Cross-country skiing | Thibaut Chêne: “I will try to continue the work of Cyril Burdet” | Nordic Mag | # 1 Biathlon

Cross-country skiing: Thibaut Chêne’s first statements after his appointment as coach of the sprint group

This Tuesday afternoon, Thibaut oak was nominated by Eric LazzaroniSBB DTN e Olivier Michaudhead of the French cross-country skiing teams, men’s sprint group coach. A new position for those who, for eight years, have led the tricolor cross-country skiers to the highest levels, and in particular to the World Cup podium for Delphine Claudel.

For Nordic magazine, Thibaut oak he retraces the reasons for his appointment and takes stock, with emotion, of his work at the head of the women’s group. Maintenance.

  • How did you come to be appointed coach of the sprint group of the French men’s cross-country skiing team?

It was a real trip because, yeah, I didn’t necessarily expect Cyril [Burdet] interrupts his missions with the sprinters. Then, while I was arguing, I realized that after eight years with the women’s team, I have always given everything to advance the girls. We have not always succeeded in everything, but I did it with the heart. At the same time, the opportunity came to take charge of this sprint group. Cyril told me that he saw me well in this position, Olivier Michaud [directeur des équipes de France de ski de fond, NDLR] also. From that moment on, I made up my mind. I think it was a good time for me and the girls to change the operation and the setting.

Thibaut Chêne (FRA) – SBB
  • What state of mind are you in when you accept this new mission?

It is with a strong sense of responsibility and a lot of humility that I will try to continue the work of Cyril Burdet. It’s an honor because he left me one of the best teams in the world. I’ll have to be up to it. I will do everything to support France as best I can and beat all my opponents. It’s obvious.

“I adapt to the athletes I have in front of me based on their specificities”Thibaut Chêne to Nordic Magazine

  • What attracted you to the sprint group?

The challenge of trying to advance this team, these guys that I have seen evolve in recent years within the French teams. I have a lot of love for them. I love the moments of the sprint in the World Cup, I also love the distance and I realize that they are a versatile team that will look for different formats. It is very intellectually stimulating.

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Richard Jouve (FRA), Lucas Chanavat (FRA) – Modica / NordicFocus
  • Finally, we will move from a women’s group made up of spacers and sprinters to a men’s group where it will be a bit the same thing …

I will end up with a group where there will be sprinters and handymen [rires] ! It’s global cross-country skiing the way I like it. Then I go from girls to boys, but I’ve never really trained women with a special recipe. I adapt to the athletes in front of me based on their specificities. I am a pragmatic person.

“Cyril Burdet is someone I respect and who is very rich intellectually. He stimulated me a lot and taught me a lot. I love it “Thibaut Chêne to Nordic Magazine

  • The advantage is that you already know all the members of the group: you will not be confused …

Sure! I have been racing in the World Cup for more than three years, sharing all the moments of the competition. We are lucky in cross-country skiing to have the same circuit for girls and boys. So I spent a lot of time arguing with the staff and had a lot of affinity with Cyril Burdet. He is someone I respect and who is very rich intellectually. He stimulated me a lot and taught me a lot. I love it. It is a continuity because I know the athletes through the staff.

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Richard Jouve (FRA), Cyril Burdet (FRA) – Modica / NordicFocus
  • Is the pressure greater for the sprint group coach than for the women’s group?

I think there are more, that’s for sure. It is a much denser group in the World Cup. Inevitably, the expectation is stronger. I will have more pressure and light, but I will have the same total commitment that I put with the girls.

“I am very proud of my record with girls, but I would have liked to do more, to go further by winning the Olympic medal in Beijing”Thibaut Chêne to Nordic Magazine

  • To go back to your eight years at the helm of French women’s cross-country skiing, there must be immense pride in leading it from next to nothing on Delphine Claudel’s podium …

The sector and the women’s group are part of me. It is a huge part of my life. I have and will always have an emotional connection with these girls. They are the ones who brought me to the coach that I am. I owe him a lot, especially Delphine Claudel. We have formed a strong couple. We had to rebuild a lot. Eight years seems like a lot, but we’ve been working together since they were 16, 17, 18! We have spent most of our life together. It was one of the most important moments of my life.

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Thibaut Chêne (FRA), Delphine Claudel (FRA) – Modica / NordicFocus
  • How do you evaluate your budget?

I am very proud of it, but I would have liked to have done more, to go further by winning the Olympic medal in Beijing. We believed in it, sometimes more than others, doing a lot of work behind the scenes. There has been a lot of criticism and tough times, but I’m extremely proud of it. I keep smiling, telling myself that when they receive this medal, I hope to still be on the staff to experience it. I will do everything to make the transition with Alexandre Pouyé go well.

  • It must have been difficult to end this adventure, a great chapter in your life …

It was difficult and he did something … Emotionally, it was a strong moment because it took me a lot of mine.


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