It was always going to be a thrilling event. The new High Trail Vanoise kicked off yesterday on the third leg of the Skyrunner® World Series with a formidable race pushing the boundaries of even the most experienced skyrunners.
French woman Anne-Lise Rousset was the star of the day – in both the men’s and women’s fields! She led the women’s race from beginning to end to finish an incredible 6th overall, just 45’ separating her from the first man.
The men’s winner, Frenchman Nicolas Martin, ran an extraordinary race. Right up to km 45, Russian Dmitry Mityaev held the lead. Keeping a steady 2 to 3-minute distance until the last big ascent, Martin wrapped it up in 9h28’34” to take over the Series ranking leadership.
Poland’s Marcin Swierc jostled between 3rd and 4th position with Italian Fulvio Dapit and found the strength to propel himself to 2nd, with Mityaev and Dapit taking 3rd and 4th respectively.
Great expectations for Spaniard Cristofer Clemente, Ultra ranking leader, dissolved when he pulled out before the first summit.
Nearly an hour ahead of the rest of the women’s field. Anne-Lise Rousset closed in 10h13’ in 6th position overall. The 2nd and 3rd positions were a close fight between Maud Gobert (a last-minute entry) and Anna Comet who finished just five minutes apart. Gemma Arenas finished 4th after getting lost on a snow-field but maintains the top ranking slot.
The new High Trail Vanoise, launched on the Skyrunner® World Series yesterday in the renowned ski resort of Val d’Isère. The 67 km and 5,400m vertical climb over snow and ice took their toll however. Just 17 km into the race, the course summits the Grande Motte glacier at 3,653m and, with a long descent, it rises and falls over another four peaks including the Col de Iseran 2,764m.
With a 4 am pre-dawn start, the expected finishing time for the winner had been estimated to be approximately 8h15’, but for all the 166 runners, the race was tougher than expected with many unable to meet the strict cut-off times.
The severity of the race also lies in its attraction and in the future no doubt many runners will be lining up for just that. It is Europe’s highest race, topping out at 3,653m, with the largest section over snow and glacier making it the most technical in the whole of France.
Rousset exclaimed, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done! I’m so happy to have won. This is my first win in the Skyrunner® World Series and I’m proud to finally wear the winner’s jersey.”
New star in the making, it was a good day for Rousset all-round. As well as cash prizes, she and Nicolas Martin took home a BMW car for one year as race winners. Added to that, Rousset and Fulvio Dapit each received a prestigious Alpina Horological Smartwatch as winners of the Alpina Smart Time Prize.
Alpina Watches, Official Watch of the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series awarded the special prize based on the time at the highest point of the race with a bonus calculated on the age above and below the optimum, putting everyone on the same level, irrespective of the final race results.
Some 600 competitors took part in the weekend’s events, where skyrunning roots lie in the historic Face de Bellevarde VK and the new High Trail Vanoise – a legend in the making.
High Trail Vanoise race results
1. Nicolas Martin (FRA) Sigvaris – 9h28’34”
2. Marcin Swierc (POL) Salomon – 9h31’59”
3. Dmitry Mityaev (RUS) adidas – 9h36’31”
1. Anne-Lise Rousset (FRA) Race Land – 10h13’00”
2. Maud Gobert (FRA) adidas– 11h04’21”
3. Anna Comet (ESP) Dynafit – 11h09’30”
Skyrunner® Ultra Series ranking
1. Nicolas Martin (FRA) – 188 points
2. Cristofer Clemente (ESP) – 153 points
3. Roger Viñas (ESP) – 147 points
1. Gemma Arenas (ESP) – 224 points
2. Anne-Lise Rousset (FRA) – 188 points
3. Hillary Allen (USA) – 150 points
The Skyrunner® World Series is now “high season” and in just a few days heads to Canazei in Italy for the Dolomites Vertical Kilometer® and the highly popular Dolomites SkyRace®, celebrating 19 years and some of the best action with the world’s top specialists.