VERBIER 2015 - First day: The favourites already on top!

The Swiss excel in Champsec/Val de Bagnes. Valaisans Séverine Pont Combe and Iwan Arnold take home the sprint bronze.

The World Championships in Verbier, Val de Bagnes are well under way. The Swiss CAS Team dazzled from the start. Séverine Pont Combe and Iwan Arnold claimed bronze after two exciting races. Italy's Robert Antonioli and France's Laetitia Roux took gold. In the junior category, Marianne Fatton won gold and Arnaud Gasser took silver. For the cadets, the young Arno Lietha from Grison took the title.

Shouts of joy
For his first season in the elites, the Haut-Valaisan Iwan Arnold has proved his worth. His third place, behind the unbeatable Robert Antoniolio and Germany's Josef Rottmoser, was not left to chance. "I gave everything and took every risk during the final descent to make it onto the podium," says the delighted Swiss Team athlete at the finishing line. "I really wanted this medal. It's the reward for a lot of hard work." His trainer Toni Sbalbi adds: "It took real determination to get onto the podium of this race. It's thanks to his warrior-like temperament that Iwan achieved his goal."

Yannick Ecoeur beaten
Yannick Ecoeur from Morgins, was unable to repeat his previous performances. He finished in 7th place alongside the other competitors, including German Anton Palzer (4th), who was more used to beating Iwan Arnold. Marcel Marti, who came 2nd in 2013 in Pelvoux, finished 8th. Marcel Theux also anticipated finishing well, but his elimination in the semi-final leaves him in 10th place overall.
In the ‘Espoir’ category, the Swiss athletes Baptiste Spicher, 6th, Flavio Arnold, 7th and Bastien Hug, 9th, gave good performances.

Séverine Pont Combe takes bronze
Expected to take a place on the podium, Valaisanne Séverine Pont Combe didn't disappoint her team and fans. Used to big events, the winner of the ‘Patrouille des Glaciers’ did justice to her title. "I felt really good vibes all morning. I want to thank all the spectators for their support. It was really wonderful." Ranked 13th, the Vaudoise Jennifer Flechter took silver. Emilie Gex-Fabry, 16th, Eugénie Tornay, 22nd (ranked 6th) and Séverine Pharisa, 23rd (ranked 7th) concluded the results for the Swiss ladies.
Following illness, Maude Mathys took no risks and rested.

Arnaud Gasser in 2nd place
Earlier in the day, Verbier's Arnaud Gasser came in 2nd place in the junior race. "It's my first medal in the World Championships", the Mountain Performance athlete reveals. "What a surprise! I'm really very happy with my performance. I'm lucky to have the best team to achieve my goals. Today's result really gives me confidence before the next races." The Swiss Team junior will also take part in Sunday morning's Vertical Race and the individual event on Tuesday.
Thomas Corthay from Vollèges finished in 4th place. "I'm not disappointed because I gave it my all. I'm going to sit out the Vertical Race and concentrate instead on Tuesday's individual race." The Swiss athletes Micha Steiner, 6th, Rémi Bonnet, 8th, and Armin Jägli, 13th put in solid performances.

Rising stars
For the junior girls, the world title went to CRO's Marianne Fatton. Valaisanne Déborah Chiarello took 10th place. For the cadets, Grison's Arno Lietha took gold. Valaisan Julien Ançay, recovering from illness, had to make do with 7th place. Florian Ulrich, 10th and Yohan Jaton, 15th made their first appearance in a World Championship. Florence Buchs from Neuchâtel came in a promising 5th.

What's next
Saturday 7th February at 4pm: Vertical Race - seniors and espoirs, from Médières to Les Ruinettes Sunday 8th February at 9am: Vertical Race - juniors and cadets, from Medran to Les Ruinettes or Clambin to Les Ruinettes
Monday 9th February at 9am: Individual race - Seniors and Espoirs, Bruson.

Race results are online on ISMF website

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