Press release by isf ©laurivanhouten
Today, the Basque town of Zegama hosted the 2015 Skyrunning European Championships and it was unsurprisingly the host country that came out tops with a gold, two silver and two bronze medals in this iconic race. Italy took the gold for the men’s title with Tadei Pivk cruising to the finish in 3h51’11”. The women’s European Champion is Azara Garcia who closed in 4h41’23. A last minute appearance by Kilian Jornet recently arrived from Nepal added to the excitement of a stellar field.
The first half of the race at the famous Sancti piritu aid station, saw Ionut Zinca comfortably in the lead with Aritz Egea, Tadei Pivk and Pere Rulan hot on his heels, followed by Manuel Merillas and Kilian Jornet. At the final summit, the group remained intact. It was the descent that changed the game. Tadei was alone with Kilian and, feeling comfortable, took his chance to accelerate the pace. “I knew this was my chance. I thought if I accelerate here I can do it. On the last bends I looked back and was alone. I still can’t believe it,” he commented.
The men’s line-up finished with Manuel Merillas 2nd and Pere Rullan 3rd completing the gold, silver, bronze medals for Spain.
The stacked women’s field started without Maite Maiora, one of the favourites, due to injury. Another strong favourite, Oihana Kortazar led the field and looked strong to the final summit, followed by Paula Cabrerizio, Azara Garcia and Elisa Desco. Again, the descent was the decider. Elisa Desco, 2014 winner and World Champion, gave it her all, possibly too much, and collapsed at the finish line in 6th position. It was to be Azara Garcia’s day, crowned European Champion and taking the gold for Spain. Paula Cabrerizio and Oihana Kortazar were a close second and third respectively. Emelie Forsberg, with the Transvulcania win just a week earlier still in her legs, raced bravely to finish 4th.
Yet again the Zegama-Aizkorri, now in its 14th year, was dampened by the weather, but not the spirit of the crowds cheering on the runners, every single one of them, every part of the way along the 42 km and 5,472m ascent and descent.
Today’s race represented not only the European Championships for the Sky category, but scored points for the Skyrunner® World Series ranking.
The two 2015 Skyrunning European Champions, Tadei Pivk and Azara Garcia, were awarded a prestigious Alpina Horological Smartwatch, Official Watch of the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series and European Championships.
2015 European Skyrunning Championship – SKY
Spain – 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze
Italy – 1 gold
European Skyrunning Champions – SKY
Tadei Pivk, (Crazy Idea/Compressport)
Azara Garcia (Compressport)
- Tadei Pivk (ITA) – Crazy Idea/Compressport – 3h51’11”
- Manuel Merillas (ESP) – Mammut – 3h51’47”
- Pere Rulla (ESP) – 3h52’50”
- Aritz Egea (ESP) – EMF – 3h59’27”
- Marco De Gasperi (ITA) – SCOTT Sports/ Compressport – 3h5948”
- Azara Garcia (ESP) – Compressport – 4h41’23”
- Paula Cabrerzo (ESP) – 4h43’44”
- Oihana Kortazar (ESP) – Salomon – 4h44’57”
- Emelie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon – 4h49’38”
- Federica Boifava (ITA) – Montura – 4h51’32”