Maurizio Torri


Quella 2011 è stata un'edizione combattuta e altamente spettacolare. Francesca Canepa, prima fra le italiane e seconda al fotofinish

Sarà un’edizione da ricordare per Courmayeur quella del The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc® 2011, che ha visto il secondo posto nella classifica femminile della TDS della campionessa di casa Francesca Canepa. Prima fra le italiane, l’atleta nata e cresciuta a Courmayeur, dopo 120 km e 7 100 m di dislivello positivo, ha terminato la sua performance al fotofinish con la prima classificata, l’olandese Jolanda Linschooten, recuperando il distacco negli ultimi quindici minuti. «Sono felicissima per questo risultato, davvero inaspettato – dice Francesca, subito dopo aver tagliato il traguardo – e anche molto contenta di aver vinto una competizione che partiva proprio dalla mia città, che ha dimostrato grande affetto e partecipazione».
A vincere la TDS (Sur le traces des Ducs de Savoie), è stato il maratoneta Franck Bussiere, primo davanti a Lionel Trivel e Sebastien Talotti. Davide Cerutti, 24esimo è il primo italiano.

Per la terza volta in nove anni vince l’UTMB®, l’ultra maratona con partenza e arrivo a Chamonix che attraversa i tre versanti (francese, italiano e svizzero) del Monte Bianco, il catalano Kilian Jornet Burgada, seguito dal connazionale Iker Aranburu Karrera. Terzo posto per il maratoneta della North Face Sebastien Chaigneau. Nella classifica femminile prima Elisabeth Hawker, seconda Néré Martinez Urruzola e terza Darcy Piceu Africa. Marco Zanchi, arrivato 32esimo è il primo italiano, mentre Katia Fori, settima assoluta nella categoria donne, è la prima delle italiane.

Hanno dominato i francesi alla CCC® (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix), l’altra gara con partenza da Courmayeur. Tra i 1800 partecipanti al via ha vinto, dopo 10 ore, 10 minuti e 25 secondi, il francese Emmanuel Gault, davanti al canadese Adam Campbell e al greco Nikolaos Kalofyris. Prima tra le donne la francese Virginie Govignon davanti all’inglese Claire Price e alla transalpina Catherine Dubois. Primi italiani Diego Tschaffert e Alessandra Carlini, quarantunesimo e sesta nelle rispettive categorie.
Pioggia e vento non hanno fermato né gli atleti né gli abitanti di Courmayeur, scesi in piazza insieme ad animatori e cronisti per accogliere e incitare tutti i corridori con applausi e tifo non stop dalla partenza della TDS di giovedì 25 agosto, alla partenza della CCC® del giorno dopo fino al passaggio dell’ultimo dei partecipanti all’ UTMB® di ieri.


Treacherous weather, many course changes, and favourites not wishing to give the slightest ground to adversity: the 2011 UTMB® will have proved exceptional for its movement. The organisation, due to a wonderful teamwork with the forecasters of Meteo France, offered an impressing show brilliantly anticipating the climatic vagaries, so everything took place in the best safety conditions...for the runners, the volunteers and all the members of the organisation.

On the evening of Friday 26th, Manu Gault and Virginie Govignon scored their names for the first time in the Pantheon of open nature racing, by winning the CCC®, laid out between Courmayeur and Chamonix.

Just before the starting gun in Courmayeur's main square, the organisation had warned each of the competitors by SMS that the start of the course would be "shunted", for safety reasons. Violent storms had been forecast for the Grand Col Ferret. Race control's strategy was therefore to make the pack pass as quickly as possible to this stage of the course. This meant doing without the ascent of the Tête de la Tronche, and heading directly towards Bertone. Other modifications were planned at the end of the course; the runners linked Champex to Chamonix but avoiding Bovine, Catogne and the Tête aux Vents, also exposed to storms. This meant a declared total course of 93km and 5100m D+.

