SKYRUNNER WORLD SERIES 2019: THE TURN OF SKYRACE DES MATHEYSINS
The fourth stage of the 2019 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series is coming and will see top skyrunners from over 30 countries, flock to the French alps on May 19th, curious to discover the steep, fast and technical Skyrace des Matheysins. New to the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series calendar it hasn’t stopped Skyrace des Matheysins from attracting big names with a lot at stake.
SKYRACE DES MATHEYSINS 2019 (27k/D+1980m)
The 27 km course with 1,980m vertical climb, is well known for its technical downhills and gnarly, snow-covered peaks. The race takes place in Matheysine in the heart of the French alps. Shaped by glaciers and surrounded by high mountain ranges, the “Plateau Matheysin” is also known as “Little Siberia” – an indicator of the conditions athletes could face this weekend.
The first few kilometers of the race is on the Devil’s Garden, a single-track mountain road leading to the Oreilles de Loup which is a technical section with ropes. From there, the course climbs considerably, hitting several summits above 2000m, including Pérollier at 2183m, Tabor at 2389m and Piquet de Nantes at 2214m, where runners are rewarded with panoramic views of the French Alps.
Among them is Thibaut Garrivier of France. The flying Frenchman put himself on the map last weekend by winning the legendary Transvulcania Ultramarathon. He now sits at the top of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series overall ranking after being awarded double points for his participation in one of four SuperSky Races of the season.
“Skyrace des Matheysins is really close to my home and I already know the course as I ran there in 2016. It’s a short, fast race so I just hope that I am recovered enough from this weekend.” said Garrivier after his incredible performance at Transvulcania. He will no doubt have his work cut out for him though with Oriol Cardona of Spain also behind the starting line on Sunday.
Cardona, who was knocked off the overall ranking top-spot by Garrivier, has performed consistently well this season, with two second place finishes so far. “In Japan it was a Japanese runner who won and in China it was a Chinese runner, so my next race is the Skyrace des Mathesyins in France – I just hope there is not a French runner there.” said Cardona after his last race in Yading. The young Spaniard placed second at the Mt. Awa Skyrace in Japan behind Japanese runner, Ruy Ueda, and once again missed out on another first place at the Yading Skyrun in China to local runner, Renjia Jiae. All attention now turns to his battle against Garrivier.
Other ones to watch in the men’s field include Pascal Egli of Switzerland, the Casal Mir brothers of Andorra, Andy Symonds and Ricky Lightfoot of Great Britain, Kiril Nikolov of Bulgaria, Bartlomiej Przedwojewski of Poland and Pablo Villa of Spain. Aside from Garrivier, there is also an impressive number of top French skyrunners who will be competing on their home turf, such as: Adrien Perret, Nicolas Martin, Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz, Matthieu Delpeuch, Johann Baujard and Germain Grangier.
USA’s Hillary Gerardi, the 2018 Sky Extra champion leads the women’s line-up with fierce competition from one half of the famous Swedish duo, Sanna El Kott Helander, who will be competing alone this year due to her sister, Lina, pulling out of the season with an injury. “Racing alone without Lina will affect my performance for sure. To be honest I think it will be tougher, because out on races you push so hard that all kinds of feelings flush through your body, so I don’t know if it will be advantage to not face one of my strongest rivals on the start line and be able to take a step forward, or if I can’t handle it out there. We’ll see.” says El Kott Helander as she prepares to go solo in Matheysins. “I have been to the French Alps a few times but not this area so I was really curious about Skyrace des Matheysins.”
Gerardi and El Kott Helander will be up against USA’s Katie Schide, who counts second place at the 2018 UTMB’s CCC in her long list of achievements, Oihana Azkorbebeitia of Spain, Sandra Sevillano of Spain, Ingrid Mutter of Romania, Gisela Carrion of Spain and Great Britain’s Georgia Tindley.
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