Dolomites SkyRace 2014 Race Preview

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Hot on the heels of the Dolomites VK, just 2-days later, a super stacked field of elite and non-elite runners will tackle the incredible slopes of the Dolomites. Starting in the town of Canazei, the Skyrunner® World Series Dolomites SkyRace® has for many years represented an ideal playground for the world’s top athletes.  The steep technical course and spectacular panoramas it offers has runners coming back for more time and again.  On Sunday, 600+ runners will start the race. Last year, Kilian broke the male ascent record set by Augusti Roc to Piz Boe and Emelie Forsberg broke the female descent record set by Angela Mudge.

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The quality of runners, particularly in the men’s field is very deep and therefore a surprise could come from anywhere.

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Kilian Jornet has just run 100-miles and as you read this he will be toeing the line in the Vertical Kilometer. Kilian says he feels good but he is absolutely sure that the running and winning of Hardrock 100 will impact on his performances in the Dolomites. I can understand his caution… however; we are talking about Kilian Jornet so topping the podium in Canazei is a distinct possibility.

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Tadei Pivk had a great race last year taking the 3rd podium place and a repeat performance on a course he knows well is a distinct possibility. Marco De Gasperi will not race this year due to injury so does that open the door for Tadei?

Ionut Zinca and Alexis Sevennec rounded out the top-5 last year over 7-minutes behind a storming Kilian Jornet. Both Ionut and Alexis appear to be in great form at the moment. Ionut in particular is currently lying 4th in the Skyrunner® World Series so he will be looking for more valuable points.

Zaid Ait Malek - Haria Extreme

Zaid Ait Malek – Haria Extreme

Aritz Egea and Zaid Ait Malek are extremely strong performers over the SKY distance and we have seen them both excel at races such as Zegama-Aizkorri and last years, Limone Extreme. At the Skyrunning World Champions in Chamonix, Aritz ran a great race with a top-10 finish. However, Zaid had a bad day at the office after looking like podium potential in the early stages.

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Erik Dagsson Haugsness inov-8

Eirik Haugsness had the race of his life at the Skyrunning World Championships producing an excellent top-10 performance in the wet and cold conditions. Eirik has all the potential for a repeat top-10 performance in this super stacked field and should things go well, a top-5 is a distinct possibility.

Bernard Dematteis and Martin Dematteis are an exciting addition the SkyRace and they will be looking to bring fast running and vertical climbing ability to contest with the front of the race. They showed everyone a clean pair of heals in Transvulcania running one of the shorter races and it’s fair to say that this duo will potentially cause some fireworks in Canazei.

David Schneider has been quiet this year and may well just sneak under the radar. We saw some excellent performances from David in 2013 and this will be his first Skyrunning race for 2014, I expect he will want to make an impact.

Who else is hot!

Thorbjorn Ludvigsen

Nicolas Pianet

Matheo Jacquemoud

Miguel Caballero

Manuel Merillos

Jordi Bes Ginesta

Fabio Bazzana

 

Ones to watch:

Etienne Van Gasse

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Hassan Ait Chau

Dabid Garcia

Inake Uribe

Es Tressider

Espen Mikkelsen

Matteo Piller Hoffer

Marco Viscentini

Gionni Morocutti

Michele Zannier

Marco Errath

Marco Marcuzzi

Mirco Lazzara

Michele Vicario

Marco Segrado

Andrea De Bona

Eric Diaz

David Lopez

Dani Tristany

Alfredo Gil

Paolo Bert

Michele Tavernaro

Aleksander Ivakin

Just Sociats

Pere Aurell

Josep Vines

Pere Rullan

Antonio Roldan

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com

Emelie Forsberg decided not to run the Vertical Kilometer as she felt she needed a little more recovery and easier running after her victory at the tough (and long) Ice Trail Tarentaise just last weekend. This is a wise move and on this pure Skyrunning course, Emelie is hot favourite for the win.

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Maite Maiora placed 4th behind Emelie last year almost 11-minutes back, however, Maite is a different runner this year and I personally think we can expect to see her pushing closer to the front.

Antonella Confortola is spreading her works from her favourite VK distance and tackling the slopes of Piz Boe. Antonella will be a contender for the podium as will the other VK specialist, Laura Orgue. Laura doesn’t seem to run many races outside the VK distance, however, when she does she performs at the highest level. These two ladies will bring an interesting dynamic to the race. 

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Stephanie Jiminez is a pure short distance mountain runner and VK specialist and the Dolomites SkyRace will suit her skill set. Stephanie will be in the mix, pushing all the other ladies to the line.

Victoria Wilkinson from the UK is an exciting prospect. A string of top quality results and performances on home soil bode well for a strong performance here in the Dolomites. The biggest question marks will come in adaptation to altitude and the tough, long, steep and technical terrain that this course offers.

Celine Lafaye has had a quiet 2014 but can’t be ruled out of a top-5 performance. I am just not sure of her current form?

