Baptiste Gros: I have to accept the status of a favourite
Baptiste Gros is the best French sprinter of last season, ranked in 4th in the Sprint World Cup standing 2015/16. Gros collected 4 World Cup podiums (3 individual) and first World Cup win.
Baptiste, what do you think about last season?
Both for me and the sprint team it was a perfect season. Before the winter we set our goals and we could keep them, it’s a success. I claimed my first World Cup win, finished in top 5 in the Sprint World Cup ranking and I was in the classic sprint final. In our group we are also trying to develop reputation of our sport and discipline and I believe we are on the right way. There has been a great momentum in the French Cross-Country Skiing.
You have continuously progressed on your way to a World Cup win. You finished third, second and then you won. Does it require also mental strength?
Yes, a bit. I recall Seneca’s quote: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” It very welly describes last winter. We were told that it is historic what we were going to do. So at some point psychological barriers jumped out but if you allow yourself to set limits, you won’t go any further. Before the previous winter our goals had been big, then I had the best season ever, Richard Jouve finished twice on the podium and is now respected by international skiers, Lucas Chanavat became U23 World Champion.
You seem to be having a positive dynamic in your group.
There’s a strong team effect. Cyril Burdet (coach men’s sprint team) had a very clear speech when he joined the group. “If I take the job, I want ambitions. If you tell me yours is to be top top 30 or top 10, that’s fine but that’s not what I am here for. In four years there are Olympic Games and I will not leave again without a medal.” When you hear this, you know that this guy has a total confidence in what he is doing and in potential of his athletes.
FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti 2017, have you already checked the dates in the calendar?
Yes, of course. I aim for the the skate sprint and for some more races. Last winter I was not there but I watched the race and talked to other athletes. We have expressed our opinion about the last curve. We have asked for its modification to be fairer. Lahti is going to be a milestone for me. I have to accept I am not an outsider anymore. We have experienced this new status after double podium in Planica. Without any doubts, we will be ready.
You can read the full interview (in French) at www.nordicmag.info