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RACING: SKI MOUNTAINEERING - Catie Friend, Villars-sur Ollon
Wednesday January 24, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

On a wild and windy weekend in the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland, the second leg of the ISMF took place. NEW

The second leg of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) took place on 20th and 21st January 2018 in Villars-sur Ollon, Switzerland.

The weekend was to comprise of an individual race on the Saturday AM, followed by a sprint race on Sunday AM.

Following the controversial first leg of this season's World Cup in China, where races continued despite the temperatures plummeting to -25C, and in light of the fact that Villars will host the first Olympic inclusion of ski mountaineering in the 2020 Lausanne Junior Olympics, it was important that this weekend was a success.

The team at Villars had worked with typical Swiss precision and all was in place despite the looming storms.

A weather window on the Saturday allowed the individual race to go ahead and the course was roundly praised by all the athletes.

Good snow, well marked and interesting with challenging technical sections.

No surprise in the senior women's race where France's Laetitia Roux took home her 1st individual win of the season.

Despite now being one of the older athletes on the circuit, the "Queen of Skimo" shows no signs of slowing down.

She finished almost two minutes ahead of her compatriot, Axelle Mollaret, in her all too familiar role as lady in waiting.

Victoria Kreuzer of Switzerland made up the top three in her first WC individual race podium.

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The senior men's race was less obvious to predict.

The usual suspects were all there: the Italians with last year's overall World Cup winner Robert Antonioli and the World Champion, Damiano Lenzi.

The German pretender to the throne, Anton Palzer, aiming for a full sweep this season was in contention as well as a host of other top names in the skimo world.

In the end it was Xavier Gachet of France, in his first World Cup win, who snatched victory by 13 seconds from Robert Antonioli. 6 seconds after him the Italian Michele Boscacci finished third.

A nail-biting race from start to finish.

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Notably in this world cup weekend were representations by some of the lesser known skimo nations.

The United States had two athletes in the senior men category and Great Britain had no fewer than three male athletes competing.

Jack White in the juniors and Ben Bradford and Ivor Ligertwood in the senior category. 

Ben is a skilled mountain guide based in Chamonix, but despite this vast experience, he was outclassed by his European rivals, coming in 43rd. 

Ivor Ligertwood is a teacher at Aiglon College in Villars, so he didn't have far to travel. He was 44th.

Sadly, due to the huge storm on Saturday night and trees down on the trainline between Villars and the venue for Sunday morning, the sprint race was cancelled.

Especially disappointing as the first sprint race of the season in China took place in such extreme conditions that many of the athletes did not compete, citing their health and wellbeing as a priority.

The sprinters will now need to wait until the last weekend of the season, in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, to race.

This weekend, the World Cup goes to Andorra, where, for the first time ever, ski mountaineering will be broadcast live. Andorra TV will show Sunday's vertical race.

First of all, though, the individual race on Saturday 27th January.

Results:
  • Senior Men:
1. Xavier Gachet, FRA
2. Robert Antonioli, ITA
3. Michele Boscacci, ITA
  • Senior Women:
1. Laetitia Roux, FRA
2. Axelle Mollaret, FRA
3. Victoria Kreuzer, SUI
Full results and more info




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