French team coaches Vincent Vittoz and Patrick Favre will step down at the end of the season

After a complicated season in which the Blues have not won a single World Cup match, the coaching duo announced on Friday that this weekend would be their last in charge of France.

They say love stories always end badly. After a five-year partnership that began after the 2018 Olympics, Vincent Vittoz and Patrick Favre announced on Friday 17 March that they would leave the coaching staff of the men’s team at the end of the season. An end of the collaboration that takes the form of a brutal break, as evidenced by the words tinged with bitterness of the two coaches.

The latter indicated on Friday that it had caught up “the breaking point” and they show a certain fatalism in the face of the situation, as Vincent Vittoz explains. “Today it is evident that we are no longer in tune with our athletes. We feel that they are not able to listen to some of our speeches.” Apparently moved, the former 2005 world pursuit champion does not hide that he would have liked to continue the adventure: “We were ready to continue, of course. But today there is a break in this discourse”.

One year after the historic Beijing Games, marked by the outstanding performances of Quentin Fillon Maillet, the situation today is much grimmer. With two games remaining in the season, the men’s team has yet to win the slightest victory in the World Cup and the specter of a black and white season, the first since 1997, hovers over a group that has so far been unanswered. For his part, Patrick Favre does not hide that the trust between the staff and his biathletes is broken. “Today we feel that this trust is missing, Favre reveals. Forcing things is not a good thing.“A desire not to go by force, which Vincent Vittoz also underlines”,When you feel a breaking point, you don’t have to be stubborn. France must continue differently, we would have been a brake for the future.

Fillon Maillet and Jacquelin singled out

If the arrival of Cyril Burdet has brought the necessary innovation to the French women’s team to obtain great results, the contrast with the men is stark. Not helped by what qualifies as “the failure of our two leaders“, Vincent Vittoz also wants to make some things clear. Coming out of a dream 2022, with four Olympic medals and the large crystal globe, Quentin Fillon Maillet has shown himself far from the level that was his this season.

Results that Vincent Vittoz explains with little concern for his new status. “Quentin never wanted to hear the warning messages [disant que] it wouldn’t be a year like any other. We tried to warn him. Perhaps our fault is that we didn’t have enough impact.”

“Quentin wanted to show everyone who’d told him it was going to be a tougher year that, for him, it wasn’t going to affect him, because he’s a machine. He read that a little bit wrong.”

Vincent Vittoz, coach of the French biathlon team

at the AFP

Supposedly second leader of the Blues behind ‘QFM’, Emilien Jacquelin also had a disappointing year, even preferring to retire from the circuit after the World Cup. For Vittoz the problem goes much further: “An athlete who has been depressed for a year and a half, whom we have accompanied, we have done more than we could, we have put all our energies into it, perhaps too much at times, perhaps we have worked too hard to try to bring him back to the right path. Maybe we weren’t the right answers either, but we kept going as much as we could.“The last few days of the Oslo weekend are likely to be long for the French men’s team.

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