Today’s race featured some of the most challenging terrain of the week. The teams event best embodies the spirit of ski mountaineering – with two racers competing as a team, sometimes even linked by a rope.
The initial climb out of Carrefour was one of the longest of the race and with the sun still low in the sky it had a very slick and icy skin tracks. The race was dominated by three ascents of Mt. Gele – a 3003 m peak – on three different aspects. The descents of Gele were characterized by well skied out, sheet ice in the couloirs.
With the fine weather continuing, many of the ascents were in the heat of the mid-day sun which had a dramatic effect on the athletes. Each ascent of Mt. Gele was successively warmer and athletes were happy to receive fluids at the Attelias Station. The descents were on predominately shaded, icy refrozen slopes with either chunder/avy debris to negotiate or smooth, steep, icy bed surface to power slide down.
The men covered five ascents and descents, including three boot-packs, for a total of 2290 m of climbing.
Right from the start, the Italian teams pushed hard to gap the French team. The rest of the field spread out quickly over the first two ascents and descents as they hit the first of two long boot packs.
The top Italian team, Matteo Eydallin and Damiano Lenzi, went like a well oiled machine and with a steady pace added another big win for their resume. This pair, literally dominate last season when they won the three biggest teams races on the calendar. Now, their reign continues.
Silver medal went to a French team, consisting of a former world champion William Bon Mardion and his younger protégé Xavier Gachet, who managed to hold of a strong Italian team of Robert Antonioli and Michele Boscacci.
After a very strong performance, the North American’s were led by the Salt Lake City boys Jason Dorais and Tom Goth (USA) who finished at 11th.
Eric Carter got Jason and Tom to share some details right after the race today:
John Gaston and Max Taam (USA) also raced well, but perhaps wanted much more, and came in 6 minutes behind Jason and Tom to place 15th. Their top placing in teams race came in 2013 where they set the historical best for North Americans with 10th.
Racing together for the very first time, with a very solid performance, Eric Carter and Scott Simmons came in further 5 minutes down to place 19th to round the top three North American teams.
Rest of the NA teams finished in this order:
- 25 – Nick Elson and Travis Brown (CAN)
- 26 – Teague Holmes and Jon Brown (USA)
- 30 – Peter Knight and Oliver Bibby (CAN)
» Men’s teams race full results
The women had a slightly shorter course, covering four ascents and descents, with three boot-packs, for a total of 2020 m of climbing.
My predictions from yesterday proved correct and after 2,5 h of racing gold went to Laetitia Roux and Axelle Mollaret of France. They were the favourites and delivered just like in 2013.
The home Swiss girls, Maude Mathys and Severine Pont Combe, came in about 4 min behind them to take silver. For Spain, Mireia Miro made a come back after not racing much this season and with her teammate, Marta Riba Carlos, they snatched the bronze. Fourth went to Italy and fifth to Spain again.
The top team for USA, consisting of Lindsay Plant and Jessie Young, had a great race to finish 6th and only about 2 min behind the 5th! Thus adding another great result after racing well in the vertical and individual races. Congrats girls!
Next North American team was Meredith Edwards and McKenna Douglas (USA) coming in just outside of top 10, placing 11th. Then only about 2,5 minutes behind them were the first Canadian girls, Kylee Ohler and Michelle Roberts, finishing in 13th. Sarah Cookler and Jari Kirkland (USA) placed just behind them at 14th.
Canada’s 20-year old, Katarina Kuba, paired up with a much more experienced Martha Burley to learn as much as she could and they came home at 16th.
» Women’s teams race full results
Relay races are scheduled for tomorrow and both USA and Canada will line up their teams to finish off the last day of racing at these World Championships. Then it’s party time 🙂