At 26, Simon becomes the first Frenchwoman to lift this trophy since Sandrine Bailly 18 years ago, the fourth overall after Anne Briand (1995) and Emmanuelle Claret (1996).
“I don’t have the words at the moment, she welcomes without the slightest apparent sign of outpouring. I still have trouble realizing it. There was something at stake, of course I I had a bit of pressure, my legs were a little feverish today (Saturday), but I really tried to concentrate on what I had to do.”
“I’m someone who finds it hard to let go, I think tomorrow’s race (the last of the season, a mass start, editor’s note) will have to be over for me to realize that it’s good. , it’s over, continues Simon. There, it starts to become real with everyone talking to me about it.”
Simon approached the sprint, the penultimate race of the winter postponed from Friday to Saturday due to the thick fog that settled on the hill of Holmenkollen the day before, with a solid lead of 144 points over his last competitor in the big globe race, the Italian Dorothea Wierer.
As she beat her, finishing fifth (1 fault, +39.3) when Wierer only ranked 23rd (1 fault, +1:21.3), she is definitely out of reach.
It was the German Denise Herrmann-Wick, on the eve of the end of her career, who won, ahead of two Swedes, Hanna Oeberg (at 3.5) and Anna Magnusson (at 33.1). All three shot 10 out of 10 behind the rifle.
Simon, the promise of French biathlon which had been accustomed to jagged results, completely changed in dimension this winter, driven by a new regularity in prone shooting which it had lacked until then.
In terms of results, it’s obvious: in one season, the biathlete from Les Saisies has signed three victories and ten individual podiums in total in the World Cup. Or, to very few things, as much as since his first steps in the big leagues in 2017 (4 victories and 11 podiums before the 2022/2023 season).
At the Worlds in Oberhof (Germany) in February already, she had given substance to her new status by becoming world pursuit champion – there without containing her emotion – and bronze medalist in the mass start, her first two international podiums individual.
And to think that the big globe was not even in his sights in the pre-season.
Yellow jersey since December
If we had promised her, “I wouldn’t have believed it at all,” she smiles. I saw in the fall that my shooting was stabilizing, that I was shooting better and better. capable of being able to last a full season. I never thought I could do so many top 6s, get on the podium so many times, I would have found that pretentious!”
“My objective, really, was to be more regular in the World Cup, to stop making the podium, 60th, podium, 60th …”, she repeated a few days ago. And “that wasn’t my goal until the end of January.”
However, since she endorsed the yellow bib of leader of the general classification in December in Hochfilzen (Austria), from the fifth individual race of the season (out of 20), Simon has not left it.
This big globe, even the shooting coach of the Blue Jean-Paul Giachino had “not thought of it” in pre-season. Marie-Laure Brunet, ex-biathlete who has become a mental trainer who has accompanied Simon since the spring of 2021, she believed in it.
“On her value, what we know of her, her ability to move on the track, and what I perceived from her shooting, there is nothing surprising, she said to AFP. a few weeks ago. Deep down inside me, and I told some people before the first races, I said to myself this winter I think she will play the overall (classification).
And here is Simon who takes over from the Blues, they are out of results this season, despite Quentin Fillon Maillet’s second place behind the inaccessible Johannes Boe in pursuit on Saturday – only his second individual podium of the winter.