Just 12 hours before the start of the Dolomites Vertical Kilometer, Canazei was under heavy rain and thunderstorms. As we all looked up to the summit finish, the same thought passed through each end every mind; I hope it clears up for tomorrow!
Clear up it did and on the stroke of 10am, the Vertical Kilometer opened the 2013 ISF Skyrunning European Championships. Covering 1000 vertical meters in just 2.4km, Canazei is regarded as one of the toughest vk’s on the circuit and it most certainly did not disappoint.
A last minute entry from Saul Antonio Padua, winner of the VK in Mont Blanc added some last minute spice. He was here to win, no doubt, but he wasn’t going to have it easy. Kilian Jornet fresh from another victory, this time at the Ice Trail Tarentaise was looking in great form. Urban Zemmer who had a disappointing run at Mont Blanc was here to put the record straight and this course would suit his brute force. Tadei Pivk, fourth at Zegama would also be a contender, Augusti Roc and Kilian’s Chamonix-Mont Blanc-Chamonix buddy; Matheo Jacquemond would also be pushing at the front.
From the gun, Saul Antonio Padua placed his cards on the table and dictated the pace closely followed by all the contenders. Bent double, each and every runner battled the gradients. But Saul Antonio seemed to be too keen for the win… slowing from his effort, Urban Zemmer went past him and pushed hard. Closely followed Philip Gotsch and of course, Kilian Jornet. With 300m to go they were lined out moving in harmony, right leg, left leg as both arms worked together as though connected by a brace to help provide the force through poles to get up the gradient as fast as possible.
Through the large inflatable arch at the Col, Kilian Jornet made his move, sprinting past the two contenders for the crown he produced an all out effort, relegating Zemmer to second and Gotsch to third.
The ladies started five minutes after the men and pre race favorite and 2012 winner, Antonella Confortola took the lead. Two poles outstretched in front of her she powered herself up the 1000m of elevation. If you ever need an example of how to use poles, watch Antonella.
Emelie Forsberg is relatively new to VK but her all around ability and strength was shining through, her victory at last weeks Ice Trail Tarentaise was causing her no problems as she pursued Antonella. Iva Milesova was a surprise third place very closely pursued by Silvia Serafini. The first two podium places were guaranteed barring a disaster but the third place was up for grabs, could Silvia put in a surge and make up ground in the final 100-150 meters. A final turn confronted each participant with a vertical wall of grass. Iva surged as Silvia surged and the gap was held, the final podium place be rewarded to Iva Milesova.
Attention now turns to Sunday and the Sky Race. Many VK runners will toe the line in Canazei come Sunday morning, will they have recovered and who are your predictions?
The final European Skryunning ranking is based on the sum of the highest points scored in two out of three events. The national title is based on the score of the first three men and one woman in all three events.
Follow Sunday’s second championship event with the Dolomites SkyRace® – a fast and technical 22 km course, it rises from Canazei to the 3,152m summit of the Piz Boè and back. Snow will be among the technical features the all-star line up will look forward to – for some of the eighteen countries participating, a first.
- Kilian Jornet 32:43 – SPA – * new course record
- Urban Zemmer 32:50 – ITA
- Philip Gotsch 32:54 – ITA
- Antonella Confortola 41:02 – ITA
- Emelie Forsberg 43:01 – SWE
- Iva Milesova 43:09 – CZE
Vertical medal count
1. Italy 314 points
2. Spain 268 points
3. France 240 points
More information at http://www.skyrunning.com