Francesca Canepa speaks to Carreras de Montana

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa has recently spoken to Sergio Garasa at Carrerasdemontana on the alleged accusation of cheating at the 2014 Tor des Geants. Francesca was accused of using a car for a section of the Tor course and missing a checkpoint. Tor des Geants race officials have disqualified Francesca for missing the check point. Of course, many stories are on the internet and several publications have commented on the story.

The allegation of cheating came from runner, Paolo Rossi.

Here in this interview, Francesca provides an insight. Of course, this story may well run and run.

However, this is not the first allegation of cheating at an ultra and Francesca is not the only runner to be implicated. Franco Colle, this years Tor winner had accusations made against him last year. Accusations were made against Emilie Lecomte at the 2014 Ronda dels Cims (read HERE ). Ronda dels Cims responded HERE but ultimately I don’t think we are getting the full picture from some aspects of our sport. Pretty sure this will not be the last incident.

Other posts – read HERE and HERE

Our sport is changing, prize money is increasing but importantly, people have cheated even when no money is at stake. Ego’s need feeding and I am sure we can all recollect a story from the past… remember the gentleman who got a bus in the UK to cut out part of a road race? Or the guy who missed out a huge chunk of London Marathon by jumping the barriers?

I wonder, will ‘Spot Trackers’ or similar become part of mandatory kit? I know they are not fool proof but I am pretty sure we need to be aggressive now, nip it in the bud and avoid some of the issues that other sports have had.

I’d like to point out that I know Francesca in a professional capacity and I also know her manager, Renato. I have followed, watched and photographed and interviewed Francesca for over 2-years and I have seen her perform at the highest level against top quality fields.

I know only the facts that have been circulated in the media and of course, we now have Francesca speak in English in this video interview to at least provide an insight in her own words.

All video content ©Carrerasdemontana

Francesca posted on Facebook and says:

These past few days have been the most difficult and absurd of my life and I hope it is not difficult to understand that my thoughts have turned to stone. It is impossible for me to accept that I need to defend myself for something that, not only I never committed, but neither thought could be done by others.

To cheat makes no sense in our races and it makes no sense in life. 
My opinion has always been that if it is necessary to take a shortcut, maybe it would be more appropriate to take the easier route.

I have no need for shortcuts, I have never taken them and I do not want to take them in any area of my life.

In these two interviews I have stated, not my version of the truth, but the FACTUAL truth.
Ayone who has taken my silence as an admission of guilt does not know me.

I do not care. 

The only thing I know is that I will always be able to walk with my head held high and look people in the eye with a clear conscience.
Not everyone can do the same. 

Thanks to everyone who, with a message, a word or even a thought, has chosen to believe in me.

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com

You can watch the video interview, in English, HERE

A video interview and article in Italian was published at aostasera.it HERE

Here is a Google translate. Of course please keep in mind how a translation like this can somehow confuse the message and some finer points:

all content copyright ©aostesera.it

“I win all over the world without any problem and yet they are three years here I feel level accusations of all kinds: those of the past have been too much. Wrong, defamatory, offensive and bad.” The rain this night did not help Francesca Canepa to let off some steam accumulated yesterday afternoon, nor to freshen the air of the Tor des Giants, become heavy after the events that led to the withdrawal first and then to the disqualification of his official “Queen “. Today in Gressoney told us his version of the facts, again rejecting all allegations of irregularities and assuming legal action, even against the organization. “I will do everything possible in appropriate locations to protect my image – explained clearly still furious – this thing for sure does not go well, because this accusation has soiled my image has harmed me, my family and all that c ‘is around. “

The reconstruction of yesterday
The race of the winner of the last two editions has stopped at the base of life Donnas, where yesterday came shortly after 13 His coach, Renato Jorioz, informs immediately the rumors circulating now uncontrolled since early morning: “They say you took your car in Cogne, maybe there is a complaint by another athlete, risks disqualification. “Canepa bursts into tears for the voltage and is waiting to see what is happening. After two hours, then there is an official communication of the direction of travel, hand-delivered by two commissioners. “The process of disqualification in progress: the investigations are ongoing. The Clerk of the Course, having completed the necessary investigations, notify the disciplinary decisions taken. “At the risk of being stopped later, he decided to wait for further communication, however, come only after the 18 “Acquired officially the documentation relating to checks carried out by the race stewards Canepa was disqualified by the jury for not being transited at the control point Les Goilles in Cogne. “Meanwhile, dropped the ice between the athlete and the direction of travel. “It was not possible to explain the organization – says Canepa – because none of them asked us for our opinion. Nobody answered the phone when you were called.”

