ULTRA TRAIL MONT BLANC 2018: THE UTMB WEEK SUMMARY. SEVEN GREAT RACES IN THE ALPS
UTMB 2018 is finishing, the Ultra Trail of Montblanc that was born in 2003, with 700 hundred runners, now it holds 10,000 runners and 2,000 volunteers from 100 different countries, starting in Chamonix from August 27th to September 2nd, seven races has been driven around the Mont Blanc crossing 3 different countries France, Italy and Switzerland.
Trailrunningspain.com and carrerasdemontana.com was there on-site to describe and narrate all that will happen in the seven races.
UTMB 2018 TDS – OCC: POLAND AND CHINA MAKE HISTORY
TDS –For the first time since its inception, the UTMB® celebrates the victory of a Polish athlete. On Wednesday evening, Marcin Swierc (2nd place in the 2017 CCC®) made history by crossing the TDS® finish line in first place in front of the race’s more than 1500 participating runners.
The 123km race, with 6800m of vertical gain, remained undecided until the final few kilometers. During the first section of the course, American runner Dylan Bowman set the pace for fellow competitors Pablo Villa (ESP), Dmitry Mityaev (RUS), Tofol Castaner (ESP), and Marcin Swierc (POL). Due to the unstable and rainy weather, the start was delayed two hours and the course modified; several favorites and outsiders did not finish, including Hayden Hawks (USA), last year’s CCC® winner, and Frenchmen Ludo Pommeret, Fabien Antolinos, and Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz. The latter was recently crowned France’s long course trail running national champion.
By the time they reached kilometer 100 in Les Contamines, the four-person lead group continued to play cat and mouse. Recent High Trail Vanoise winner, Dmitry Mityaev, left the aid station in first place, followed by Dylan Bowman and Marcin Swierc just one minute behind. The three men stayed together until the Place du Tirangle de l’Amitié finish line, forcing a sprint through the streets of Chamonix at the very end of the more than 120km race. At this little game, Polish runner Swierc proved the most resilient of the three, speeding one minute ahead of Dylan Bowan (13:24 versus 13:25:02). He crossed the finish line in first place to the resounding cheers of an impressive and clearly dedicated fan club. The TDS® 3rd place finisher, Russian Dmitry Mityaev (13:25:43), finished right behind the two lead runners.
In the women’s race, Frenchwoman Audrey Tanguy showed everyone what a great season she is having by winning in 16:05, outpacing the 2013 and 2014 UTMB® winner Rory Bosio (USA, 16:19). This victory was not really surprising for Audrey, who finished 2nd behind Mimmi Kotka (SE) in this year’s 90km du Mont-Blanc. Caroline Benoit (FR) crossed the finish line in 3rd place (17:18).
OCC – Thursday morning, 1500 runners stood at the starting line in Orsières, Switzlerand, to run a 56km, 3500m vertical gain race all the way to Chamonix. The OCC’s explosive course format provided the winner with the means to enter the history books. China’s Erenjia Jia crossed the finish line first in 05:28, to become the trail running ambassador for a country where the sport is growing fast. After his 2nd race on the European continent, his name now figures among the top runners. Leading the race from beginning to end, the Chinese runner finished in first in front of Spaniard Santiago Mezquita (05:34) and Frenchman Kevin Vermeulen (05:35:54). For the women, New Zealander Ruth Croft, who won the Marathon du Mont-Blanc this year and the 2015 CCC®, dominated the women’s race and also placed 18th overall with her time of 05:53.
CCC – On Friday 31st, the Welsh Tom Evans won the 2018 edition of the CCC ®, with a meteorology «typically British», after a perfect race management. Along the kilometers, it reaches the Chinese Min Qi, who had led the race about 90 km, before being “deposed” by the young Welsh. Indeed, Tom Evans has surpassed the favorites Min Qi (winner of the Hong Kong 100 miles 2018) and Marco de Gasperi (ITA) in the first half of the tour, before facing his fantastic race to the first position.
Pau Capell (ESP), winner of the TDS ® 2016, has also came from last positions, after a difficult start: «I have had a delicate race start. I didn’t had legs, no sensations» said Capell, finally 3 º. “But fortunately, I have recovered in the second part of the race” explained the current leader of the Ultra-Trail ® World tour.
This CCC ® 2018 proved a little more the arrival of China in the world of the trail. Following the victory of Erenjia Jia in the OCC, the 2nd place of Min Qi in the CCC ® Men’s, Miao Yao’s in women confirms the emergence and talent for China’s trail running. As his friend Min Qi has said, Mia Yao has made the race in the lead from the begining, leaving in the background to their prestigious competitor Ida Nilsson (SE), Katie Schide (USA) or Anne-Lise rousset (FR). She has maintained her leadership to the finish line and completed the race at 11h57:46. Katie Schide, ended in second place, position that has occupied throughout the race. As for Ida Nilsson, it obtains the third place of the podium female, advancing Anne-Lise Rousset (4e) in Trient, with 30kms of the arrival.
UTMB – Xavier Thévenard joins François D’Haene and Kilian Jornet in a number of victories, winning UTMB for third time. He has now one the 6th Crown in one of the races of the UTMB ®.
The french has completed the 170 kms and D+9,800 m in 20h44. “My goal is clear: to make the Mont-Blanc tour as quickly as possible, without worrying about the competition. My goal is chronometric entry because if I get it, I will not be far from the Victory» explained before the start.
Xavier Thévenard has left the media and popular pressure on the shoulders of the two ultra favorites, Kilian Jornet (ESP) and Jim Walmsley (USA). “You have to know how to be humble in this type of race, if no mountain will put you in your place” has said very excited at the finish line.
Indeed, during the night there has been a hecatomb among the other favorites. Jim Walmsley, who came out as always marking the pace, finished in 19e position at km 80 in Courmayeur (ITA). In favorable conditions to the most mountaineers (cold, wind rain, sleet to 2,500 m), the American army has gone to the hells along the kilometers.
This UTMB ® has also shown that Kilian Jornet is human. He was not able to win his 4th. The cause: a bee which bite him three hours before the start, Kilian has experienced an allergic reaction that has forced him to leave. He has left his way to the top of the Grand Col Ferret. Luís Alberto Hernando, Sylvain Court, Benoît Cori, Tim Tollefson, other suitors, have also joined the cohort of dropouts.
The road was at that moment clearer for Zach Miller (USA) and Xavier Thévenard, leaders. The two men remain grouped to the La Fouly. But the ascent to Champex Lac was fatal to Zach Miller, who cannot run, and allowed Xavier Thévenard go. Romanian Robert Hajnal took advantage of it to be placed in second position, ahead of the Spaniard Jordi Gamito. With more than half an hour in Vallorcine, 20 kms from the arrival, there was only the ascent to the Flégère for Xavier Thévenard, who, as an experienced runner, manages perfectly his pace and got the “third star”. Romanian Robert Hajnal dismantles all the forecasts and confirms his 2nd place in 21h31, ahead of Jordi Gamito.
Francesca Canepa who starting to lead the race at the very end and Uxue Fraile who was in the top women all the races was able to finish second, finally the Jocelyne Pauly finished third to complete the feminine podium.
The week will be finishing on September 2nd, when the last runner of the UTMB cross the final line.
KILIAN JORNET RETIRED DUE TO A BEE´S STING: PERSONAL DECLARATIONS.
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Info by Abel de Frutos for Trailrunningspain