Lucas Basset was, with the Bulgarian Kiril Nikolov and Ivaylo Kamenarov, the trio of athletes who managed to grant a presence in all the finals of the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2015, which is worthy of note. But if we add to this the two amazing medals won by the French in the Middle Distance and Relay, then we have here a great achievement. The Portuguese Orienteering Blog talked with the athlete in the aftermath of the competition and bring to you the result of a nice conversation.
How was your training time? Did you feel well prepared for the WOC? What goals have you drawn?
Lucas Basset (L. B.) - The training towards WOC started last September with the 1st Training Camp in Scotland with the French team. I immediately got a great feeling with the terrain and I felt the motivation grew higher and higher. During this Camp, I also beat Thierry [Gueorgiou] for the first time ever. He was maybe the only guy who I had never beaten in a single competition or timed-training, so it was a good motivation too (laughs). After that I train well and had neither injury nor sickness during the whole winter. The last month before WOC, I felt I was in good shape and after our last Training Camp, two weeks before the competition start, I understood I could be a challenger for a top10 place at Middle Distance. But not better.
Would you like to talk about your amazing silver Medal in the Middle Distance, only three seconds behind the gold? Did you expect it?
L. B. - The race was great from a technical point of view. Some seconds lost here and there going out from controls or being some meters away from the fastest line, but I didn't make any mistake attacking the controls. They were always placed where I imagined they should be, and the speed seemed to be okay, even if I didn’t feel so great throughout the course. Maybe because I pushed quite hard. Getting into the finish, I was delighted to see I had done such a good race on D-Day, when it really mattered. When Daniel Hubmann came to the finish, beating me by only 3 seconds and saying to the speaker he have had a great race, then I started to wonder: "What the hell is going on?". The feelings are impossible to describe!
And what about the bronze in the Relay? What feelings do you keep from the race?
L. B. - Considering the changes in our team, with Thierry deciding to skip the Relay one month before the WOC, Philippe [Addamski] taking in place but injuring himself at the beginning of WOC and Vincent [Coupat] jumping in, fifteen hours before the start, we didn't really know what to expect. But we kept our heads calm, ran as fast and as straight as we could, and the result was beyond our own expectations! Seeing Vincent taking his head in his hands of disbelief when Fredo [Frederic Tranchand] crossed the finish line in a bronze medal position was the best of all!
Are you happy with the 9th place in the Long Distance?
L. B. - The long distance was like a bonus for me, already before the WOC, but even more after the good races at Middle and Relay. Still, I am really happy to having been able to refocus, to avoid mistakes and especially to having been able to enjoy so much the race. I really felt privileged during the race, running in a beautiful terrain on such a demanding course, with already two medals around my neck, and finishing in the Top 10. That was the cherry on the cake!
I stayed calm, ran at a pace I was comfortable with, and therefore never hit the wall. I never thought my speed would be so close to the winner's, which is why I am actually even more surprised by my result at the Long, than by both the Middle and the Relay.
What motivation these results represent for the future?
L. B. - Of course, when you experience such amazing feelings, you want to live these moments again, and it gives motivation to train harder for next year! But, at the same time, it is kind of an accomplishment, so I could stop my career right now (laughs). Only joking of course!
And what about the French team? Overall, what results do you highlight?
L. B. - Well, I guess we can be happy with our results! Thierry winning the long and Fredo being so close to the medal, ended the week in a perfect way! We were a bit disappointed by our performances at the Sprint but that was quickly forgotten. I would like to thank all the staff who made a perfect job throughout the week and, of course, before, with the preparation. A special thank you to Philippe also, really unlucky for his last WOC and unable to run any "good-bye" race but still behind us, supporting us the best he could and enjoying our performances as much as if it would be his! A great team-mate!
How do you rate the WOC 2015 from a technical and organizational point of view?
L. B. - WOC 2015 was amazing for me and I enjoyed every moment. I really enjoyed all the forest races and had fun on the terrains they chose. Especially the Long Distance will be something to remember. I was also positively surprised by the Sprint Mixed Relay, whose course was great. I don't want to complain about the organization since I enjoyed myself so much, but of course it was not perfect. Something I want to underline is that the Sprint was not as good as it could have been. Letting us visit the city as much as we want is not good for the sport, and making an easy course without using any artificial fences was really disappointing. Why don't organizers completely forbid the access to the Sprint areas? Orienteers are not cheaters, if it is what they feared.
If I asked you a moment - the great achievement of the Championships -, what would your choice be?
L. B. - Of course, I would like to pick our surprising bronze medal at the Relay, which is something no one would have bet money on. But still I am involved in it, let's say the Great Achievement of the WOC would be Denmark's "easy way" to gold on both the Sprint Mixed Relay and the girls Relay: Impressive!
The season is approaching to the end. What are the goals for what remains of the season?
L. B. - I will not take part in the World Cup final round since I will probably go to South Korea with the French military team for the Military World Games. So, we can say this is the season’s next goal.
[Photo: World of O / twitter.com/worldofo]