But what happened between the base life of Cogne and shelter Dream?
To reconstruct what happened we must go back a few hours. The yellow life begins at the base of Cogne, where the lead comes at 3 in the morning. Within an hour of entering and leaving the order trivel, Collé, Perez, Guillon, Rossi, Hollon, Le Saux. Then comes the first of the women, Francesca Canepa, who slips into the hall at 4.23: time to eat a little bit, rest a moment at 4:57 and is ready to restart. Hollon the preceding five minutes, Rossi follows her to the other five. The next point of that lap, with a swipe of the chip, it is the refuge Dream Berdzé at the base of the Fenêtre, a meeting point between the valleys of Cogne and Champorcher. First, however, there is a control point in Les Goilles, 2 km above Lillaz. “I made the journey as always – says Canepa – are transited to the point of Les Goilles, just that at that time there was no one outside. Then I took tea alone, because it was there, and I continued to dream. “

Accusations of Rossi
Al Rifugio Dondena, however, Paolo Rossi crosses Francesca Canepa, who stopped to sign autographs for the kids, and they start to rain the first allegations. “How was the trip from Cogne to Lillaz in the car?”, Attacks him, convinced that he was in front from Cogne and never to be exceeded. Canepa replica bewildered: “If you have any problems please contact the organization.” The voices of the quarrel began to circulate, as well as the hypothesis of a possible exposure to Rossi. In reality Canepa is output from the base life before him, the tables give the reason, he never passed because it was already in front of him. Maybe Rossi has not seen Canepa out, but may have seen the car away from the parking lot of his coach. With him was the doctor Marco Patacchini. “We took the private road to climb to the refuge – explains Jorioz – and we were also stopped by Forestry. In the car it was just us two. “In any case, at the end Rossi decides not to submit the complaint, the organization instead proceed with further verification, then that will lead to the disqualification of Francesca Canepa.

A loss of image for the Tor
Cuts of course, fights at high altitude, disqualifications: it is not the first time that the Tor des Giants is tinged with yellow. In 2010, at the end of the first edition, the mountaineer Abele Blanc was accused of having benefited from a shift to shorten the route. The following year the Swiss Marco Gazzola was disqualified even after you’ve already crossed the line and celebrated the victory, having missed the last inspection, the refuge Bertone, a few km from Courmayeur: his admission of guilt helped to quell the controversy . A similar dispute, without disciplinary action, however, the regularity of the steps to controls, was moved against Franco Collé last year, guilty of having shortened the path near the Rifugio Dondena. Yesterday on the grill is over Francesca Canepa, furious with an organization that after this latest episode is summoned and questioned by many. This morning, the Spanish athlete Salvador Calvo Redondo, who retired yesterday in Chardonnay, commented harshly the incident on his facebook page. “I broke the boxes, this has become a circus. If what happened last year was pathetic, this has passed.”

7 thoughts on “Francesca Canepa speaks to Carreras de Montana

  1. It sounds to me (though the translation is a little hard to follow) that the issue is that she allegedly caught a ride from Cogne. It sounds to me like she came INTO Cogne as the first woman. First of all, the first woman is usually running in or near a pack of men. How likely is it that she jumped into a car, and only one person saw her? Second, if she was in first to begin with, cheating at that point doesn’t seem very logical.

    Seems to me that Canepa has a good track record of being an exceptional runner, and that these accusations smack of sour grapes. I hope she doesn’t let this sully her attitude toward running.

    • She came in as first, but was passed in the aid. Actually no one saw her jumping into a car. The guy, Rossi, just said that he left cogne before her. And seeing her first at the next aid made him think she must have taken a car ride (gets clear in the video). So… now this guy has stated in a italian newspaper that hes not sure anymore. Great stuff -.-
      Apart from that, the reason she was disqualified is she was not logged in the adi between cogne and refugio dondena. Maybe an error by aid-volunteers. This stuff happens. Actually more likely, in my mind, then someone taking a car…

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  3. I must say i fully agree with you Ian in the absolute urgency of GPS tracking at all ultras, of not for security reasons over all Runners, at least for the elite to help ensure FairPlay. On the other hand, being eyewitness to all this, i was terrible disappointed by the “tifossi” attitude of Many a runner, eventos downright active hate of the other side runners 😦

    • Sergio, in these situations, the ‘Tifosi’ nature of runners and press is always a problem. The need for news and the eagerness to post is always a balance act. Ultimately, for me, one has to remember that a runner and career is at stake. So, acknowledging the ‘dilemma’ but being impartial is key. Not to address Francesca’s situation would be remise, however, to draw conclusions from very sparse info would also be reckless.
      Without doubt, a spot tracker or similar is the way forward and I see this almost becoming mandatory kit in future races. For sure, the longer the race, the more the need for the tracker. As you say, it’s a safety thing too. But on a course that goes for 100+ miles, the opportunity to take a short cut is always going to be available. We need to address that.
      99% of people in our sport are honest and understand that the race is a challenge, something to endure and triumph over. However, the pressures are increasing and the ‘need’ for results may well cloud the lines between right and wrong. I make no accusations here but human nature is not foolproof and as such we need to look after the 1% and not the 99%.
      C’est la vie!
      Great job on getting the video interview with Francesca out in English.

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  5. This all just seems so odd to me. She contends when she came through the aid station nobody was there. She gave very detailed descriptions of what was there. This should be very easily verifiable – do her descriptions match? Do her times between checkpoints make sense? And do the aid station people admit not being there or being asleep during that time? No runner should ever be disqualified because an aid station is empty! You are suffering, not in a great mental state – and the race organization expects them to start walking around yelling to find someone to check them in???

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