He is the Team Leader of the Team de France. The captain. Sylvain Flachaire, who also works at the Federal Technical Direction (DTF), presents the tricolor selection of these World Championships at home. Despite the difficulties of preparation related to the lack of snow, he is confident.


“We are eagerly awaited”

Snow World Championships for the first time in France: how do you feel?? 
This is a very big event, a major meeting that involves a great responsibility for the Federation but especially for the organizer. France has already organized a European Championship on snow in the Fourgs in 2014 and a European Championship on land at Lamotte Beuvron in 2015 with 390 riders. It is an immense privilege to host these championships because there were many serious candidates like Russia or Italy. There, we are eagerly awaited! The IFSS has granted them to France because the Bessans site is fantastic and the Lekkarod has already proven itself on its organizational capacities.
France presents a big selection with about 70 starters in the different categories, what is your state of mind?
MS Ski-Joëring Lekkarod 2018

Mass Start Ski-joering Lekkarod 2018

Yes, 65 riders for 70 starts with skiers who will line up on several races. This is of course the world championship effect. We had a lot of applications to participate. The goal of the technical directors and the committee was to be able to benefit a maximum of French riders of this opportunity. These championships are for our riders the opportunity to express themselves and to rub at the highest level, it is a unique opportunity. Some will be able to calibrate, others will experience the high level and others will fight for a title. Involving a lot of people helps to motivate the licensees towards more competitiveness and more desire to improve. This pulls the level up. It is a showcase for our sport and there is as in all sports the impact on the number of licensees in the future, it is never negligible. In addition, the media coverage will be abundant!

In which categories will you be most expected?
We have in France a large pool of very good mushers in Nordic. This is a bit of the specificity of the “southern” countries of Europe and France in particular. We have a lot of open runners who can pull out of the game, in 6, 8 or half distance. The 4 dogs are very open too.
What are our chances of podium, and who are the favorites?
We hope for a complete podium in Nordic ski-joëring, open big category where France is not a leading country as the country Norway cross-country skiing par excellence. Jean Lou Galissi is the taulier for our skiers …
In 4 dogs, we also expect Hoffer at the Nordiques. In open, our leader Quentin Soulier is absent. Faced with Goris or Tracz (Poland), our mushers will be a little outsiders.
Sprint 6 Nordic dogs, big hopes on Damien Langlois. In open, Julie Bloch or Dominique Couvelard will have to fight against Kempe (Finland), Donker (Netherlands), and the Canadian Kate Dagenais. Big category in perspective!
In 8 dogs Laurent Berge should be able to surprise us, he will also have work against Lehtomäki (Finland) or Wirtz (Switzerland). In Nordic, our Logeais and Labouré should grab the bet.
Side sled, we expect a lot of Isabelle Lemoine mid-distance 6 dogs, and Valerie Maumon Nordic.
In 12 dogs Stéphane Lepine and Christophe Caron will have to rub the Czech Pfeifer, and German Dickel and Ulrich. Many big names …

Difficult preparation, but strong morale

How did you prepare these championships as Team Leader?
A lot of work to inform our athletes, answer their many questions, build the teams, juggle the categories to have more provided or validated … Big difficulties to prepare because we could not organize a selection race , due to the lack of snow at the beginning of the season. This poses problems when making choices between equivalent runners … Also prepare relays with specific problems, and find pulkaistes, which is rare in our latitudes. There have also been a lot of small sores on a lot of teams that pose a problem to our riders, we must often reassure their performance. Few were able to train on snow and do a preparation race. Everyone needs to keep a high moral.

Sylvain Flachaire, Lekkarod2017

You yourself, Sylvain, you will start in mid-distance 6 dogs, what is your personal goal?
For 3 seasons I have specified on the mid distance, demanding discipline in terms of training, dog care, preparation and time. I try to devote a maximum to dogs. My “second job”, the DTF absorbing me a lot … I must always run against time and reduce sleep time. It’s sometimes a bit hard to lead everything together. Alchemy is never obvious. My partner encourages me a lot. However, I remain motivated regardless of the weather conditions and the vagaries of life. Mushing teaches us to relativize and go to basics and keep our feet on the ground. I started having dogs in 1986 and running in competition in 1989. 30 years later, I still have the same desire to run with dogs! It makes you stay young and that takes up a good part of your life. It’s really a way of life and I do not regret anything. Long live France and long live mushing at Bessans! It’ll be cold, it’ll be great, and it’ll be fun. Well I was fourth last year in Italy at the European Championship, a small top 5 would be enough to my happiness. Wait and see!


le site web #ifssBessans2019

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