 

Ones to watch:

Leire Agirrezabala

Uxoa Irigoien

Paola Romanin

Maria Dimitria Theocharis

Laia Andreu Trias

Montse Martinez Guerrero

Anna Comet

Lisa Buzzoni

Chiara Gianola

Eva Moreda

 

Race Results from 2013:

Men

1. JORNET KILIAN (ESP) SALOMON SANTIVERI – 2h00’11”

2. DE GASPERI MARCO (ITA) GS FORESTALE – 2h00’14”

3. PIVK TADEI (ITA) CRAZY IDEA – 2h04’10”

4. ZINCA IONUT (ROU) VALETUDO SKYRUNNING – 2h07’26”

5. SEVENNEC ALEXIS (FRA) CRAZY IDEA – 2h07’58”

Women

1. FORSBERG EMELIE (SWE) SALOMON 2h26’52”

2. SERAFINI SILVIA (ITA) SALOMON AGISKO – 2h36’55”

3. DOMINGUEZ NURIA (ESP) TEAM ESPANA – 2h37’41

4. MAIORA MAITE (ESP) TEAM ESPANA – 2h37’58

5. WISNIEWSKA DOMINIKA (POL) – TEAM POLAND – 2h40’30”

 

Skyrunning HERE

Dolomites SkyRace HERE

 

Robbie Britton fired up for Skyrunning debut

robbie britton3. Cr#1A5B1D3

 

The new team inov-8 recruit has revelled in a phenomenal past 12 months and is now looking ahead to a 2014 calendar stacked with some of the world’s toughest ultra distance races.

Having smashed the course record at the recent 66-mile Pilgrims Challenge, Robbie is now preparing for his Skyrunning debut at Transvulcania La Palma the first race in the 2014 Skyrunner World Series.

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In his first inov blog, 27-year-old Robbie writes:

“My 2014 season is underway and I’ve already snared two victories, including the two-day Pilgrims Challenge 66-miler on the North Downs Way. Four years ago the Pilgrims Challenge took me a total of 15 hours to complete, and the on the second day alone I was running for nine hours. This year I broke the course record, clocking a total time of 8 hrs 8 mins for the two days combined. Next up is Transvulcania, on the island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands. This is the first race in the 2014 Skyrunner World Series calendar and all the world’s best ultra-distance mountain runners will be there. I have been to La Palma once before, taking in a few epic days in the mountains before setting off to sail the Atlantic in a boat built by a crazy old man advertising for crew on Gumtree! At 51 miles, Transvulcania is a little bit short for me but it has more ascent – there’s 2,000m in the first 11 miles – than the 24-hour stuff. I will go there, chuck myself in the mix and see what happens. I am always up for challenging myself. After that I have the World 24hr Running Championships. The target this year is a top-10 finish. I’m already feeling good about my chances as I feel fitter and stronger than I was last year. And what year would be complete without a trip to the Alps? The 103-mile TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) was shortened due to awful weather conditions the last time I ventured to Chamonix in 2012, but the atmosphere of the race got into my blood and this year I will return. I can’t wait.”

In 2013, Robbie won the high-profile 2013 South Downs Way 100 miler in a new course record, ran at the World 24hr Running Championships and completed the gruelling 152-mile Spartathlon race in Greece.

Next month Robbie will attend inov-8’s 2014 UK and European athlete retreat, to be held in the Lake District.

Robbie Britton1. Cr#1A5B1C4

VK? no, we will go double – Matterhorn Ultraks

Kilian Jornet, Matterhorn Ultraks ©iancorless.com

Matterhorn Ultraks experienced a successful first year in 2013 with over 1‘000 runners taking part. The 46K flagship competition was one of five races included in the Skyrunner® World Series (SWS). Time flies and after the announcement by the ISF that Matterhorn Ultraks will once again be in the “SWS14′ it is time for the team to look ahead in preparation for the second edition scheduled for August 23, 2014. 

Proceeding towards the second edition of the event, the organisers are focusing on offering the competitors an unforgettable, quality driven experience and intend to make the 2014 edition synonymous with innovation.

The courses
The proven courses – «16K», «30K» and «46K» – have been truly appreciated by the competitors and will be renewed, the «46K» remaining an official race of the „Skyrunner® World Series“ and Trail fans will discover a new course, the «2VK» that starts from Zermatt to finish in Gornergrat.

Simon Anthamatten, Race director details: ‘The 2VK focuses on the uphill running, which makes it a perfect track for those who do not appreciate downhills. The track is actually exactly the first part of the 46K and with 1‘927 m of vertical, it almost is a double vertical kilometer, hence the name. To achieve such a climb, the runners will go over 14 km to the Gornergrat where they’ll have an unbelievable view on the Monte-Rosa mountain range and the Gornerglacier.“

©copyright .iancorless.com.P1000499More innovations
The 2VK is not the only 2014 innovation. ‘We listen carefully to the competitors feedback. They were very vocal about the finisher gift and to follow their wish, every runner crossing the finish line will receive a technical t-shirt Matterhorn Ultraks Finisher‘ says Michel Hodara, member of the organising committee.

Finally, by registering to a race, competitors automatically take part to a several draws allowing to win various gifts presented by the Matterhorn Ultraks partners or stays in Zermatt. In addition, those who will be the 2nd, 22nd, 222nd, 502nd 602nd, etc. will have their registrtion fee reimbursed. ‘It is our way to celebrate the second anniversary of the race’ adds Hodara.

Registrations open online on Sunday December 8 at 4 pm via the website www.ultraks.com.