The European Triathlon Championship is coming to an end. The French, after having already won four of the six continental medals (Emma Lombardi’s bronze and a historic hat-trick in the men’s category), will participate, on Sunday, August 14, in the mixed relay in Munich. A career where they are expected to shine internationally.
Since the birth of the discipline, in 2009, the French delegation has won seven world medals, including five gold. She also has a bronze medal at the Olympics. Suffice it to say that the French are the favorites in Bavaria, which does not scare Dorian Coninx, European champion last year and third on Saturday: “We’re used to having that label, and so far we’ve managed to manage that status.”
The individual abilities of all the torchbearers partly explain this success. “The relay is neither more nor less than the sum of four individual performances”, summarizes Benjamin Maze, DTN of the French Triathlon Federation (FFTRI). Since the start of the season, the French present in Munich have been there. Three of them made at least one podium finish (Cassandre Beaugrand even won a race). “We have a high density that allows us to have a team that is aiming for the title at all times.”
Another success factor: the emphasis placed on the relay in France. “It is a race with a fairly high speed record, the effort only lasts 20 minutes, the triathletes must be able to be powerful. We gave priority to this event quite early in France”which benefits from a national circuit where short races are numerous.
Since 2009, the model and philosophy of action within the federation have been based on the ability of the Tricolores to come out of the water in the lead. “We make sure triathletes consistently project themselves to the front of the race and can stay offensive on the bike and in the race.details the DTN. When you’re up front, it’s easier to handle in your head. In our opinion, it is better to be a hunter than the hunted.”
Benjamin Maze describes the relay as “an extremely playful format”. Its collective aspect constitutes a “a little extra salt” for triathletes. In any case, this is how Dorian Coninx perceives it: “I really like the relay. It changes the approach of a race, and above all, running for a team is something that suits me very well. I don’t want to disappoint the group, it gives me extra motivation”. For the 28-year-old triathlete, “Clearly, there is strength in unity. This is all the more true since with the entire French team we form a very united group, we train together regularly, we know each other well, for a long time.”
The four-time world champion of the event also considers the relay as a great individual challenge. “Nothing is certain, you have to train hard to be able to run this event, because the competition is tough”slips Dorian Coninx, member of the bronze medalist team in Tokyo.
“Fighting to make it to the relay certainly gives us extra motivation to be successful on D-Day.”Dorian Coninx, French triathlete
on franceinfo: sport
“As soon as we are part of this team, we know we can go for a world title”, emphasizes Benjamin Maze. The latter assures not to make his selection “based on dry results from individual races”.
Taking into account the strategic issues and the speed records of the athletes, the “key factor in the selection is the management of emotional stability in the race”specifies the DTN, well aware of disappointing people by announcing the composition of the relay to the athletes. “The third triathlete, male or female, would be selected from any other team.”
Regularly on the top step of the podium, the French arrived in Munich with high ambitions, especially from the relay. “It takes place on the same dates as the Olympic Games in two years,” explains Benjamin Maze. The DTN thus sees the Munich race as a dress rehearsal for the Paris race.
“We want everyone to gain experience for the Games. That’s why we take each race as an additional opportunity for the athletes.”, concludes the DTN. In addition, relays in Olympic format are few in the summer of 2024: only four this season and four next.
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