TOR DES GEANTS 2018 RACE REPORT. WINNERS FRANCO BOLLE (74h03) AND SILVIA TRIGUEROS (87h50)

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Tor des Géants 2018 has Franco Colle (74h03m) and Silvia Trigueros (87h50m) as winners This unique race was created back in 2010 as a 330k/D+24.000m ultra trail which takes place all over the Aosta Valley, Italy, with its start and the finish at Courmayeur. This year around 800 runners took on the challenge, with a maximum of 150 hours to complete it. Read on for the race history, course details and 2018 race report.

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TOR DES GEANTS HISTORY AND 2018 REPORT. 

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The race and its history:  Tor des Géants is a 330k/D+24.000m ultra trail which takes place all over the Aosta Valley, Italy, in September, with its start and the finish at Courmayeur. The  course must be completed in less than 150 hours, counting on over 43 refreshment points and among them 7 life bases, which allow full services to the runners, inclluded a much needed place to sleep for the popular runner, while the elite get by on along three days hardly stoping for a nap al tall.. The completion rate is about 60%.

Around 2000 volunteers are used to organize the race. Due to the alpine condition of the course with a race summit at Col Loson ovr 3.300m weather is an additional obstacle to be very much counted upon, with temperatures dropping at some points below -10ºC.  As they travel, the competitors can encounter sun, rain, wind, and even snow. Over the years, mountain conditions have greatly influenced the race.

The inaugural edition was in 2010. The 2012 edition was interrupted on the fourth night and stopped on the fifth day at En Bosses (303 km). About 70 runners completed the whole course. The 2013 edition was marked by the death of the Chinese runner, Yang Yuan. He fell and he hit his head on rocks during the first rainy night of the race. There is a monument at the site of the accident. The cairn has inscribed a poem written by Yang Yuan. The 2015 edition was interrupted on the third night due to severe weather and stopped on the fourth night, because Col Malatra got covered by ice. Only six runners completed the whole distance. In 2016 local authorities organized a competing race 4K VK alleging concerns for runner’s safety and the costs. That race started and ended in Cogne and went clockwise (unlike Tor) but had no continuity ever since. From  Tor 2017 onwards, where the current record of 67h52m was set by spaniard Javier Dominguez Ledo, the organizers have introduced a geolocation service via GPS system which displays full data in real time for each athlete

 

Tor des Geants 2018 race report: The first two days of this race are often a warmup for the key developments which come by after th 48hr mark brings in exhaustion, dhydration and sleep deprivation. This year, both leaders set out strongly from the start. A clasicc strategy by Franco. A display of great form by Silvia.  After more than 60 hours into the race, there were about twenty TOP runners, led by Franco Collé, who at 18 today, got through the passage of Oyace after 277km, less then 60km separates him from the finish line of Courmayeur  In the head of the race, runners fight inside the group, to conquer an advanced place in the ranking. For them to get to the 32nd place instead of the 35th has its importance, the competitive spirit must be satisfied. Over this first three days of the total seven allowed to reach the finish line, already 188 runners have been forced to stop and 706 remain in the race, but it’s likely that many of those will fail to finish.

Italian Franco Colle was at that point due into the last checkpoint at Refuge Bertone at 1.24pm today, then there’s a long and no doubt painful descent to the finish line in Courmayeur. He was at the time an hour in front of the second placed runner, Galen Reynolds, while Peter Kienzl, Oliviero Bosatelli and Kouta Toriumi complete the top5. Veteran spanish ultrarunner John Tidd was among the top5 for almost half the race but was forced to retire after 133km.

Exciting final strech: It should have been an arrival with arms down, in complete relaxation, because of the approximately 4 hours advantage that Franco Collé had set aside until the last life base, – Ollomont – on Galen Reynods, his closest pursuer. Instead it was an almost photofinish arrival, because the 37 minutes of separation between the two, over a distance of 330 kilometers, are really a trifle; a handful of more or less strides on an uphill stretch or a small downhill run. Honor and applause to the thirty-four years old Canadian Galen Reynolds, who believed in the comeback until the last kilometer. An amazing second place, with a time of 74 hours and 40, which improved the position of last year.

Franco Colle crossed the finish line finally after 74h03. Second win for him, coming after that of 2014 yet both quite far from the 67h52m record set by Dominguez in 2017 as in 2014, Colle finished the race with a time of 71h49m.
“I was sure to make it to the last hill, that of Malatrà, then I started to have doubts when they told me that my advantage was only 15 minutes. So there was nothing left for me to do but give it all”, said Collé immediately after the finish line. In fact, his advantage to Malatrà was 35 minutes and to report lower times, just to arouse reactions in the runner, is an old trick that comes from the world of cycling.
Collé has struggled a lot in the last 40 kilometers, but the character has prevailed on the physical; the desire to recover from the disappointment of last year, when he was forced to retire after leading the race, was stronger than ever more enveloping fatigue.
The head has managed to find residues of energy in every part of the body.

 Tor des Geants male podium 2018 was: 1-Franco Colle (ITA) 74h03; 2-Galen Reynolds (CAN) 74h40; 3-Peter Kienzl (ITA) 77h31m

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The leading woman, Silvia Trigueros Garrote, has been dominating the 2018 race after her solid debut back in 2017. hovering around the top ten overall for all of the race so far. At one point she was in seventh, but after 70 hours she was in 11th place. At that point the rest of the top5 women was way behind with Jamie Aarons, Scilla Tonetti, Giulia Saggin and Stephanie Case figthing it out between 25-30 rank overall. Silvia looks well poised for the first female from Spain to take the gold after male victories by Oscar Pérez (2012) Iker Karrera (2013) and Javi Dominguez (2017).

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On the other hand, the possibility of a record for Silvia seemed difficult after the first 79 hours were through, since Emilie Lecomte completed the race in 2013 with a time of 85h53. The hours passed and Silvia followed ahead to cross the finish line at 3.50AM thus closing a mark of 87h50 minutes with which she sealed the fourth Spanish victory at Courmayeur and first female gold.

 

 

Much more than a race: At the base of Gressoney life, at km 206, the race leaders arrival it was almost a holiday; super friendly volunteers, relaxed atmosphere, waiting for the runners that will pass tomorrow and the day after, when there will be a lot to do. At that time probably the TOR’s winner will have already made a few hours of sleep . Same for the next life base, that of Valtournenche after “only” 35 kilometers. While double work it will be up to the last life base of of Ollomont, placed at 290 km. Here will pass in the next two days also the 300 runners of the Tot Dret, at the start from Gressoney-Saint -Jean, at the foot of Monte Rosa.

 

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Tor des Geants 2018 Photogallery by Organization. 

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MORE ON SKIMO, TRAIL RUNNING AND MOUNTAIN GEAR

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Info by Mayayo Oxígeno for Trailrunningspain

 

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