“I started to cry”: Mattéo Baud, a first podium full of emotions



The Nordic handset had somewhat disappeared from the blue-white landscape. For more than five years France has been waiting for a podium in the World Cup (Braud, 3rd at Schonach in March 2017), far from the golden hours of Olympic champions Fabrice Guy (1992) and Jason Lamy-Chpuis (2010). Last season, Laurent Mühlethaler had only managed to hoist the colors twice in the top 10 (6th at Otepää; 9th at Schonach) and the blue collective obtained a meritorious 5th place at the Olympic Games.

The light was waiting for Ruka, Finnish winter opening. The Gundersen had already been promising, short format (Mühlethaler, 9th) on Friday or classic (Mühlethaler and Baud, 6th and 7th) on Saturday. The mass start, this Sunday, was the stunning confirmation. Thanks to the kid, Mattéo Baud (20), 2021 junior world vice-champion, son of Frédéric, selected for the 2002 Olympics.

The Franc-Comtois limited the damage on skis well (18th at only 9”6 from the head) before knocking out the big names in the jump (145 m). Only the Norwegian boss Jarl Magnus Riiber resisted the flight, Baud thus offering himself a second place that France no longer expected. The tears didn’t take long. “I know after my jump that I did a great performance but there are some great people behindsays the Frenchman. There was a lot of tension. So when I finish right behind the idol (Riber)the one who inspires me, that he hugs me and says to me: ”Sorry for the victory”, I started to cry so much it was great emotions. »

“We felt we were on the right track even if we didn’t want to shout it too loudly”

Alexandre Villet, Team Leader of the French Nordic Combined

Who call others soon. “We are turning a corner with this result, recognizes the new boss of the Blues, Alexandre Villet, mounted young. After the double of the day before, I especially hoped to continue to place our guys in the top 10, even the top 6. The podium was possible of course, provided you make a huge jump on the springboard. And Matteo did it. » Confirmation of well-conducted preparation and interesting summer Grand Prix on the springboard, where Baud now feels “ultra-regular”.

Enough to give a shot of confidence to the France group. “It’s an individual result but it means a lot to the whole team.explains the athlete. It highlights all the work we have done. There is a great dynamic between us. »“We felt we were on the right track even if we didn’t want to shout it too loudlyadds Villet. The combined, in France, is a question of cycles because we do not have the density of biathlon for example. There, I think we have a small team that is being born. We are not going to be on the podium every weekend but we would like to continue to place three to four athletes in the points, to achieve top 10s, top 15s and, why not, a few other podiums this year. » Do not bother.



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