Taking part will be champion Martin Fourcade and France’s top biathletes and cross-country skiers
Friday 29th, Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st March 2019
The French Cross-country & Biathlon Championships are the big end-of-season party for the Nordic ski community.
It’s also an opportunity to meet France’s champions!
The star of the show is the undisputed master of Biathlon, Martin Fourcade, the man with 5 Olympic Champion titles, 10 World Champion titles and 7 Crystal Globes.
He never misses the French Championships. For him, it's an opportunity to meet with friends in a festive and relaxed atmosphere – even though each athlete is keen to seize the title of French Champion to round off the season.
BIATHLON, A SPORT UNLIKE ANY OTHER
Biathlon is a unique sport that combines two contrasting disciplines: cross-country skiing that involves intense effort, and shooting that requires calm and concentration. During a competition, each biathlete alternates laps on skis and bouts of shooting.
The competitor with the shortest total time wins: depending on the competition, missed shots result in extra time or extra distance being added to the contestant’s total.
- Come along to watch on 29th, 30th and 31st of March in Méribel -
ATHLETES TAKING PART
In total, nearly 350 athletes are expected for these French Championships, including athletes who distinguished themselves at the last Winter Games, those who dominated World Cup podiums this winter, and those who do well at the forthcoming World Biathlon Championships taking place in Sweden from March 7th to 17th.
Martin Fourcade will of course be taking part, as will Antonin Guigonnat, Simon Desthieux, Quentin Fillon Maillet and Emilien Jacquelin for the men; Anaïs Chevalier, Anaïs Bescond and Justine Braisaz for the women.
Amongst the cross-country skiers, Maurice Manificat, Richard Jouve, Adrien Backscheider, Lucas Chanavat, Jean-Marc Gaillard, Baptiste Gros, Renaud Jay and Clément Parisse will be taking part.
All members of the men's and women's National B and Junior squads and will also be taking part in these French Championships. And perhaps the next Martin Fourcade will be among them...
Individual - Pursuit - Mass-start - Sprint – Relays
This is the oldest biathlon event, a race against the clock. Competitors set out every 30 seconds to cover a distance of 15km for women, 20km for men, and shoot four times. This is the longest biathlon event. In contrast to other events that include four shooting bouts, here the competitor alternates between the prone and standing shooting positions. It is the only competition where a missed target results in a time penalty (1 minute). This is an event that favours the best shots.
The pursuit is a handicap race: biathletes' starts are separated by their time differences recorded for a previous Sprint race. Thus, the winner of the Sprint sets out first followed by the biathlete who obtained the second place, etc. After a 10km race for the women, and a 12.5km race for the men, interspersed with 4 shooting bouts (2 bouts in the prone position then 2 in the standing position), the winner is the person who crosses the finishing line first.
As its name suggests, the mass-start is a race where all the competitors set out from the start line at the same time. The course is 12.5km long for women and 15km for men, with 5 laps and 4 shooting bouts (2 bouts prone then 2 bouts standing). Each missed shot gives rise to one 150m penalty lap. The winner is the one who crosses the finish line first.
A sprint is similar to the Individual, except that the race format is halved, both in distance (7.5km for women, 10km for men), and in the number of shooting bouts ( 1 prone and 1 standing bout). The other difference is that for each missed shot, the biathlete must complete a 150m penalty lap, immediately after each shooting bout before re-joining the track. This event favours the best skiers.
Relays teams consist of 4 biathletes. Competitors set out at the same time and must complete a course including 2 shooting bouts (prone then standing). Each missed shot results in a 150m penalty lap. For women, the distance is 4 x 6km and for men it is 4 x 7.5km. There is also a Mixed Relay composed of 2 women and 2 men who cover 6km and 7.5km respectively, and a Single Mixed Relay where each team has one man and one woman who run one after the other, each completing two legs with two shooting bouts. Whoever starts runs two 3km legs, while the one who finishes runs a 3km leg and then concludes with a 4.5km leg.
Cross-country skiing events include distance races and sprints.
There are two authorized techniques:
- The classic style: in this traditional cross-country skiing technique, athletes move using alternative gliding steps on parallel skis.
- Free style: this technique is also called "skating" and resembles that of speed skating. Free style is usually faster than the classic style.
INDIVIDUAL (OR RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK)
The starts are staggered 30 seconds apart and athletes must pace themselves in order to achieve the best time possible. There are various distances: 5km, 10km, 15km and 30km for women, 10km, 15km and 50km for men, plus the “Tour de Ski Prologues” (a distance of about 3km). Depending on the conditions, the best skiers start first or last in order to benefit from the best conditions. This type of race requires the ability to push one’s limits and good race management.
Departures are given according to the time differences recorded on a previous race. It is therefore a handicap race where the final winner is the one who crosses the line first and who has therefore achieved the best time on both races.
Unlike the Individual, in this race all the competitors start at the same time. Skiers are organized in rows behind the starting line, the best being positioned first. The winner is the one who crosses the finish line first. The mass-starts are tactical races, which made exciting by the ‘attacks’ staged by individual competitors. These races are spectacular and impressive to watch with their successive waves of competitors.
The Relay is a race for teams of four skiers. The first two competitors use the classic style and the last two use skating style. The departure is always a mass-start. There is no mixed cross-country ski Relay. The distances are 4 x 5km for women and 4 x 7.5km for the men for the World Cup and 4 x 10km in major championships.
The sprint is a spectacular and very tactical race that takes place on a course measuring 800m to 1,600m. It is an intense physical and emotional test that requires a degree of luck to avoid falling or other misfortune. It is usually held over 3 hours according to the recovery time allowed by the organisers.
Each team consists of two skiers who take it in turns to complete an 800 – 1,600m circuit three times. The event takes place in two stages with two semi-finals from which ten teams qualify: the winning two teams from each semi-final plus the six other fastest teams.
THURSDAY 28th MARCH:
FRIDAY 29th MARCH :
09.30 – 10.00 Under-20s Mass Start, 10km Classic (Cross-country skiing)
10.30 -11.00 Women’s Mass Start, 7.5km Classic (Cross-country skiing)
11.00 – 12.00 Single Mixed Relay (Biathlon, teams of 2)
12.00 -12.30 Senior Men’s Mass Start, 10km Classic (Cross-country skiing)
12.45 pm Awards ceremony
SATURDAY, 30th MARCH :
10.00 – 10.45 Under-17 Mass Start - Under-19 Men’s Biathlon 10km
10.50 am – 11.40 Classic Sprint Qualifiers (Cross Country Skiing)
11.45 – 12.25 Under-17 Mass Start – Under-19s Women’s Biathlon (10km)
12.30 -13.05 Under-21 Mass Start - Senior Women’s Biathlon (10km)
13.15 – 14.45 Classic Sprint Finals (Cross-country skiing)
14.50 -15.30 Under-21s Mass Start and Senior Men’s Biathlon
18.30 Medal ceremony - Méribel Tourist Office square. Autograph session..
SUNDAY 31st MARCH :
10.00 – 11.00 Women’s Biathlon Relay
11.00 – 11.45 Women’s Cross-country Freestyle Relay
12.00 – 13.00 Men's Biathlon Relay
13.00 – 14.00 Men’s Classic Cross-country Relay
14.15 Award ceremony for the day’s events