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De Gasperi wins at SWS launch in Russia

The new format Skyrunner® World Series kicks off with the first race of the season on the icy slopes of Russia’s Mount Elbrus – with nothing less than two skyrunning world champions competing!

The Elbrus Vertical Kilometer® on May 7 marked the start of the rich Skyrunner® World Series season.  Winner of the first race on the new calendar is “vertical” specialist, Italy’s Marco De Gasperi (Scott), six times World Mountain Running champion and, second, reigning Skyrunner® World Series champion, Spaniard Luis Hernandez (Grifone).  Their respective times were 44’39” and 45’47”.

In the women’s field, Russian skyrunner Zhanna Vokueva, (Salomon), a rising star on the international skyrunning panorama, was pipped to the post by only 9 seconds by fellow countrywoman, Laris Sobleva. Third was Aleksandra Dzik from Poland.

For the first time, the Skyrunner® World Series sets foot in Russia and re-echoes some of the original skyrunning races held on the glaciers of Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc in the early 90’s.

For De Gasperi it meant more than a “déjà vu” – racing on a glacier with spiked shoes.  The experience hails back to 1993 when, at the tender age of 16, he was tenth in the first incredible race on Monte Rosa, Europe’s second mountain, to the summit at 4, 554m!

De Gasperi’s achievement today on Elbrus sets a new Vertical Kilometer® record in the 3,000m altitude sector:  1,000 vertical metres between the 2,450m start and 3,450m finish – on snow.  For the record:  44’39’’.

The Skyrunner®  World Champion, Luis Hernandez,  was second  with a time of 45’47” while the Russian athlete, Alexander Bolhovitin, took third place, 7’ behind.  This incredibly severe challenge was met successfuly by 90 runners who succeeded in finishing.

The first leg of the 2012 World Series confirms the prowess of the top  men’s athletes in the 2011 Skyrunner® SuperCup in Malaysia:  Kilian Jornet, Marco De Gasperi and Luis Hernandez.

Heading for warmer climates, Kilian Jornet represents a strong favourite in a historic, mammoth line-up in next Saturday’s Transvulcania Ultra Marathon on the Spanish island of La Palma, while Luis Hernandez figures among the top runners in the Zegama-Aizkorri Maratòn on May 20 in Spain’s Basque Country – both valid for the Skyrunner® World Series combined points for the World Champion title.

Photo by Nataly Lapina and Konstantin Dikovskiy.

Provisional Skyrunner® World Series ranking:

Marco De Gasperi (ITA) - 100 points
Luis Alberto Hernandez (ESP) - 88 points  
Alexander Bolhovitin  (RUS) - 78 points 

Larisa Soboleva (RUS) -100 points
Zhanna Vokueva, (RUS)  – 88 points
Aleksandra Dzik (POL) – 78 points

Skyrunner® World Series Ranking

See the video

For more info see:  www.elbrus.redfox.ru