Lausanne – On the opening day of the penultimate WÜRTH MODYF ISMF World Cup stage, held in Martello (Bozen, Italy), the athletes representing 18 countries competed on a modified race track. In this winter with little snowfall, the so called Föhn (warm wind) and high temperatures forced the LOC’s Race Director Egon Eberhöfer and his staff to work extra hours and find a safe solution for the course where the snow was disappearing hour by hour. Therefore, in accordance with the ISMF referees, it was decided to ensure the safety of athletes and working staff along this track, cutting out the last ascent and descent.
At the end, the positive difference in altitude for the Senior men category was of 1575 m with 18,4 km of development, while for Senior women the difference in height was of 1270 m with 15,4 m of length.
Immediately after the start, Michele Boscacci (ITA), Xavier Gachet (FRA), William Bon Mardion (FRA), Rémi Bonnet (SUI) and Davide Magnini (ITA) took the lead. At the end of the first ascent the positions alternated. In the first descent the athletes had to deal with a treacherous and very wet snow. Xavier Gachet was the first to leave the transition area, followed by an unstoppable Davide Magnini, while Rémi Bonnet, William Bon Mardion and Michele Boscacci were behind them.
The leadership of the third ascent changed in favour of Davide Magnini, who in particular in the part on foot was able to keep his opponents at a distance. The race, which was shortened of its most beautiful section, was decided on the fifth and final ascent, when Davide Magnini took a bigger gap before starting the difficult descent leading to the finish.
At the end, he crossed the finish line with a time of 1:38’57”, ahead of Rémi Bonnet of Switzerland at 41” from the winner and Xavier Gachet in third position with a final time of 1:40’09”. Michele Boscacci (ITA) finished fourth, continuing to be the current leader of the entire World Cup, while the Frenchman William Bon Mardion fifth.
Among Senior women, Axelle Gachet-Mollaret from France dominated the race from the very beginning. Once again Tove Alexanderson (SWE) took the second place. It was very exciting the battle for the bronze medal, as Alba De Silvestro of Italy defended herself from the attacks of Emily Harrop (FRA) and the teammate Giulia Murada.
Axelle Gachet-Mollaret had clean and fast lines in the downhill and, indeed, her opponents could see her only in the longer and more open parts of the track. The French competitor finished with a time of 1:32’50”. Tove Alexandersson, with a delay of 1’38” took the silver and Alba De Silvestro the bronze with a final time of 1:38’46”. Emily Harrop (FRA) and Giulia Murada (ITA) took the fourth and fifth position respectively.
As for the U23 category, the women’s podium was all Italian, with the victory of Lisa Moreschini, followed by Samantha Bertolina and Katia Mascherona. Among men, Paul Verbnjak of Austria won. The podium was completed by his teammate Andreas Mayer (2° place) and Sebastien Guichardaz of Italy (3° place).
The U20 Thomas Bussard (SUI) took the win, ahead of the Frenchman Anselme Damevin and the Italian Rocco Baldini. Among women, Manuela Pedrana (ITA) achieved the top step of the podium, with the two Swiss athletes Thibe Deseyn and Caroline Ulrich in second and third position respectively.
The Sprint race will be staged in the morning of Sunday 20 March in the Biathlon Centre in Martello. The highlights of this spectacular competition will be live streamed at https://tv.ismf-ski.org/events/8.