|SWS – very vertical at Dolomites|
The first race of this weekend’s intensive World Series programme climbed a vertical kilometre skywards in the Italian Dolomites this morning. The unforgiving ascent had Nejc Kuhar from Slovenia, first in 33’33”, Antonio Padua from Columbia, second in 33’52” and Spain’s Kilian Jornet, third in 34’03”.
In the women’s field, Italy’s Antonella Confortola, past winner and today’s favourite was first in 40’05”, and Spain’s Mireia Mirò and Blanca Maria Serrano, in 42’45” and 43’34” respectively. Record holder Urban Zemmer (33’16”) was absent due to injury.
The Dolomites “double” now attends Sunday’s classic SkyRace® celebrating 15 years with an extraordinary world-class line up raring to go. Many of the runners in fact will compete in both races, valid for the combined points and the SkyRace® and Vertical Kilometer® circuits.
Suday’s line-up has Kilian Jornet favourite alongside last year’s winner and recent SkyMarathon® world champion Luis Alberto Hernando. The strong Spanish contingent includes also Miguel Caballero, Agusti Roc, Jessed Hernandez and David Lopez.
Other top competitors to look out for are Ionut Zinca from Romania; Britain’s Tom Owens and, back on the international scene, past World Series champion Rob Jebb; Dai Matsumoto from Japan (2nd in the recent SkyRace® at the SkyGames®); new entry Mick Donges from Australia and the evergreen Italians: Fulviio Dapit, Michele Tavernaro and Paolo Larger.
Spain’s Mireia Mirò, last year’s winner, leads the favourites in the women’s field with reigning World Series’ champion Oihana Kortazar absent for health reasons. Among the strong favourites of course, is local runner and 2008 SkyGames® champion, Antonella Confortola; Sweden’s Emelie Forsberg (3rd in Zegama) and Britain’s Lauren Jeska (4th in Zegama). American Kasie Enman tries her hand at her first World Series’ SkyRace®.
Already clouded over, organisers and participants are keeping their fingers crossed for a break in three successive years of bad weather which meant course cutting – including the summit of Piz Boè which stands at 3,152m altitude. The short steep course with 10 km ascent and 12 km descent in a loop features a gruelling 1,750m vertical climb. The records to beat stand at 2h04’05” and a close 2h30’17” for the women.
Before Sunday’s Dolomites SkyRace®, another World Series race takes place on Saturday in Wales with the Snowdon International – a short 10-miler but with plenty of grunt and a great reputation - it summits Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales and England. The 36-year history includes race winners former winners that include names such as Kenny Stuart, Angela Mudge, Marco de Gasperi, Tim Davies and Colin Jones.
Favourites this year are 5-times winner Andi Jones who will again be contested by Scot Murray Strain, now running for the international Arc’teryx team and further competition provided by a strong Kenyan squad and an under-23 team from Salomon France.
See www.snowdonrace.co.uk for details
Vertical Kilometer® race results
1. Nejc Kuhar (SLO) La Sportiva Mountain Running
2. Saul Padua (COL)
3. Kilian Jornet (ESP) Salomon Santiveri
4. Matheo Jacquemoud (FRA)
5. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) Federacion Aragonese Montanismo
1. Antonella Confortola (ITA) Salomon
2. Mirea Mirò (ESP) Salomon Santiveri
3. Maria Serrano (ESP) Selecion Andaluza
4. Laura Orguè (ESP) Salomon
5. Emelie Forsberg (SWE) Salomon