Skimo World Cup starts at Fontblanca, with Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg, Remi Bonnet, William Bon Mardion, Laetitia Roux and Laura Orgué among favorites.
The 2016 skimo season opens up its world cup series this weekend at Fontblanca, Andorra. Several spaniards will be there, aiming for the best, such as Kilian Jornet, Laura Orgué, Claudia Galicia, Mireia Miró, Oriol Cardona, Marc Pinsach, and plenty more that will take part in this ski mountaineering World Cup first event.
SKIMO WORLD CUP STARTS AT FONTBLANCA.
The event will be held in Arinsal and Arcalís (Andorra) and will consist of an individual race and a vertical race, which will be hosting many og the world´s best ski mountaineers of all ages, and also offering good weather and track conditions for a classic sport in the Skimo World Cup. Now, let us take a look at the program and race info first, before we delve into the superb skiers field assembled for the take off.
PROGRAM SKIMO WORLD CUP AT FONTBLANCA 16-17JAN.
Individual Race 16JAN / Vertical Race 17JAN
The competition will start on Saturday at 9:30 with an individual race of 1,750m of climb. The mountains of Arcalis will host the star race in a circuit that will have a total of five ascents and four descents across the Coma del Forat area. The race will start in the ski slopes, but the rest of the circuit will be across mountainous terrain. This way, athletes will enjoy a varied and technical route, with canals, flat areas and edges. The itinerary is in spotless condition and breaks down into four technical sections that the athletes will cover on foot with the skis in their backpacks.
As concerns Junior athletes, they will race on a shorter, though equally spectacular and entertaining, track. For Senior women and men alike the itinerary will feature 1490 meters in altitude difference. Finally, Junior girls will tackle 975 meters in altitude difference.
The vertical race will be held on Sunday at 10:40 in Arinsal. The starting line will be at an altitude of 1,590m and the finishing line at 2,320m, near the Igloo bar. The entire race will be on the ski slopes. The altitude difference will be 730 meters for Senior men and women and for Junior boys. Younger girls for the Junior class will compete on a shorter track with 465 meters in altitude difference.
Track conditions: After the latest inspections Carlo Ferrari, alpine guide and Race Director of Font Blanca, officially unveiled the official itineraries. “A heavy snowfall came on the night of 6 January – told Ferrari – and even though the weather forecasts had announced 15 cm of snow, at the end of the precipitation the layer up at 2000 metres was in excess of half a meter. In the past few days the top layer of snow has been settling and I am confident that on race day the itinerary will be in perfect condition”
Moreover, after a quick and light spell, good weather was starting on Thursday. All in all, and almost perfect setting for the opening of the Skimo world cup
WORLD TOP SKI MOUNTAINEERS AT FONTBLANCA.
All the top skiers will be in Andorra, including the Italian Overall World Cup winner Damiano Lenzi, who is not in tip-top shape because of some back pain, and the French ace Laetitia Roux, who dominated the 2015 national championship and is determined to give her all against a feisty Emelie Forsberg.
The line up will also include French athlete William Bon Mardion (winner of the Individual World Cup title) and latest French champion for this specific discipline, Robert Antonioli from Italy (winner of the Sprint World Cup title), the Spaniard Kilian Jornet Burgada (winner of the Vertical World Cup title) and German Anton Palzer, who since the start of the season has proven to be in spectacular form.
Among the outsiders as seen by the ISMF Skimo organizers, we might mention Matteo Eydallin and Michele Boscacci from Italy will compete against French athlete Xavier Gachet. Last weekend Michele Boscacci dominated the Italian championship and has certainly come to Andorra to end in the top positions.
As regards the female side of the event Laetitia Roux will be in good company at the starting line, with the likes of Axelle Mollaret, the Swiss ace Jennifer Fiechter, Emelie Forsberg from Sweden, the Spaniard Marta Riba Carlos and Victoria Kreuzer, from Switzerland.
Favorites: In the men´s field Kilian Jornet arrives as the main favorite having just beaten rivals such as Remi Bonnet at the swiss championships or William Bon Mardion at the French ones.
In the lady´s field the almighty Laetitia Roux was recently upset by Emelie Forsberg who won at the race held for the french championship. It will be most interesting to follow up on their duel, together with Laura Orgué as a superb specialist in the vertical races.
Kilian Jornet arrives es the main favorite: He is to begin the ski racing season by taking part in the first event of the ski mountaineering World Cup, the Font Blanca, this weekend. The competition will be held in Vallnord and Kilian will take part in the two races mentioned above: The individual race in the Arcalís area and the vertical race in Arinsal, where he will put the work done in pre-season to the test.
The Salomon athlete arrived at Andorra on Wednesday to survey the circuits and spend a few days at home. FontBlanca will be his first official main race of the season and he is longing to race it.
Declarations by Kilian Jornet: “Being the first event of the season, I’m eager to meet the other skiers and see how I compare. The aim will be to be as near as possible to top positions and to fight for victory’, ‘I started skiing in November, doing intense workouts during that month and also in December, and I have devoted these past weeks to resting and to tuning up by taking part in some races. My legs have skied 140,000 m of altitude difference, which is a good amount to face the season with, but now the time has come to fine tune and prepare competitions in depth”
‘It’s one of the World Cup classic races with very good organization and always attractive routes. Moreover, being the first one, I am eager to meet other racers and see how I compare. These past weeks I have competed in the French championships and the Swiss Cup to tune up a bit and, so far, sensations are very good,’ says Jornet.
Jornet will fight for victory, first in the individual race and after in the vertical race, as he did last year: ‘As in past years, my goal is to try to get as near as possible to top positions, to fight for victory and think about getting good overall results. Skiers are always in good shape and strong, and even more so at the beginning of the season. In the first few races, intensity is very high and density even more,’ he says.
FONTBLANCA, PHOTOGALLERY EUROPEAN SKIMO CHAMPS
Almost all of the faces present this weekend at Fontblanca raced here at the European Skimo Champs back in 2014. Here are some of their best images.
FURTHER INFO ABOUT SKI, MOUNTANEERING & TRAIL RUNNING IN SPAIN.
- The leading trail running website in Spain, since 2007: Carrerasdemontana.com
- Mountains of Spain: Quick overview of 2nd most mountainous country in Europe.
- Skimo, mountaneering and more outdoor sports, covered here at Moxigeno.com