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Julia Simon and the French team are in good form

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Julia Simon and the French team are in good form

Julia Simon already suspected before the start that she would start to sweat. When the outside temperature was just under six degrees, she stood at the start line in a T-shirt. The Frenchwoman came second in the 7.5-kilometer sprint race at the Biathlon World Championships in the Czech Republic – and after just a quarter of an hour it was clear that she would be the first to cross the finish line.

At this point only a third of the field had started. But the 27-year-old left no doubt about her outstanding form either on the shooting range or on the running course, hit all ten targets in her shooting – the only one in the top six – and won her second gold medal after her success with the mixed relay on Wednesday in the Arena of Nove Mesto.

“It feels incredible to win the sprint at a World Championships – with perfect shooting,” said the 27-year-old. “And then with my teammates on the podium, that’s crazy. This is a day I won’t forget.”

Conciliatory result

Before it was clear that she had already won her second gold medal in Nove Mesto after winning the mixed relay on Wednesday evening, she had to wait until her teammates had reached the finish line. Justine Braisaz-Bouchet (2nd), Lou Jeanmonnot (3rd) and Sophie Chauveau (4th) completed the French team’s success. The best German, Franziska Preuß, took sixth place after a shooting error, 1:05 minutes behind Simon, behind the Latvian Baiba Bendika.

It was a conciliatory result for Preuß after she had to run a penalty loop in the mixed relay race on Wednesday and buried the German team’s medal hopes in the snow. “Unfortunately it was just one mistake too many,” said the Bavarian after the sprint. “But the way things went the day before yesterday, I’m happy and proud that I didn’t let myself get dragged down.”

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The national coach was also satisfied with the result: “For Franzi, it was the biggest victory after the relay that she came through so well with this performance today,” said Kristian Mehringer and added: “That makes us positive for the pursuer. We want to make it as difficult as possible for the French and also win a medal.”

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After the sprint, the 29-year-old Preuß can now have legitimate hopes for precious metal in the pursuit race on Sunday (2.30 p.m. on ARD and Eurosport). Justine Braisaz-Bouchet in particular will make her teammate Julia Simon sweat there, as she starts the race just five seconds behind the new sprint world champion, who is defending her world title from last year.

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