Canadian biathletes got on a superb run towards the Beijing Olympics as they finished fifth in the men’s 4 x 7.5km relay at the Antholz-Anterselva World Cup on Sunday in Italy.
Canada was tentatively ninth after Adam Runnalls’ first stint. Christian Gow then put his team back in sixth place by being perfect in shooting, without needing extra balls. The Albertan then handed over to Jules Burnotte who knocked down his ten targets with an extra ball in a standing position. It was in fifth place that the Sherbrooke resident gave the touchline to Scott Gow who was able to maintain this rank despite a missed target.
“We’re really happy and it’s a great last race before the Games! We’re 25 seconds off the podium and that’s about the time it takes to do a penalty loop, so that’s super encouraging. It’s our best result since a bad end!”, commented the Quebecer, visibly delighted, in an interview with Sportcom.
In December 2019, Burnotte, Aidan Millar and the Gow brothers took fourth place at the World Cup in Hochfilzen (Austria).
In the past, Burnotte has often been the first runner, which is not really the case this season. He admits that his new starting order brings a different dynamic.
“I saw it going and I was stressed. (…) During the warm-up, I said to myself that it should not be me who lets the team down [dimanche]“, he continued, adding that he was able to put this pressure aside.
“I’m really happy with my shot, even if it was a bit slow. My last lap was really difficult and the Russian (Alexandr) Loginov ate me on the last lap. I did what I could to stay with him and managed to hand over to Scott in fifth position. […] Despite his penalty loop in the prone shot, it did not get us out of the top 6.
The Norwegians won ahead of the formations of Russia (+1 min 57.2 s) and Germany (+2:04.4). As for the Canadians, they trailed by 2:31.5.
Burnotte and his teammates will remain in Italy for another week before leaving for Beijing. A bit like a child who opens his advent calendar in December, the biathlete sees that he gets a little closer to the start of the Games every day.
“We received a t-shirt (from the Canadian Olympic Committee) that we will have to wear for our trip to China. It’s a lot of little things like that that make it start to feel a little more real. When I started the sport, I never thought about the Games and there, we are getting closer to this event. The last race is done and now all we have to think about are the Games!”