their 1:15:00.8 Gold medal effort. Today’s win was France’s best WCH result since their Silver medal at Oslo eight years ago.


Simon called the French victory, “Incredible, really great to cross the finish line first. It was a nervous relay, very stressful. But I am really happy to finish quite okay.”

Emotions and Nerves

The French anchor expounded on her worries after Chauveau ended up on the penalty loop twice. “I was very nervous when I was watching on the tracks. Lou started very good, then Sophie made me a bit emotional. I was like, ‘O shit, it is over for us.’ Then Justine started, so special and nice to watch. It was my turn and I was very nervous. Elvira is very strong so I to fight. The last standing was a bit hard with a bit of tricky wind. It was a really good battle!”

Sweden with a penalty and twelve spares finished in the Silver medal spot, 38.3 seconds back, one step above their Bronze medal last year in Oberhof. Germany, with nine spares won the Bronze medal, 1:14.2 back.

Early leader Estonia finished in an all-time IBU WCH best fourth place, with eleven spares, 1:40.6 back. Ukraine, with ten spares finished fifth, 2:08.8 back. Poland, with just three spares, finished sixth, 2:14.6 back.

Gusty Winds

Relay day dawned with partly Cloudy skies, +9C, moderate shooting range winds that eventually turned gusty and tricky, complicating shooting especially for the anchor legs. Jeanmonnot dominated the opening leg, shooting clean, tagging Chauveau 17 seconds up on the field.

The wind spelled trouble. Chauveau struggled in prone, with a penalty, adding a second in standing, ceding the lead to Estonia, with Sweden second at the exchange.

Braisaz-Bouchet’s Rebound

Braisaz-Bouchet slowly closed the gap with her ski speed, cleaning prone, after tagging eighth, 45 seconds back. A one-spare standing stage turned the French rebound into a seven-second lead over Sweden that stretched to 18 seconds at the final exchange.

Header icon2024 BMW IBU World Championships Nove mesto na Morave Women's 4 X 6 km Relay

Simon’s Fourth Gold medal

After one lightning-fast one spare in prone, the short-sleeve clad Simon left Elvira 20 seconds back with Estonia and Germany 1:16 back. The wind flags whipped; Simon missed three standing shots, but the perfect spares sealed victory. Elvira added a penalty leaving safely in second with Germany’s Sophia Schneider third, setting the podium. Simon enjoyed the win, proudly waving the French flag as she celebrated her fourth Gold medal as she finished.

Photos: IBU/ Vianney Thibaut, Nordic Focus

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