Top notch ski mountaineering was on display today in Val Martello (Bolzano). The best world-class ski mountaineering athletes added a little spice to the 5th edition of the Marmotta Trophy. Only two events short of the end of the World Championship, the French team left little room for others on the top spot of the podium.
The Marseilles was played to accompany a top-form William Bom Mardion to the podium, after the French ace got the better of the Spanish talent Kilian Jornet Burgada. The French flag flew higher also for the ladies race: a spectacular Laetitia Roux consolidated her world championship lead by beating her Spanish rival, Mireia Mirò Varela.
The French, though, did not settle for the prestigious double and celebrated the “little big” Matheo Jaquemoud, who finished third in the top men’s race and third among the espoir.
The day that opened this morning in Val Martello would have been perfect on a postcard, after the Saturday night rain at the bottom of the valley and snow on the mountain slopes. The sky was a perfect blue, the temperature was mild, while the sun welcomed the over 350 contestants, a record-breaking number at the Marmotta Trophy. The first to start were the cadets, who were also the first to finish given the shorter course. The race saw Thomas Corthay and Alba De Silvestro win the gold.
Twenty minutes later it was the turn for junior athletes and the ladies’ event; the course was similar to the men’s senior one, though it did not include the uphill and downhill Cima Marmotta stretches. The Junior saw the undisputed supremacy of Anton Palzer (GER) who was so dominant that the runner-up, Nadir Maguet, crossed the finish line 4’ after. The one and only contestant at the ladies’ race was the Swiss Jennifer Fiechter who finished the race over 10’ ahead of the runner-up.
Among the ladies, Laetitia Roux immediately took the lead, in a head-to-heads race with the Spaniard Mireia Mirò Varela. If on the uphill stretch the Spaniard came very close to passing Roux, a sore knee forced her to let go of her grip going downhill, though she never gave up. The last downhill stretch put an end to the race; the final winner stepped on the gas and ended 1’52” before the Spanish contestant.
Obviously the men’s race was the most anticipated. It lived up to its reputation with an incredible starting line-up and a furious start. From the very first moments the race was furiously tackled by the two usual suspects, Jornet Burgada and Bon Mardion. It soon came down to Spain vs. France, with “Manni” Manfred Reichegger in the distance, unable to keep with the staggering pace. Halfway through the race the young French Jacquemoud approached the Alto Adige athlete and immediately proved to be a tough contestant. Just a moment before the French had passed Holzknecht and Lanfranchi in a single move. Not too bad for his young age.
The two leaders forced the pace gradually and formed a gap of over two minutes between them and the rest. Two downhill stretches short of the end Bon Mardion took the lead of the race with a sleight of hand; the French was a tad more daring than Jornet Burgada and came at the feet of the last of three mountaineering stretches ahead by a few metres. Going uphill, though, the skis strapped to the back, Jornet Burgada passed his French opponent. Was this the end? Of course not. At the last slope graciously thrashed the Catalan with his off-piste stunts and crossed the finish line with no rush and in great style. The winner had to wait 22” before seeing Jornet Burgada slide under the “Vingschau” banner. The fight for the third place between Reichegger and Jaquemoud was harsh; the French was swifter than his Alto Adige opponent and finished third, first among the espoir.
Behind them came Holzknecht, Lanfranchi, Antonioli, Gachet, Anthamatten and Ecoeur.