8th International SkyRace Valmalenco Valposchiavo
Published 16 Jun 2009 in Race Reports
"Czech double victory on a course modified because of the weather"
Two of the greats of mountain running, Robert Krupicka and Anna Pichrtova, imposed themselves on the Valmalenco-Valposchiavo event of 2009, an event which was conditioned by very capricious weather and which took place over a foreshortened course of approximately 20km.
The weather forecast for Saturday and up to dawn on race day indicated moderate improvement, with precipitation diminishing until the middle of the afternoon. Rightly, this convinced the organisers to give the go-ahead for the classic 31km format for the event, with the start at Lanzada (982 metres above sea-level) and the finish in Poschiavo. However, at altitude, visibility was very soon reduced, it was raining hard, and the temperatures were rather low. Giving priority to the safety of the athletes, the event organisers therefore put into effect a change of course. Up at Alpe Campagneda (2000m a.s.l.) the runners were diverted to Campo Moro, and thence towards the finish at Alpe Franscia (1750m a.s.l.).
Here the organisers provided a bus service which transported the competitors to Plaza da Cumün in Poschiavo, where the Swiss organising committee provided hot showers and food.
"Our event has always been an international benchmark for impeccable organisation and for how well athletes are treated," commented Dario Marchesi, the president of the organising committee. "I have no doubt that we made the right decision under the circumstances. In the morning the forecasts justified holding the event under normal conditions, but the moment the situation at altitude changed, absolute precedence was given to the well-being and safety of the competitors. In such situations, the entertainment must take second place. A finish in Poschiavo would have been the well-deserved crowning of the efforts made by all the event volunteers, but there we are. The meeting between the competitors and the excited spectators in the square was merely delayed."
Turning to the story of the race itself, at the first checkpoint at Cima Sassa the top male runners passed through in a large, compact group. In the women's event, on the other hand, Anna Pichrtova and Angela Mudge immediately tried to force the pace.With the passing of the minutes and the kilometres, there could be no doubts. At the finish, Robert Krupicka came in ahead of Ricardo Mejia (from Mexico) and Helmut Schiessl (Germany). These were followed by the Spaniards of the Salomon-Santiveri team, Augusti Roc and Kilian Jornet. Also in the first ten finishers were Tom Owens (Great Britain), the Italians Fulvio Dapit and Jil Pintarelli, the Spaniard Jessed Hernandez, and another Italian, Nicola Golinelli.
In the women's race, by contrast, Anna Pichrtova threw down the gauntlet right from the start, imposing herself on her compatriot Michaela Mertova and on Angela Mudge (Great Britain). The Portuguese runner, Rosa Madureira, and Stephanie Jimenez (Andorra) came in 4th and 5th, respectively. The other competitors in the first ten were Maria Luisa Riva (Italy), local competitor Raffaella Rossi, Corinne Favre (France), the Spanish alpine skier Miro Mireia, and, also from Italy, Giuliana Arrigoni.
Looking at the points table, there were rewards at the Valmalenco-Valposchiavo trial for those competitors who came to the event looking for precious gains. Ricardo Mejia consolidated his leading position, rising to 266 points. Fulvio Dapit, member of the Crazy Idea team, overtook Paolo Larger into second position with a total of 184. Paolo Larger, not present on this occasion, remains at 130. Among the women, the current leader is the Andorran Stephanie Jimenez (234 points), her 5th place in this event allowing her to overtake the absent Emanuela Brizio (200); in third position is the Portuguese Rosa Madureira (188).
Comments from the athletes:
Robert Krupicka: "Initially I was worried about the distance, as I am used to shorter events; however, as the kilometres went by I felt that my legs were working well, and I had a go. When we were diverted, I didn't know how much distance remained - all the signs were in Italian only. But it turned out well. I'll be back next year to do the whole course."
Anna Pichrtova: "From what I have seen, it really is a great event. I would have liked to do the whole thing, since I have heard about the wonderful descent in Switzerland. But the organisers made the right decision today. Next year I will return in order to experience the finish in Poschiavo at first hand."
Helmut Schiessl: "It was right to reduce the event, not so much for us, but more for those coming along behind. I like the Valmalenco-Valposchiavo event very much, no matter what course is run."
Fulvio Dapit: "They were right to change the event, but what a pity. Today I was going very well, and in the descent I would certainly have given my all."
Marc Sola Pastoret: "I came in 11th, and I am certain that I would have done better if the finish had been in Poschiavo. I was saving myself for the final effort towards the pass when they made us turn around. It was a pity, but I support the decision. Good organisation shows itself in such matters."
Maurizio Torri, Addetto stampa SkyRace Valmalenco-Valposchiavo