„Everything went perfectly on the past weekend!“
TUESDAY TALK: Antoine Gerard (FRA)
French youngster Antoine Gerard is the new darling of the audience in Chaux-Neuve. A fantastic two days „at home“ gave the 21-year-old a 16th and tenth place and all of a sudden, Gerard with in the thick of the fight for the top positions. The colleagues over at Nordic Magazine checked in with Gerard after his fable weekend.
How do you feel after the past World Cup weekend in Chaux-Neuve?
Antoine Gerard: It was my first World Cup in Chaux-Neuve and it was a very very nice experience. I delivered my best career result in the World Cup, so there’s absolutely nothing to regret. I was hoping for good results, I wanted to give my very best. I made that happen and the results came with it. I’m still not at the level of those on top of the podium but it was the top of my level at the moment, so it was really good. Everything went perfectly.
Which positive points do you take with you from the weekend?
Gerard: I managed to have my best jumps at the right time and I also had a good cross-country race. I learned how to race with the best at the very front. I also had to learn to fight, too, to invest a bit in the race and go through with it.
Would you say your French home World Cup was very reassuring?
Gerard: It’s a big whole, it’s very stimulating. I believe we did a very good preparation since I got into top shape here. On Saturday, I was a bit tense during the jumping part and I took this experience with me for the Sunday event when I was not blocked at all. My cross-country racing was truly positive, I didn’t even feel my legs. It felt like they were going all by themselves!
You managed to handle the pressure well.
Gerard: Before the weekend, I was told a lot about the „Chaux-Neuve“-effect, the desire to do really well at home, so I tried to ignore that completely. There were times when I let myself be taken in by the atmosphere but I refocussed right away. I think it worked very well to stay inside my bubble, otherwise I would not have had these results.
Can you tell us a little more about the cross-country races?
Gerard: The main idea was to position myself well because there are always people who try to get past you. I did not think it was going so fast, apart from the last laps when the race really got underway. Before this, during the first part of the race, there are mainly fights for the good positions and this is quite difficult as well. Only the very strong lead and of course I did not want to be at the very front either.
Which points do you still have to work on for the rest of the season?
Gerard: I still have to improve in the cross-country skiing. The best are better than me in this regard at the moment. But I also have to work on my race tactics. After jumping, I have to learn how to be better in the competition, to get even better.