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Ups and Downs in Areches Beaufort

It’s nearly 7 in the morning when the athletes line up on the starting line, for the 2 stage of the Pierra Menta. They will climb 5 summits for a total positive elevation of 2757m on this very cloudy day.

After 5km and the first summit passed, it’s time to cross the Arêches village to the applause of the crowd and the loud ringings of the bells, giving the right tempo to the athletes. Passing by the church the standings are in favour of the locals, Xavier Gachet and William Bon Mardion, closely followed by the Italian pair Michele Boscacci and Robert Antonioli and by Kilian Jornet and Jakob Hermann. In the women’s race, the winning duo from yesterday (Axelle Mollaret and Katia Tomatis) are neck and neck with Emelie Forsberg and Laetitia Roux in pole position.

And so the second ascent begins, the athletes put the skins on again and move on to le Col du Pré where Jornet and Hermann will appear first, followed by the Areches locals and the Italians. In the women’s race Mollaret-Tomatis and Roux-Forsberg cross first and go on full speed towards checkpoint 8, le Chalet du Trus.

Astonishing news 30 minutes after getting through the pass, the title-holder Matteo Eydallin and Damiano Lenzi give up. Recurring backpain throughout the season for Damiano Lenzi and bad weather conditions will push the Italian duo to leave this 33rd Pierra Menta early. Ciao Steppen!

Axelle and Katia take the lead at Col du Bouchet and widen the gap with their challengers Emelie and Laetitia, they will keep their advantage until the finish line to secure their 1st place overall.

Jornet et Hermann take the lead of the provisional ranking reaching the Table d’Orientation checkpoint, before the last downhill, our French representant Xavier and William as well as the Italian duo Boscacci Antonioli are 1.40 minute behind the Catalan and the Austrian. But this descent had its share of rebounds and the fight will be settled with a sprint leaving Boscacci and Antonioli 4 seconds behind Jornet and Herman. The Areches guys Bon Mardion and Gachet suffer until the end and will finish more than 4 minutes behind the leaders.

Fact of the day

The title holders and 4th team in the overall rankings giving up, Matteo Eydallin and Damiano Lenzi leave this 33Rd Pierra Menta early. The podium changes are also notable today, with Boscacci and Antonioli taking the 1st place in the overall rankings, followed by Kilian Jornet and Jakob Hermann and by the Arêches duo William Bon Mardio-Xavier Gachet.

Athletes of the day

The explosive Axelle Mollaret and her teammate Katia Tomatis who are reigning on the first 2 stages of this 33rd Pierra Menta and widen the gap with an 8 minutes advantage on the second team.