"The French team did not doubt!"
TUESDAY TALK: Maxime Laheurte (FRA)
Although the first four World Cups of the season have been a little bit of an up and down for the French team with the top results being out of reach even for superstar Jason Lamy Chappuis in some competitions, the French athletes are not worried. Team World Champion Maxime Laheurte spoke to NordicMagazine about his opinion on results so far, the mood in the team and the upcoming home World Cup in Chaux-Neuve at the beginning of January.
Maxime, after four World Cup competitions in the season of 2013/14 so far, we have seen you deliver good and less good results in ski jumping and cross-country skiing respectively. What is your personal assessment after the first part of the season?
Maxime Laheurte: Well, it's a bit of a mixed picture. On one day, it's the jumping which is not too bad and the next day it will be the opposite. On the weekend in Schonach, for example, my cross-country skiing was fine. I have caught up more than 20 ranks on Sunday but unfortunately, I forgot to put my transponders on! There are always positive things to be found and I rely on that to move forward and become better. I have finished in the Top 25 in the last four competitions. I am a regular in these ranks and there is not much missing to be ahead of that group.
For sure, this is not an ideal start into the season for me but this does nothing to take my chances for the rest of the season away. On the contrary, I am really looking forward to the upcoming competitions and to grab as many good positions as I can.
Your home World Cup in Chaux-Neuve is on schedule soon. How important is it to have this time for relaxation over Christmas and the new year?
Laheurte: It is not necessary that important to rest now because we have just had four competition but it's a good moment to release the pressure of the first competitions. We will go and train on the hill in the off-period to work on the little things that still need improving. It is also great that Jason won the last competition in Schonach. It is very encouraging for us.
Has there been a period of doubt in the French team lately? After Jason's victory in Lillehammer, the results have been slow to come.
Laheurte: No, there is no doubt because we know that we are not jumping badly. We are not in a bad shape, there are just some small adjustments that need to be made, some things to refine. We can also see that the other competitors are in great shape and the density of performances at the top level has increased. You pay dearly for the smallest mistake on the hill now. One jump can mean missing the competition because you did not qualify within the Top 50 and with three metres more, you find yourself in the Top Ten. Everything is possible! There is no big difference and this is also why we do not doubt.
Between Christmas and the New Year, we are still in the period for wishes for 2014… what do you wish for?
Laheurte: I would like to get all the small details set to put together this delicate clockwork for the Olympic Winter Games in February.
Interview courtesy of NordicMagazine (French)