Today saw the junior and cadet categories (all under 20) fighting it out for the world titles in the individual races at the 2015 Verbier Ski Mountaineering World Championships. North America had only one competitor lined up for the start as neither US or Canada has be able to attract the very young talent to the sport so far. But it’s happening now, although, slowly.
Oliver Bibby, from Vancouver BC, placed 20th in the junior men’s category after having problems with his equipment but overall had a great experience. This is what he had to say in a message to me:
Race went well! I was in about 17th on the first climb, then took a fall. I had binding problems on the first transition and spent couple of minutes trying to take my ski off… Skimo is the best sport… Top 2 were on a different level!
Top juniors are super fast
I am not going to discuss each of the races as I am not familiar much with the protagonists but I am going to highlight performances of the top two juniors (18-20 years old) Oliver talked about as well:
Home boy, Remi Bonnet of Switzerland, pulled off a fantastic performance along with the second placed Davide Magnini of Italy. The two were separated by only 40 seconds at the finish and over 5 minutes ahead of everyone else.
Remi and Davide covered a course that featured only about 200m less climbing than the men’s senior course in 1h 20min, versus Kilian Jornet’s time of 1h 28min on the 1700m course the day before. The course also had only 3 ascents and 3 descents versus 4 and 4, thus, sparing some time in transitions, however, by my calculations, the two juniors would have finished in about 1h 35min to 1h 40min on the full senior course. Such efforts would have seen them finish between 20th and 35th place among men!
» Full results individual juniors & cadets
Tomorrow will bring a big battle in the team races:
Kilian Jornet will have a really well going Marc Pinsach for a teammate, thus, they should be causing great deal of trouble for the super experienced Italian, French and Swiss teams. Also, I expect at least two North American teams finish in the top 15 if not top 12, with best chances for John Gaston & Max Taam, and Jason Dorais & Tom Goth.
On the women’s side, my prediction is that the gold will go to French team – Laetitia Roux & Axelle Mollaret – with Swiss and Spanish taking the other spots on the podium. The top North American women’s team – Lindsay Plant & Jessie Young (USA) – have a realistic chance at top 7-8 if everything goes well for them!