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France’s win in Pokljuka’s mixed relay race

The second relay fixture of the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon Pokljuka 2023 went to France’s Fabien Claude, Quentin Fillon Maillet, Anais Chevalier-Bouchet and Julia Simon. They delivered an impressive performance for securing the win in the first mixed relay race this season. They finished in 1:19:48.9. Italy was second (+24.6), while Sweden claimed bronze (+47.2).

 

Claude used one spare in prone, allowing Norway’s Filip Fjeld Andersen to move up into the lead. The French performed better in the second stage regaining the lead. He was followed by his brother Florent who competes for Belgium. Andersen used three spares and slipped down to sixth position. Thanks to Sebastian Stadler, Switzerland climbed among the top three.

 

Fillon Maillet was fast on skis but used three spares and also had to take one penalty loop already at the prone, allowing Norwegian Johannes Dale to jump into the lead. It was Germany’s Benedikt Doll who left the range as the second. Despite Italy’s Tomasso Giacomel’s two spares, he left the standing range as the first one. Fillon Maillet improved France’s chances with fast and precise shooting, climbing to second place.

 

Chevalier-Bouchet used one spare and was closely followed by impeccable Swiss, Aita Gasparin into the second lap. Italy’s Dorothea Wierer missed twice and slipped to third place. The French was strong on the track, increasing the gap to arrive at the standing shooting with a 12.9-second lead. The French and Italian were the first to leave the range, while the Swiss used two spares and slipped for one position.

 

Chevalier-Bouchet tagged Simon with a 32.6-second lead. Vittozzi caught some seconds on the track for Italy and when she and Simon cleaned the prone, the first two positions were practically taken. Lena Haecki-Gross used three spares allowing Elvira Oeberg to bring Sweden to third place. Simon used one spare in the last shooting, and so did Vittozzi, who left the range 23.2 second back and did not manage to pass the world cup overall leader. The Swede did not miss a single shot and secured the third place.

 

The last French in the relay, Simon, was happy with the win: “It was a very good team effort! It was nice to race the first mixed relay of the season. I am happy for the team and also with my performance, so it was perfect. It was not so difficult at the shooting range. You just had to stay focused on the wind. The wind was the same as on the zeroing, so it was ok for me. I am really happy with just one mistake.”