There were breathtaking performances all round at the 11th race of the 2023 Skyrunner® World Series. Alain Santamaria and Clementine Geoffray pulled off incredible performances to take home the titles at Gorbeia Suzien in an exciting and unpredictable race. 

Palms were sweaty around the world today as thousands tuned in to watch the live broadcast of the tenth edition of Gorbeia Suzien. The elite field was stacked with big names trying to score points towards the overall ranking at the final premier race before the SkyMasters, resulting in a thrilling race unfolding in Zeanuri, in the heart of the Basque Country, Spain.

In the men’s race, Alain Santamaria of Spain (team Salomon Spain) came out on top after stealing the lead from Frederic Tranchand of France (team Scott Running) just before the summit of Gorbeia at kilometer 13.5. Santamaria crossed the finish line in first place with a new course record of 2h57’08”. 

After an intense fight between two Spaniards and Scarpa team mates, Antonio Martinez and Manuel Merillas, which saw them neck and neck for most of the race, Martinez managed to give his famous “finish line push” and passed both Merillas and Tranchand in the final kilometers to finish second, less than a minute behind SantamariaTranchand closed the men’s podium 25 seconds behind Martinez.

 Santamaria comments: “I am delighted to have my name in the history books of this race. As a local, Gorbeia has had a special meaning for me for many years. I came for the first time in 2017. This year I achieved my best time and next year I want to return even faster.”

In the women’s race, Iris Pessey of France (team Scott Running) set off strong. After winning a short battle with Onditz Iturbe of the Basque Country at around kilometre 10, Pessey looked to be on her way to her third victory of the season, until… cue Clementine Geoffray. The French Trail Running World Champion, who was sitting in fourth place for most of the race, took her chance on the final downhill, passing Pessey just after the final checkpoint and sprinting to the finish line. Geoffray claimed her second win of the season and set a new female course record of 3h34’24”. Pessey followed 1’25” behind in second place followed by Anastacia Rubtsova in third.  

Goeffray comments: “It was very difficult. I struggled with breathing in the uphills. I did the best I could in the climbs and I told myself just keep going, you can still do it. It was hard to catch up and in the last climb we were together. This kind of race is so hard as you are always asking yourself, can I do it, am I good enough, but I am very good in this situation. At the end of the final climb, I told myself just go, don’t hold back. I knew only the descent was left. I really gave everything I had for the final descent. I was always wondering where Iris was at the end of the flat section but I pushed with everything I had in my body. This race was so important for the overall ranking. It all comes down to the final In Limone now.” 

Pessey comments: “Not winning 10 minutes from the finish is, of course, frustrating but if there’s one person that I’m happy to lose against, it’s Clementine. She deserved it. She fought hard and she was much better in the downhills. At Ultraks I had some issues with health so that affected my performance. I knew I was in good shape and fitness and I have been all season so I wasn’t so worried about that. It’s going to be exciting to go head-to-head with someone like Clementine – she’s an amazing athlete and an amazing person so I am happy for her.” 

Following today’s race, Martinez holds on to his overall ranking lead. Pessey and Geoffray share the top spot on the overall leaderboard. All will be decided at the SkyMasters in Limone on the 28th of October. 

The top 20 of the Gorbeia Suzien have gained points towards the overall ranking. 

The next stage of the Skyrunner® World Series will be Louzanskyrace on October 7th, 2023.

Full results

Top 5 Men:

1. Alain Santamaria (ESP), Team Salomon – 2h57’08”

2. Antonio Martinez (ESP), Team Scarpa– 2h58’04”

3. Frederic Tranchand (FRA), Team Scott Running – 2h58’30”

4. Manuel Merillas (ESP), Team Scarpa / Land Trail – 2h59’19”

5. Dimas Pereira (ESP), Team Asics Running – 3h07’15”

Top 5 Women:

1. Clementine Geoffray (FRA), Team Evadict – 3h34’24”

2. Iris Pessey (FRA), Team Scott Running – 3h35’49”

3. Anastacia Rubtsova – 3h39’54”

4. Onditz Iturbe (ESP), Team Basque Selection – 3h43’06”

5. Ikram Rharsalla (ESP), Team Millet – 3h46’29”

Photos: Brian Sharp


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