The "newcomers" in the pack got going at a brisk pace. Among them Julien Jorro (FR), but also Mickael Pasero (FR) and the title-holder Xavier Thévenard (FR).
More prudently, Manu Gault and the Canadian Adam Campbell stayed at respectable distances until Champex (6 minutes), before imposing their leadership on the competition. At Trient, Gault drove the point home, putting 15 minutes' distance between him and Campbell. The Greek Kalofyris, already 3rd last year, appeared in the same position, 30 minutes behind. It was a formation which would remain almost the same until the Finish, when the rain started to fall without interruption.

It was a fine reward for the athlete from Le Gard, who in July had placed a great deal on the Worlds in Ireland, but had missed it through sickness. "You can never say at the Start of a race « I'm going to win », but what was certain, is that I was definitely motivated to do really well."

For the girls, Britanny's Virginie Govignon completed an already glittering 2011 season, by winning after 12H47 of effort. "I really was fed up during the final hour of the race" Virginie said at the Finish. "I really went mental, praying that the girls behind would not come back."

The same day, launch of the UTMB® at 11:30PM instead of 06:30PM

From the start of the evening, the disturbances did not spare the Mont-Blanc massif. Temperatures plummeting, stormy depressions and snowfall would have obliged the organisers to delay the Start of the 9th UTMB®, on Friday 26th, by 5 hours to 23h30.

This timetable change also implied a modification of the track at the end of the course: in fact, to avoid a too belated Finish for the final runners on Sunday, the ascent of la Tête du Vent and the descent of La Flégère were cut out in the profit of the route of 2003 passing by the Petit balcon sud.

On Saturday morning, after an enormous storm on Bovine friday, the refreshment post had been destroyed. Even with all it's efforts, the organisation haven't been able to restor it in acceptable safety conditions in a way that everything could have been ready for the passage of the runners. They took the decision to leave out the ascent to Bovine and to divert the UTMB® via Martigny the same one that had been used the day before for the CCC® (during the storm). In the end, the route worked out at 170km et 9700m D+, the distance between Champex and Trient represents 5,6km and 690 m D+ more.

With this, the torrent of the 2,300 competitors was launched along the roads of Chamonix, under an intensifying rain. Covered to brave rain, cold, wind and snowfall announced for the high points of the course, the whole of the pack had taken precautions to confront this first night of racing.

As might have been expected, the Start was swift. Pascal Giguet livened up the Start of the race, going into the lead at St. Gervais. The density of these 2011 contenders was quickly confirmed, with some 24 runners inside 10 minutes at this point on the course.

With Les Contamines (km 31) behind, serious things were being disputed, since the competitors would be entering the heart of the mountainous terrain. The Croix du Bonhomme pass constituted the first real difficulty on the course. Under a fine snowfall, Mike Wolfe (USA), Kilian Jornet (SPA) and Nemeth Csaba (HUN) were the first to point towards the summit, following by Miguel Heras and Iker Karrera (SPA). Sébastien Chaigneau (FRA) gradually whittled down his delay to come back on the descent of the pass, and to catch up with the race leaders.

Starting at Courmayeur, the leading quartet split into two duets: Jornet-Karerra, then Chaigneau/Heras only a few minutes apart in turn crossed the Grand Col Ferret. This is before the inseparables regrouped together at Champex (SWI)

The ultimate decision will be decided during the ascent from Martigny where Kilian Jornet, produced his acceleration. Only Iker Karrera, for his first appearance on a race as long as this one, was resisting. Sébastien Chaigneau, wonderful all along the day, kept the distance around 6-7 minutes. Spain triumphs on the Place de l'Amitié, Jornet the Catalan finishes in 20h36mn in front of the Basque Karrera in 20h45mn and Sébastien Chaigneau (FRA) in 20h55.

As for the girls, the triple UTMB® championess Liz Hawker has, since yesterday evening, been heading for an epic 4th. Staying with the boys, the Britisher already had built up a lead of more than 1h45 minutes over Nerea Martinez (SPA) after 140km of racing, and Maud Gobert. We are waiting for her arrival around 23:00PM

1- Kilian Jornet Burgada 20h36'43
2- Iker Karrera Aranburu 20h45'30
3- Sébastien Chaigneau en 20h55'41