Pivk and Garcia crowned champs at Zegama-Aizkorri 2015

Image ©FabioMenino

                                                                   Image ©FabioMenino

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 EgeaTadei 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 SmartwatchOfficial 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)

Race results

Men

  1. Tadei Pivk (ITA) – Crazy Idea/Compressport – 3h51’11”
  2. Manuel Merillas (ESP) – Mammut – 3h51’47”
  3. Pere Rulla (ESP) – 3h52’50”
  4. Aritz Egea (ESP) – EMF – 3h59’27”
  5. Marco De Gasperi (ITA) – SCOTT Sports/ Compressport – 3h5948”

Women

  1. Azara Garcia (ESP) – Compressport – 4h41’23”
  2. Paula Cabrerzo (ESP) – 4h43’44”
  3. Oihana Kortazar (ESP) – Salomon – 4h44’57”
  4. Emelie Forsberg (SWE) – Salomon – 4h49’38”
  5. Federica Boifava (ITA) – Montura – 4h51’32”

inov-8 head to Zegama

Alex Nichols will lead a powerful nine-man inov-8 team into battle at the opening race of the 2014 Skyrunner World Sky Series on Sunday.

As in 2013, the first race is Zegama, an iconic yet brutally fast and technical 42k (26 miles) event staged in the mountains of northern Spain.
With a total elevation gain of 2736m, Zegama is a beast of a course and takes no prisoners.
Last year, US-based Nichols suffered an injury early in the race and was forced to withdraw. Despite this, the 29-year-old still finished third in the series after recording several outstanding results in the races that followed Zegama.
Alex said: “I am definitely looking forward to some redemption after last year at Zegama.
“I think the competition this year could be the best it has ever been, so I am not going to take anyone in the field lightly.
“The course is so brutal that any weakness is magnified, and on a given day anything can happen to anyone. I will put myself in a spot to be competitive and see how the race unfolds from there
“Having a full skryrunning season now under my belt is certainly going to help me in dealing with the technical terrain that makes Zegama so famous.
“Going into the race this year I have far more confidence in my technical abilities than ever. Everything I have learned in the last 12 months will definitely be put to the test on Sunday.”
In preparation for the 2014 Skyrunner World Sky Series, Alex has been training and racing at altitude in Colorado.
He recently ran 3:13:37 to smash the 50k Greenland Trail Race course record and prior to that smoked the elite competition at the Moab Red Hot 55k.
Alex said: “I have won two fast 50k’s at altitude this year in preparation for the skyrunning season.
“It is difficult to find many races that are comparable to a true sky marathon, so I have instead focused on slightly longer distance races.
“Running 3:13 for 50k just three weeks ago was a very good sign of my fitness. I’m now looking forward to seeing how that will carry over to such a steep, technical race like Zegama.”
Alex will be joined on the start line by inov-8 team-mates Eirik Haugsnes (Norway), Pierre-Laurent Viguier (France), Oli Johnson, Chris Steele, Robbie Britton (all UK) and Aritz Egea, Jokin Lizeaga, Pau Bartolo (all Spain).
The Zegama course record of 3:54:18 is held by inov-8 athlete Rob Jebb, who set the fastest time nine years ago.

2014 Skyrunner World Sky Series races:

SPAIN: Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri – 42km – Zegama – May 25

ITALY: Dolomites SkyRace® – 22km – Canazei – July 20

SWITZERLAND: Course de Sierre-Zinal – 31km – Valais – August 10

SWITZERLAND: Matterhorn Ultraks – 46km -Zermatt – August 23

ITALY: Limone Extreme SkyRace® – 23km – Limone sul Garda – October 11

Skyrunning at http://www.skyrunning.com

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