French domination at the IBU World Cup Slovenia

The BMW IBU World Cup 2 was held in Pokljuka, Slovenia on a high plateau in the Julian Alps. Warm and windless conditions led to minimal penalties from missed shots, favouring fast shooters and strong skiers.

As in Sweden a week before, the ELEY sponsored French team controlled much of the competition. They showed great physical endurance, mental discipline and concentration: Martin Fourcade hit 39 of his 40 targets over the weekend!

The competition began with the Men’s Sprint. Fourcade shot his 10 targets cleanly, beginning slowly but making up the time in a fast final loop. He overtook three Norwegians to win by 13.7 seconds, taking his first ever victory at this World Cup venue.

Fourcade took his lead from Sprint into the Men’s Pursuit the following day. He fought a close race with Anton Shipulin, but as the Russian missed and went to the penalty loop Martin again shot clean to take his second victory of the competition. After the event Martin said: “It was a really great competition. Everyone had the same conditions, equal chances”.

The French Biathlon Men's Relay Team celebrate their success in Slovenia The French Biathlon Men's Relay Team celebrate their success in Slovenia

The Women’s Individual Sprint match was incredibly close: the top 20 athletes all finished within a minute of each other. The lead changed constantly throughout the 7.5km course, until Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier took the Gold ahead of the French Team’s 20 year old Justine Braisaz. In the Women’s Pursuit Marie Dorin Habert just missed out on third place after a close battle with Eva Puskarcikova.

The Relay races closed out the competition. The four Frenchmen steadily pulled away from the other 21 teams, until in the final anchor leg Fourcade made the most of a 20 second lead to take the win. The Women’s Relay followed and saw a strong performance from the French women. Excellent shooting from Celia Aymonier gave them the lead, but they were just out-skied by Germany into second place.

The World Cup now moves to the Czech Republic – with over 120,000 fans expected, the pressure will be on the French team to continue their run of success.