01 March, 2010

World Championships 2010 Vertical Race

The first race day is upon us here in Soldeu Andorra.  Team Canada's Reiner Thoni, Ian Gale, Jeff Colvin, Billie Velisek, Julie Matteau, and Melanie Bernier are racing the vertical race in El Tarter (1680m).  The course winds up some catracks and groomers to the alpine, 5km and 880m elevation gain,  to Collada Cap De Clots (2388m).  The course itself is punishing, with lots of flats, and sudden long steep pitches to go anaerobic on.  To start, the Cadets category got going really early, followed by the Women, Espoirs, and last the Mens.  Spectators were skinning up and down the course, tv cameras, and coaches were speckled across the sidelines waiting for competitors.  (Photo Left:  Team Canada in the Opening Ceremonies, opening parade)

The first of Team Canada that came blazing though was Melanie Bernier, who finished 19th, with a time of 57:53:00.  She led a strong pack of women up the steepest climb, crushing everyones confidence, as she kept the hammer down.  Julie Matteau, and Billie Velisek, put down a strong performance with some great battles that ended with the Canadians passing and beating a few other teams.  (Photo Right:  The Vertical Course from El Tarter.  Photo Below:  Melanie Bernier Team Canada)
The Men's race, was another high paced, eye opener of an event.  Spain's Kilian Jornet Bergada finished the course in a whopping 39:50:8.  Canada's Reiner Thoni proved easily that Canada was closing the gap on the World Cup circuit, placing only 8:45:0 off the Spaniard's time, well done Reiner!  Ian Gale, and Jeff Colvin, also put in a great effort, and made us all proud yet again.  (Photo Below:  Jeff Colvin suffering, Andrew McNab (Right) chases and shouts on the sidelines.)
Check Out Golden Skimo for more action here, Skimo Stoke here, and International Skimo site here.

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