TAMBRE (Italy), 24th February 2017 – Clouds and a grey sky did not prevent the athletes to grab the first shining medals of the 2017 ISMF world Champs. Damiano Lenzi, from Italy and Laetitia Roux from France were the best athletes on course on what turned out to be a very technical world Champs opening. Kilian Jornet Burgada, Spain,and Maude Mathys, Swiss, took silver, while Anton Palzer, Germany,

and Axelle Mollaret, France, completed the podium.

The Individual race took place in Val Salatis, 10 km from Tambre, a very well kept secret of this valley which, in ancient times, was inhabited by Cimbiran people and strong woodmen and is today one of the

backcountry main destination of the area. In the Senior and Espoir race there were 49 ladies and 75 men to cross the start line, representing  25 countries. The mixed zone and the finish area was set at approximately quota 1300 metres: the audience had to walk up for some 20 minutes and so did the athletes themeselves, thus giving the chance to their supporters and fans to witness live how they prepare and warm up. Among the most enthusiasts were groups of pupils from the local school who awaited cheerful as ever the flowers ceremony.

Tambre, a pleasant village in north east Italy, in between Venice and the Dolomites, has been the perfect kingdom for the first performances of the ISMF worldwide event. “We are very proud of hosting

again an international skimo event – said Diego Svalduz, president of the local organizing Committee -, because ski mountaineering has always been in our Dna: we hope you will like and appreciate our

mountains”.  During the opening ceremony, on thursday night, it was a swiss athlete to

light up the world Championships torch:Caroline Ulrich will turn 15 years old in a few days and went very emotional as she was among the younger girls in the bunch: “She represents all of you – said Lluis Lopez,

ISMF Vice President – but she represents also the future of skimo where we all are heading to. So compete and have fun with fair play and commitment”, was the wish of the international Federation, echoed

by the words of Flavio Roda, president of Fisi – Italian winter sports Federation: “Ski mountaineering is constantly increasing and we should take care of its values and promote them also along the olympic path we are following”.

The LOC – local organizing Committee was very much challenged by both weather and snow conditions. The high temperature of the last days left a very crusty snow cover in the valley which suggested to adapt the route to the new  conditions. Then clouds, some rain drops and a bit of wind mixed once again the cards. The competitors had to face 4 climbs and descents: 1682 D+ for men, 125 D+ less for the ladies.

The whole track was off piste and went through a thick wood, opening up in the last section, just below quota 2000 metres in time to caress the Monte Castelat ridge in the horizon. Laetitia Roux had a precise strategy: to take the lead from the beginning in the very narrow start, in order to give full gas already from the first climb. Damiano Lenzi has also been playing as a solo leader run but Burgada and Palzer, who recently recover form health problems, were always close and ready to fight till the end. For all the guys on course it has a been a matter of visibility and courage. All the ascents were very technical, the first having just a single track, the third to be run half skies on, and half skies in the rucksack with a very crucial transition area in the middle.

Some rocks and loads of bumbps make it not an easy task for both the leaders

and the cahsing pack. Tomorrow the Individual will be run by junior and cadets, while on Sunday

it will be Team race time, always in the remote and beautiful  Val Salatis.

QUOTES

Damiano Lenzi (ITA): “I felt confident because my shape is good. Nevertheless the conditions were tough today and along the tracks I had three times problems with my skies. So Kilian Jornet Burgada got closer a couple of times. But it was my lucky day and my experience in cross country skiing also was very helpful not to lose the leadership! I come from the opposite side of the Alps, but my skimo career started here in 2008 so these places are in my heart and a gold medal here today paid off after some hard times”

Laetitia Roux (FRA): “Conditions were tough but I like this kind of  challenge and I do not care racing in clouds and wind. This morning, though, I was worried about the starting: because sprint start is not by best quality. So I really gave all I had in the start and then I hoped to keep some energy for the race itself.  In the descent, especially the second, I started very fast but I soon realized that I could only see one red flag per time, which meant visibility was very poor. That is when I literally felt myself taking off and I fell down, luckily lading in fresh snow. So I decided to slow down a bit and I am so glad the medal is still made of gold. I will know go to Russia for the Cism Games, but will be back for the Relay race”

For results see here

http://ismf-ski.org/www/conten t/races-result?id=169

For pics see here

https://drive.google.com/open? id=0Bxbuxds- oXM6VUFaTzBJd2RsdzA

Lucia Galli

In the women race Laetitia Roux completed her comeback over Jennifer Fiechter. After several seasons the Valtellina Orobie is back among the great worldwide ski mountaineering events as second appointment of the 2016 ISMF World Cup. The 30th edition featured an unusual start and finish to be crossed on foot. The athletes of the individual event have had to prove their worth on a track with 1750 m of positive altitude difference, 5 uphill stretches, 5 slopes, 11 set-up changes, open ridges and spectacular downhill chase-downs. The little snow that fell so far this winter had made these parts all the more athletically challenging. On his home mountains Michele Boscacci has attempted since the very start to win the race; he lived the dream and gave hope to his fans for three quarters of the race, before Kilian Jornet caught up and got the better of him. After a spectacular head-to-head, the two came together at the finish line in Campelli, a few kilometres from Albosaggia. The winner was declared by photo finish and then using the chip. Jornet finished the race in 1h, 35’28”609, Boscacci in 1h 35’28”690. Anton Palzer, the first among the Espoir, came third in 1h 35’56”, followed by a steadily and progressively growing Robert Antonioli. The top ten also included Xavier Gachet (FRA), Valentin Favre (FRA), Mathéo Jacquemoud (FRA), Martin Anthamatten (SUI), Matteo Eydallin and Alexis Sevennec (FRA). The women – and junior men – race comprised 4 uphill and as many downhill stretches (1315 D+ 1315D-). As for the women the French Laetitia Roux got her first success. The queen of ski mountaineering was restored to her throne ending the race first in 1h 42’30” before her Swiss rival Jennifer Fiechter - 1h 44’59” – and the Swede Emelie Forsberg – 1h 46’51”. Worth reporting is that Forsberg lost the second place after a time penalty: incorrect position of her skis in the bag. The Spaniard Claudia Galicia finished fourth before the azzurra Katia Tomatis; then, Valentine (France), Martina Valmassoi (Italy), Mireia Mirò and Marta Garcia (Spain) and the young – and first among the Espoir – Alba De Silvestro (Italy). In the Junior race Italy conquered the first two spots with Davide Magnini e Giulia Compagnoni; after 3 uphill and 3 downhill stretches (990 D+ 990 D-), the podium was completed by Lena Bonnel (France) and the local favourite Giulia Murada. As regards the men podium, the French Samuel Equy finished second and Nicolò Canclini won the bronze medal. Tomorrow the World Cup circus will be back on track at the Centro Sportivo Caspoggio with the Sprint event. Photo Gallery HD https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0Bxbuxds-oXM6aENMQ0FIa3E3U2c&usp=sharing Online on ISMF website : http://ismf-ski.org/www/content/races-result?id=152 All the ISMF World Cup rankings are online on http://ismf-ski.org/ismf2011/rankings.php