Another stormy day in Villars, Switzerland forced organizers to shorten the vertical race course to a very fast 470m of vert while utilizing some XC trails.
This type of unusual “skimo” terrain provided teams to think outside the box regarding the use of equipment (very short skins) and technique that reminds more of xc skiing than skimo – skating, gliding, poling, etc.
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Men (Senior & Espoir)
As already mentioned, the shortened race course made for a high speed race over a flatter than usual terrain. It also perhaps favoured taller racers (longer ski poles) but at the end it were the vertical specialists that prevailed.
After trying hard for a couple of years, Marti Werner (SWI) finally managed to snatched the gold medal in his strongest discipline. On top of that he beat second Robert Antonioli (ITA) by 40 seconds, although, the Italian blew a ski/skin right at the start! By the way, this was Antonioli’s 3rd medal in 3 races this week!
Bronze went to another tall Swiss vertical specialist, Remi Bonnet, who only lost to Antonioli by 4 seconds. Michelle Boscacci (ITA) took fourth place further 20 seconds behind.
Once again, Italians managed to put 3 of their athletes into the top 10, with a young Davide Magnini in 9th.
US and Canadian men:
Certainly, the highlight of the day is Cameron’s Smith (USA) performance, finishing in 18th! Cam is reasonably new to skimo and has been having a great season so far. Today’s achievement is cherry on the cake.
For North America, it was John Gaston (USA) once again to produce the top placing. John took 13th today with less than 2min behind Marti but probably won’t be as happy as in 2017 when he placed 11th.
Mike Foote (USA) was replaced by Rory Kelly and battled to 39th place, a very respectable performance.
Peter Knight was once again the highest placed Canadian in 42nd which is pretty good considering his winter-long reoccurring injury. Tyson Smith was second Canadian in 48th.
Women (Senior & Espoir)
In women’s race, just like 2 years ago, it was an “easy” affair for Andrea Mayr (AUT) to grab gold again. Mayr is a current European mountain running champion. Clearly, vertical disciplines are her specialty.
Second place went to Axelle Gachet Mollaret (FRA) who won gold yesterday in the Individual race. Bronze was claimed by Victoria Kreuzer (SWI) while two Swedish athletes took 4th and 5th.
Of note, there was a “citizen” race right before the main event and a former Swiss team member, Maude Mathys, won in a time that would have seen her claim a medal in the World Champs race!
US and Canadian women:
Top North American lady was once again Jessie Young (USA) in 17th. Yesterday she placed 13th in the Individual race – both very strong performances.
Jamie Breede (USA) had a great race as well to capture 19th place, thus, putting two US women in top 20th. Michela Adrien from Montana raced to 22nd which is also a great performance.
For Canadians, Kylee Ohler placed a respectable 24th in her least favourite discipline. Spots 30th to 32nd were occupied by the other 3 Canadian women with Courtney Post leading them home.
Juniors & Cadets – Women and Men
Gold medals went to these four young athletes:
- Junior men – Aurélien Gay (FRA)
- Junior women – Ekaterina Osichkina (RUS)
- Cadet men – Robin Bussard (SWI)
- Cadet women – Caroline Ulrich (SWI)
US and Canadian athletes – highlights:
Jessie Mcauley (CAN) had another good perfomance, finishing 14th in the men’s junior category with Noah Schuh the second Canadian. Jacob Dewey was best US athlete in 20th in the same category.
There were no North American women in the junior category.
The best NA result in the cadet men’s went to George Beck (USA) while Canadians didn’t participate.
In the cadet women’s category, Team US did well again as Grace Staberg and Elsa Bates took 6th and 8th respectively. Canadian athlete Ema Chlepkova, who’s specialty is biathlon, had a good race to finish in 17th.
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