RUHPOLDING, Germany – As has been the case so many times this week, the Canadian men’s team was simply not satisfied after the 20 k World Championships individual on Tuesday.
“The course was nice,” Jean Phillipe Le Guellec told FasterSkier, struggling to find some positive notes from the race.
His performance, he said, was not one of them.
“My shooting was just – there was nothing I could do,” he lamented. “You can’t come in too hard to the range, it’s impossible to do because you have that long downhill. There was no wind. It was easy conditions. I have no excuse, I have no idea what the hell happened. They just didn’t go down.”
Le Guellec, who finished 14th in the sprint, usually paces the Canadian team – and without partner in crime Brendan Green, the squad has relied on him more than ever this week for strong results.
But in the individual, where errors are penalized by a minute of added time rather than a 150 meter penalty loop, Le Guellec missed six shots over four stages. He didn’t have a single clean five-target bout.
That dropped the Shannon, Quebec, native to 71st, the last of the Canadian men.
Instead of Le Guellec, the team was led by Scott Perras, who missed three shots and placed 45th.
“It was definitely my best race so far, mostly because of the shooting,” Perras told FasterSkier. “I got to ski around a lot of good guys, so that definitely helped me out in the early part. My form is not quite where I want it to be still. I don’t know why.”
After finishing in the top 30 in a pair of sprints earlier this season, including in Oslo just three weeks ago, Perras had high expectations that he was peaking for World Championships. But he placed 50th in the sprint and 54th in the pursuit, and has felt sluggish all week.
“In between Christmas and now I felt good,” he said. “It was nice, and then here, it’s just rough during the days even when I’m not skiing. The skiing is actually better than the other 23 hours of the day. I was just hoping for more.”
Nathan Smith finished 61st and Marc-Andre Bedard 69th with four penalties apiece.
For Le Guellec, even though the race was a disappointment, he was perhaps not as frustrated as he might have been in other years. At the end of last season, Le Guellec came down with mononucleosis and missed several months of training.
“Coming into the season I had no expectations whatsoever,” he explained. “I had to take two months off after the season, and then obviously you get sort of de-trained in a way. After that I was doing zone one and I was going like 180 [beats per minute heart rate]! I was going bonkers.
“So I’m happy with the season,” Le Guellec concluded. “My Worlds started strong, but they ended with a – I wouldn’t say a bad note, but I was hoping for better. Right now I only have half the training load that most people had for the last year, so we’ll see. The relay is on Friday, and I’ll try to have fun then and just enjoy the rest of them.”