The Skyrunner® World Series continued at a pace today with the first edition of the High Tral Vanoise, a 67.4km race with 5355m altitude starting and concluding in the stunning location of Val d’Isere, France.
This race in many ways personifies Skyrunning with a combination of fast trails, technical trails, snow, ice and altitude. The course has many key features with highlights coming at Col de Fresse (2500m), Le Panoramic (3000m) the highest point of the course, Grande Motte (3500m) and then a rollercoaster of climbs and descents that finally culminates with Aiguille Pers (2800m) before dropping down to the Col Iseran before the final push to the line.
Departing under darkness at 0400, it was very apparent that a warm and hot day lay ahead. However, the early hours were always going to be chilly ones, especially as the runners climbed from just under 2000m to Grande Motte at 3500m+ in the first 17.5km. In the early stages, a small group of runners pushed the pace lead by Russian Dimitry Mityaev, Nicolas Martin and Fulvio Dapit. In the ladies race, Anne-Lise Rousset opened up a gap very early in the race that would prove instrumental, Maud Gobert, Anna Comet and Gemma Arenas followed but were already some way behind.
From the summit of Grande Motte, the arrival of sunlight facilitated the long fast descent past Lac de Tignes all the way to La Daille at approximately 34km. By now the runners were spread out all over the course with Dimity and Anne-Lise leading the respective male and female fields.
A 4km climb to Lac Sassier was followed with a rollercoaster descent to Le Fornet at 46km, Dimitry was still first but Nicolas was on his heals and now Marcin Swierc had taken up the chase with Fulvio Dapit in 4th. Anne-Lise Rousset was now in her own race, leading Maud Gobert by 30-minutes with Anna Comet several minutes behind in 3rd. The French lady was running so fast she hovered between 5th and 6th placed man – incredible!
Now the action was really unfolding and arguably, the next section of the course from Le Fornet to Aiguille Pers via Tete Cema was going to be instrumental as this section climbed for 10km with an altitude gain of 1400m +/-. Dimity finally crumbled with Nicolas taking the lead and then finally Marcin moved into 2nd, Dimity had a good lead over Fulvio though; would he hold on?
Aiguille Pers blanketed in snow made an impact on the race and the stunning blue skies provided a stark contrast to the white snow as the early morning sun beat down. Nicolas and Anne-Lise were the first male and female to the summit.
From the summit a fast descent to the iconic Col Iseran was followed by a short climb with technical sections before passing through a tunnel through the mountains which was followed by a fast drop to the line and finish in Val d’Isere.
The overall standings for the first 3 men and ladies didn’t change now – Nicolas Martin took a great victory in 9:28:34. Added to his podium place at Transvulcania and the DNF of SWS leader, Cristofer Clemente, Nicolas now leads the 2016 ranking. Marcin Swierc placed 2nd in 9:31:59 and Dimity Mityaev held off Fulvio Dapit for 3rd in 9:36:31.
Anne-Lise Rousset dominated the ladies performance with a stunning victory in 10:13:00 which ranked her 6th overall. Maud Gobert and Anna Comet placed 2nd and 3rd in 11:04:21 and 11:09:30.
The Alpina Watch prizes were awarded to Anne-Lise Rousset and Fulvio Dapit for their times to the summit of Grande Motte based on a clever equation that takes into account age.
The final big news is that the respective winners, both French, received a BMW car for 1-year!
Full results available HERE
Attention now turns to the Dolomites next weekend for the iconic VK and SKY races – the SWS 2016 rolls on at a pace!
About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.
The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.
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