Vertical Kilometer Bellevarde Face 2014 – Race Preview

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Val d’Isere has a great history with the Vertical Kilometer, way back in ‘96’ the ISF were the first to organize a VK here!

A time lapse of 9-years since 2005 and Val d’Isere has re connected with the ethos of the VK using the Olympic Bellevarde Face. For many years, Marco De Gasperi held the VK world record here of 34-minutes and 41-seconds until the Italian was dethroned by a fellow countryman and VK specialist; Urban Zemmer.

The Vertical Kilometer has traditionally started at the foot of the Olympic Bellevarde face on “the board” in the heart of the Parc des Sports Charles Diebold in the center Val d’Isere.

The route then takes the greater part of what was the route of the men’s downhill Olympic Winter Games ski route (1992), won by Austrian Patrick Ortlieb.

It’s a tough course; 2.9Km’s in length and reaches an altitude of 2809m. Average gradients over the course are 35%, however, in places it reaches 63% as presented in the first hundred meters.

Including steep passages at 49% and 56% gradient, the sting comes with the famous passage of the Columbine at 55%. Followed by gentle slopes of the Great Wall (51%) a refreshment station is provided before the push to the line passing ‘Catherine Dent’ (50%) and then a finish loop passes the Bellevarde restaurant and the arrival is at a wooden start cabin at an altitude of 2809m.

Records: 

Men: Marco DE GASPERI (ITA) en 34’51” (2003)

Women: Antonella CONFORTOLA (ITA) en 42’48” (2002) 

Stats: 

  • Finish Elevation: 2 809 m
  • Length: 2 905 m
  • Altitude gain: 1000 m
  • Maximum Gradient: 63 %
  • Minimum Gradient: 15 %
  • Average Gradient: 35 %

The Vertical Kilometer Bellevarde Face is part of the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series and will be followed by the Ice Trail Tarentaise 2-days later (preview for the ITT HERE)

Who is racing in 2014?

MEN

Urban Zemmer

Urban Zemmer

Urban Zemmer is a VK specialist and this course will suit his style. Urban is odds on favourite for victory.

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Aritz Egea

Aritz Egea a consistent performer in mountain races over the Sky distance, his recent top placing at the Mont-Blanc VK bodes well.

Marco Facchinelli like Zemmer specializes in the VK distance and he was 2nd in the Skyrunner® World Series 2013. Withdarwn

Marco Moletto finished offthe 2013 Skyrunner® World Series podium with 3rd place and therefore will be in contention in Val d’Isere.

Ferran Texeido

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Augusti Roc currently 4th in the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series

Nil Cardona

Marc Casal Mir

Oscar Casal Mir

David Garcia

Marc Pinsach

 

LADIES

Laura Orgue

Laura Orgue

Laura Orgue Skyrunner® World Series VK champion in 2013 and recently crowned VK World Champion in Chamonix id hot favourite for the top spot.

Antonella Confortola at Canazei VK

Antonella Confortola at Canazei VK

Antonella Confortola course record holder and a formidable force in any VK.

Stevie Kremer

Stevie Kremer

Stevie Kremer placed 2nd in her 1st VK in Chamonix and with no other race to hold back for, Stevie may just top the podium. Withdarwn

Emelie Forsberg needs to introduction, great going uphill and downhill. Emelie will be in the mix for the podium.

Christel Dewalle like Emelie will run the VK and the Ultra and stands a great chance to be on both podiums.

Kasie Enman placed 6th in Chamonix.  Withdarwn

Stephanie Jimenez

Oihana Azkorbebeitia

Celine Lafaye

 LINKS

Skyrunning HERE

Race websites

Vertical K Champs

Zemmer and Orgué Vertical Champs
Zemmer racing to victoryItaly’s Urban Zemmer triumphs in today’s Vertical Kilometer® Series final in Spain and adds the world champion title to his recent world record. Ladies’ race winner was Spain’s Blanca Maria Serranowhile Laura Orgué maintains the ranking leadership and the title.

Zemmer, fighting a virus, managed an excellent 35’46”, just 3’ more than his course record last year and well over his time set in Fully, Switzerland recently where he established the world record in 30’26” (over a shorter, artificial course).

Second was Slovenian Nejc Kuhar 35’56’’, third, Italian Marco Facchinelli, 36’47’’ and fourth, France’s Didier Zago in 37’49’’.

The women’s podium was all-Spanish:  Blanca Maria Serrano 44’33’’, Alba Xandri,  46’53’’, Vanesa Ortega 47’00’’
with Britain’s Tessa Hill fourth in 49’41’’.  Race favourite Silvia Leal was fifth – leaving Laura Orgué’s 2011 course record of 44’01” intact.

 

The Puig Campana

215 competitors scrambled up the rugged 3.65 km long course to the summit of the Puig Campana.  Towering 1,208m above the famous Costa Blanca, the steeper inclines reach 35.5% gradient.

Race results

Race website

Vertical Kilometer® Series Ranking

Men

1. Urban Zemmer

2. Nejc Kuhar

3. Luis Alberto Hernando

4. Marco Facchinelli

5. Didier Zago

 

Women

1. Laura Orgué

2. Silvia Leal

3. Blanca Maria Serrano

4. Zhanna Vokueva

5. Alba Zandri

With this final Skyrunner® World Series race, the 2012 season closes but stay with us for an overview of the year’s events and, above all, look out for the 2013 calendar out soon featuring all the best races…and some exciting surprises in store!