Today’s report features some great shots and lots of details sent in by Eric. Thank you!
Yesterday, Sunday and Day 3, was effectively a rest day for the North American teams at the 2015 Skimo World Championships. While the cadet and junior racers were finishing their vertical race in much cider temperatures than the previous day, the senior racers were scouting out today’s individual course.
The individual course featured 1700 m of ascent over four climbs with three boot packs for the men, and 1350 m of ascent over four climbs with two boot packs for the women.
The course prominently displayed Peak Six Blanc, overlooking the Bruson ski area. The imposing North face of Six Blanc has two prominent couloirs and ridges that the racers ascended and descended. The course was highly technical with a long initial climb up a ski-out track though the forest. Descending entirely off piste, the skiing required skill to navigate refrozen, chopped up chunder. The racers also had to tackle countless switchbacks up the main couloir with many experiencing skin failure in the cold temperatures.
As expected, Kilian Jornet (ESP) dominated the race which after winning a vertical on Saturday brought him a second gold medal. With over a 2 minute gap mid-way through the race, the remaining podium contenders managed to bring it down to less than one minute by the finish. Jornet was challenged by a motivated Damiano Lenzi (ITA) in the first half of the race until the Italian broke his ski and abandoned.
At the end, the next three racers were all within 2 seconds with Robert Antonioli (ITA), new sprint world champion from Friday, taking silver in front of his teammate Matteo Eydallin and the unlucky 4th going to Xavier Gachet (FRA). What a battle for that second place!
John Gaston (USA) led the North Americans with a 27th place finish. This is not the historical best for NA, however, he finished within only 8 minutes behind the winning Jornet, and that is the closest any North American ever got!
Here is what John had to say about his race:
The course was really great, with a quite a lot of booting, and some tricky descents. I felt like I raced well, and was keeping a good pace on the climbs and bringing back small gaps on the descents. My only issue came at the very end. I went way too deep on the final booter when I should have left just a little bit more in the tank, and because of that I could barely stand up on the final descent. Crashed twice and lost two spots, which really bummed me out because until then I’d had a super clean race. Not my most brilliant moment but that’s racing!
Jason Dorais (USA) and Nick Elson (CAN) were close behind throughout the race and eventually finished 33rd and 37th respectively. Strong racing on their part as well!
The rest of the boys crossed the line in this order:
- 39 – Tom Goth (USA)
- 55 – Scott Simmons (USA)
- 62 – Travis Brown (CAN)
- 72 – Peter Knight (CAN)
- 78 – Mateusz Burgunder (USA), still an espoir
In the women’s race, unlike the vertical event, Laetitia Roux (FRA) was unchallenged throughout and won her second title at these world champs. Home girl, Maude Mathys (SUI), finished second about 2 minutes behind, and the espoir Axelle Mollaret (FRA) came in third, further 2 min behind.
The North American women raced strong and delivered some good performances. Melanie Bernier (CAN) finished 13th, about 12 minutes off the pace. Lindsay Plant (USA) had a solid race after an excellent vertical two days ago and placed 20th, about 4 minutes behind Melanie. Jessie Young (USA) was close behind and finished a very respectable 23rd.
Here’s a quote from Lindsay:
The course was really fun, great skin tracks and boot packs, I had a little bit of difficulty on the descents, and I am pretty sick with a bad cough so that slowed me down a little bit, but overall I felt good, strong. Beautiful day for a great race!
The rest of the women, just like the men, all raced up to their current abilities and finished in the following order:
- 29 – Sarah Cookler (USA)
- 30 – Meredith Edwards (USA)
- 33 – Kylee Ohler (CAN)
- 37 – Michelle Roberts (CAN)
- 38 – Martha Burley (CAN)
- 39 – Katarina Kuba (CAN)
Results and beyond
» Full results from today’s individual are here
On Tuesday, tomorrow, with the cadets and juniors racing their individual races, the seniors will get a well deserved rest before tackling the daunting Teams course on Wednesday. The only North American athlete taking part in tomorrow’s racing will be a junior Oliver Bibby from Vancouver, BC.