There was no doubt it was going to be a tough race. Struggling with lack of oxygen, torrential rain, fog and slippery, soft snow, more than four hundred runners lined-up for the Ice-Trail Tarentaise 4 am start in Val d’Isère Sunday.
For the winner, Francois D’Haene, it was a seven and a half hour struggle, for the others, much more. From the start, it was clear the race would be between Luis Alberto Hernando, recently crowned Ultra Skyrunning World Champion, and Francois, who came a close second to him in Chamonix. He was also the 2012 ITT race winner and second last year behind Kilian Jornet.
Luis led for the first 40 km of the 65 km race, with Francois comfortably keeping the pace, just seconds behind. At the Refuge Fours, at 2,500m altitude, Francois pushed on while Luis struggled to keep up. At the Col d’Iseran, at 55 km, a 14 minute gap had opened up between the two and his strength gave out, forcing him to retire. Francois closed, victorious, in 7h37’09” – just 1’27” short of Kilian’s 2013 record.
In the lead pack at the Aiguille Pers, 51 km into the race and at 3,386m altitude, Fabien Antolinos overtook Tom Owens on the ascent, 14’ from Francois and 10’ from Luis. Fulvio Dapit and Travis Macy held the pace close behind. Tom was struggling with the altitude and, 56km into the race, he nearly retired until he realised he was in 3rd position. He rose to the challenge and held his position to the finish.
It was clear that Emelie Forsberg, Ultra Skyrunning World Champion and last year’s winner, would lead the field. She did, from start to finish, closing in 9h24’09”, 17 minutes ahead of the second and third women, Alessandra Carlini and Maud Gobert who ran close together over the entire course to close just 6” apart. Francesca Canepa, 3rd here last year, was forced to retire after a fall early in the race.
After two out of five races, Tom Owens now leads the Skyrunner® World Series Ultra ranking with 144 points ahead of Fulvio Dapit and Manuel Merillas, both with 132 points.
In the women’s field, Alessandra Carlini leads with 146 points ahead of Maud Gobert, 134 points. Emelie Forsberg and Anna Frost are third equal, both with 100 points after winning one race each.
Join us next weekend for more action in the spectacular Italian Dolomites for the iconic Dolomites VK® and SkyRace® with another world class line-up toeing the start lines.
1. Francois D’Haene (Salomon): 7h37’09
2. Fabien Antolinos (Terre de Running): 7h55’20”
3. Tom Owens (Salomon): 8h01’05”
4. Fulvio Dapit (Crazy Idea): 8h05’08”
5. Manuel Merillas (Mammut): 8h07’45”
1. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon): 9h24’09”
2. Alessandra Carlini (Agisko): 9h41’16”
3. Maud Gobert (adidas): 9h41’22”
4. Nuria Dominquez (XRaid): 9h56’39”
5. Delphine Roux (Ski Club Queyras): 10h09’09”
Follow us on Facebook and twitter for updates
Skyrunner® World Series ranking