„I will fight for the Top 10 this winter!“
TUESDAY TALK: Francois Braud (FRA)
With a successful summer and an overall third rank in the Summer Grand Prix, French team leader Francois Braud is starting into the new season some positive affirmation. TUESDAY TALK caught up with the 30-year-old to chat about new goals, the training so far and the staggering loss that the French team had to cope with just now.
Looking back at the Summer Grand Prix, you finished on a career-best overall third position, stepping on to the podium on the very last day. How much confidence does such a success give for the rest of the winter preparation?
Francois Braud: Yes, it is my best result ever in the Summer Grand Prix. It’s great to feel that I am still improving and progressing, even at age 30! (laughs) It is very encouraging and that gives me a lot of motivation and energy to attack this new season.
Did you feel like you were performing on a better level than in the past summers?
Braud: We emphasized the jump this summer and so, my level became more and more stable. This allows me to be in a better place after the jumping event, so yes I would say that my level is a notch above where I was last year.
In the past two winters, you finished quite stably within the Top 15 of the overall World Cup. Can you tell us a bit about your goals for next winter, in regards to the overall World Cup but of course also for the World Championships in Lahti?
Braud: That’s right, for the past two years, I was able to be among the Top 15 in the world, as well as sone podium and my medals from Falun 2015. In the upcoming winter, I would like to fight more often to go up on the podiums work my way up to the Top 10 of the World Cup. And to keep my medals in the world championships of Lathi would be pretty great, too! (laughs)
How will you spend the last few weeks until the season starts in Ruka?
Braud: We returned from the new jumping hills in Kandersteg just now where we made the transition to jump on ice for three days. Now I have a little of rest at my home this week and then we move into the direction of Oberhof. We are also going participate in the German nationals and I would like to thank them very much for the invitation. Then, at the beginning of November they will make a snow track in Prémanon where we are going to ski. We are staying in France until November 20th.
The past week has been a difficult one with the French team as you all have to cope with the loss of your former service tech Quentin Blondeau. Would you like to say a couple of words on behalf of the team?
Braud: We lost a dear friend who was with us for two years. He was a part of the Nordic Combined family. All the team and I also think the Nordic Combined community in general was very shocked and stricken. I would like to express my deepest condolences to his family, to his girlfriend and friends and I would want to tell them that we, the athletes and his former colleagues are going to fight to honor him in the upcoming winter. And I hope that since he is up in heaven now, he will give a hand to us so that we always slide faster. (smiles) Bye bye, Quentixxxxxxx!