March 10, 2022. Quentin Fillon Maillet, then just crowned with his five Beijing Olympic medals, wins the sprint in Otepaa, Estonia. It was to this date that we had to go back to find the trace of the last individual success of the Blues in biathlon – the Blues won nine in the World Cup alone this winter. At 22, Perrot put an end to this drought in Utah: he won thanks to a ten out of ten shooting, ahead of another Frenchman, Emilien Jacquelin, second at 3 sec 9/10 despite missing two targets. , and the Norwegian Johan-Olav Botn, third at 11 seconds 3/10 after a flawless performance. So much so that the men of Simon Fourcade and Jean-Pierre Amat, the coaching duo who took the reins of the French men’s team in the off-season, suddenly pile up two places on the podium in a race individual in the World Cup in the home stretch of the season, they who had not climbed there since its opening.

Three years after his debut in the big leagues, Perrot scored his very first individual victory. “It’s crazy. I’ve been talking about it for a while, saying that I’m chasing it (a first victory, editor’s note). I promised myself not to finish this season without having won one, I thought about it in the last lap,” smiles the young biathlete, whose mother is Norwegian, at the microphone of the L’Equipe channel. “It’s the first double of the season. We’ve been waiting for this for a while.”

Until then, Perrot had only been on an individual podium: he took third place in the mass start in Östersund (Sweden) a year ago. Twice this winter, he finished fourth, at the end of the individual in Oslo last week and the sprint at the World Championships in Nove Mesto (Czech Republic) last month. “He is someone who is very mature for his age. He showed it today (Saturday) with very good race management, he was able to finish very strong, he ran a very good race at 100% of his potential for the day,” salutes Fourcade. “It’s a great day for Eric, for Emilien, and for the whole team.”

Less for Fillon Maillet. Because the Blues were heading straight for a rare hat-trick until the reigning double Olympic champion received a two-minute penalty for skipping the penalty round punishing the missed target on his standing shot. He finally ranked 31st, 1 min 34 sec 8/10 behind Perrot. For Jacquelin, the shortened season last winter, his head feeling unsteady, “there is a sort of calm,” he describes. “A year ago, I wasn’t there, two years ago, it’s as if I wasn’t there… I’ve gone through a lot of stages in recent months. Little by little, I am regaining my level on skis and shooting, but there are days with it and days without.” “I’ve been feeling much better for a few weeks. Today, I’m really happy to have been able to control my race and my pace for three laps, like that,” he continues.

In the race for the big crystal globe, the Norwegian Johannes Boe, only 17th at 58 seconds on Saturday, penalized by four shooting errors, allows his older brother Tarjei, 7th at 22 seconds after an 8 out of 10, to get even closer : the youngest of the Boe brothers is only 47 points ahead (902 pts against 855), now four individual races from the end of the season. The next one, a pursuit with the gaps inherited from the sprint, arrives on Sunday.

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