PIERRA MENTA INSIDE - DAY 4
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Intense final and intense snowfalls for this 33rd Pierra Menta Finale
There had to be an end to this beautiful adventure that is Pierra Menta. It’s 7.15 am and we meet the athletes one last time for this 4th stage. At the start, the rain/snow limit is around 1100m high and makes gliding difficult but the 3 leading teams are held in a pocket handkerchief until the Serraz Parking lot run. Competition-wise, the podium seemed to already be established and there were little chances it would change over the last stage.
The “summit” of the day, the Cuvy Plateau will be climbed 3 times, both athletes and spectators intend to take advantage of it. An extraordinary atmosphere, chants, trumpets, bells, mulled wine and good spirit accompany the race. After the first ascent to the Cuvy, Kilian Jornet and his sidekick Jakob Herrman are 30 seconds in front of the locals, William Bon Mardion and Xavier Gachet, and 1 minute in front of the Italians (2nd overall) Michele Boscacci and Robert Antonioli.
The crowd on the Plateau du Cuvy is massive in regards to weather conditions and is making its voice heard all along the 3 ascent of the Cuvy for the seniors and the juniors. No Grand Mont this year but the chants and sing-alongs go well, the mulled wine gives strength to the crowd to ring the bells high and acclaim every team reaching the top of this loop.
In the women race, Laetitia Roux and Emelie Forsberg lead while Katia Tomatis and Axelle Mollaret pace their efforts and benefit from their comfortable advantage in the overall ranking to stay away from unnecessary danger.
Finally, the whole plot of this stage happened in the last loop towards le Plateau du Cuvy in the men’s race. Settled in the finish line area, we witness the beautiful stage victory for Xavier Gachet and William Bon Mardion in their region, carried by their supporters in an electric atmosphere; after a downhill neck and neck with the Italian duo. Then comes the choc of the day: Kilian Jornet and Jakob Herrman don’t seem to be anywhere close the finish line, and it’s announced, Kilian crashed before Sainte Barbe’s checkpoint and in spite of his efforts could not go on … he is giving up. A fractured fibula stops Kilian and Jakob’s hopes for victory and ends this Pierra Menta sadly for Jornet, and his partner too. In the overall rankings, the victory is for the Boscacci-Antonioli team, the Areches duo Gachet-Bon Mardion take second place and the third spot is taken by the French team Didier Blanc and Valentin Favre.
In the women’s race, this stage is far less dramatic and is concluded with a beautiful victory for Laetitia Roux and Emelie Forsberg, which is not enough to catch up with the comfortable advantage Axelle Mollaret and Katia Tomatis had. The Franco-Italian duo wins this 33rd Pierra Menta with class, control and a smile on their face over the whole 4 stages! The overall podium is completed by the duo Mireia Miro Varela-Marta Garcia Farrès.
In the end, terrible conditions throughout this stage, but a crazy atmosphere on the Plateau du Cuvy which confirms once again that the Pierra Menta is an extraordinary race.
See you next year, we can’t wait!
Athlete of the day
Xavier Gachet and William Bon Mardion who honour the extraordinary fervor of the public in Areches Beaufort with a beautiful stage victory and 2nd place overall.
Fact of the day
How not to mention the sad abandon of the ultra-terrestrial Kilian Jornet, who was in the lead overall until his injury that affected both the public and the athletes present in Areches as demonstrated with all the support given to his teammate Jakob Herrman when he entered the finish area.