The French Alpine Ski team, which enjoys the support of the Caisse d'Epargne and boasts an extremely positive attitude, finished these outstanding World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo with its best results since 1970 marked by intense emotion throughout the competition.
Solid support for Mathieu Faivre
In the second round in the giant slalom event of the world championships in the awe-inspiring setting of Cortina d'Ampezzo, the French team experienced a whole gamut of different emotions: a digest of strong sensations as only great ski competitions can provide! The slope was steep and the track was ice-covered... Alexis Pinturault, currently the best skier on the slopes, had completed an exemplary first run. The world title was his for the taking! But in this sport, a tiny detail, an insignificant factor can bring down the greatest of champions. Several favorites fell in this 2nd round, notably at the particularly treacherous 5th gate. Mathieu Faivre, the skier belonging to the Isola club and world junior champion in 2010, completed two exceptional runs with that snow-touch that has come to characterize him. With his confidence boosted by his title of world champion in the parallel slalom, he skirted the traps and took the lead in the competition. Alexis Pinturault still had to run. For a brief moment, the managers of the French team could dream of seeing two Frenchmen on the top two places of the podium! Alas, Alexis Pinturault failed at that accursed 5th gate! Just like Clément Noël during the 2nd round of the slalom... while the title was within reach. This is the merciless law of skiing that also makes it such a wonderful sport, and gives full credit to Mathieu Faivre in his success in winning gold. This triumph is something that the coaches of the French men's team can be proud of, considering their unfailing support over the past few months for Mathieu, plagued by doubt at times in his quest for perfection. It was no surprise that he made a point of thanking his coaches at the end of the race.
A rich haul of medals
Alexis Pinturault was immensely disappointed by his mistake in the giant slalom, much more than his 7th place in the slalom. But he nevertheless came away from Italy with a silver medal in the combined event and a bronze medal in the super G, which came on top of the bronze medal won by Tessa Worley in the parallel event, giving France its best result on the podium of nations since 1970: 3rd with 5 medals.
Of course, this is not up to the expectations of the leader in the World Cup. But the French team can be confident; the next generation of skiers is assured by an upcoming group of talented competitors. France hadn't won a world title in the giant slalom event for 53 years when Jean-Claude Killy was crowned World Champion in the discipline, succeeding Guy Périllat (1966 in Portillo, Chile). Also the result of the Italian World Championship is historic in this respect. The national technical director Fabien Saguez, when questioned on France television, considered that “the results are positive. We certainly have the potential to do better. But in these extremely intense races, we adopted the right attitude. It’s very important because, ultimately, we have a world champion. (...) We have a lot of talent in both speed and technique.” This is the major strength of the French men's team, which boasts extremely high-level individuals capable of achieving outstanding performances despite the vicissitudes inherent in ski competitions.
And it's not over yet, considering that the late season could end in a triumphant apotheosis with Alexis Pinturault winning the big Crystal Globe! This would round off an exceptional year for French men's skiing, and would crown in glory the work done by the teams under David Chastan.
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#banquedelamontagne, the Caisse d'Epargne Rhône Alpes has been a partner of the French Ski Federation for the past 25 years.
Photo credit: Zoom agency