In his tenth season at the top Kilian Jornet has shown that he’s still as motivated as the boy with the Mohican who used to turn up for races in a minivan. For the past three years in Andorra he’s been at the top of the podium and despite some muscle pain this morning he came second in the vertical race event in Arcalís. Yesterday he finished sixth in the individual race.
“Both races were great this weekend. The weather and the snow quality have meant we could enjoy these very beautiful and technical courses through the Andorra mountains which we haven’t been able to enjoy for a while and in spite of everything I’m as motivated as ever,” Jornet said.
La Font Blanca staged the opening event of the ski mountaineering World Cup in which Jornet hopes to repeat last year’s feat of winning the world title. Today he finished second behind the Swiss Martin Werner and ahead of the young Remy Bonet. The vertical event was held in Arinsal where the competitors had to overcome a 730m climb to arrive at the high point of the ski station.
“I wasn’t sure how I’d feel today after the muscular problems I had yesterday but it went well. A group of us set off together but right away it was clear that Martin had a lot of guts and he got away from us. I was gaining on him and in the end was able to attack enough to come second.” Jornet said.
The individual event was held yesterday morning. It’s a technical race and was marked by the past week’s heavy snowfalls. The Andorra event is the first of five that comprise the mountain skiing World Cup.
The skiers were pleased to hear from the race director on Friday that the race would follow the original, very Alpine route, with channels and mountain crests that test the contestants’ technical abilities. Last week’s snow came as a blessing for the race which offered the skiers a very competitive circuit that they enjoyed.
At 9:30 in the morning the 52 skiers, representing 12 countries, kept moving their extremities in order to be warm for the start at Coma, the halfway point of the Arcalís ski station. In spite of the cold, the weather was fine throughout the morning. Soon after the start the group quickly began to stretch out with Jornet near the front to take on a circuit with five uphill and downhill sections with an overall ascent of 1,625m, first to climb the Bretxa de Arcalís (2,725m) and the Port del Rat (2,540m), culminating in an ascent with skis in the backpack to the Coste Grande at 2,865m. From there it was downhill back to the start-finish line.
Jornet made a fast start but immediately had trouble with his legs and he couldn’t keep up with the frenetic pace set from the start by the Italian Damiano Lenzi. In spite of seeing it wasn’t day that he was going to win, he said: “On the second uphill section a group of skiers were fighting for second place. In the end they got away from me and I struggled to finish sixth and get some points on the board. Let’s see if the legs are better for the next races. In mountain skiing you have to compete hard and my motivation is as great as ever.”
The next event in the World Cup will be held next weekend at Cambre d’Aze.
Photo: ISMF Press Office