Italy’s Xavrier Chevrier set a new course record in the latest stage of the World Mountain Racing Association World Cup as he raced to victory in a closely fought La Montee du Nid d’Aigle. Kenya’s Lucy Murigi won the women’s race, finishing just two seconds outside outside the course record.
La Montee du Nid d’Aigle had been a highly anticipated race and it didn’t disappoint. Conditions were hot for the runners, particularly on the exposed parts of the course which covers 19.5km of relentless, uphill-only running.
With strong fields in both the men’s and women’s races, both podiums were wide open. Runners like Lucy Murigi (KEN), Henri Aymonod (ITA), Susanna Saapunki (FIN), Sandor Szabo (HUN) and Lucie Marsanova (CZE) had raced at Grossglockner just last weekend. Similarly, Francesco Puppi (ITA) and Anais Sabrie (FRA) had done well in a very competitive Mont Blanc Marathon just two weeks before.
As expected, the flatter first few kilometres of the race were fast and furious and before too long gaps had opened for the men and women. Lucy Murigi had struck out into a lead over Anais Sabrie (FRA) and Christel Dewalle (FRA). Meanwhile Xavrier Chevrier and Francesco Puppi had made a break for it, but they were hotly pursued by a group including Julien Rancon (FRA), Alexandre Fine (FRA) and Henri Aymonod.
The men’s race remained close but Chevrier pulled away from Puppi, and the chasing runners jostled for that third place.
It was all very close in the final stages. Chevrier took the win in the men’s race in a record breaking 1.44.25, followed by Puppi, just over one minute behind (1.45.49). Aymonod completed the all Italian men’s podium in 1.46.44. Julien Rancon was fourth in 1.48.43 and Remi Lonchampt rounded out the top 5 in 1.50.18.
Dewalle, who is a 10 time French VK champion and excels on the steeper climbs, chased Murigi hard on the final climb, but she just couldn’t catch her. Murigi won in 2.06.08 (agonisingly, just 2 seconds outside the course record), with Dewalle just 21 seconds behind and Anais Sabrie was just a minute behind in 2.07.34. Mathilde Sagnes (FRA) was fourth in 2.08.37 and Simone Troxler fifth in 2.10.43. All in all a very close top 5, all within 4.5 minutes.
1st Xavrier Chevrier (ITA) 1.44.25
2nd Francesco Puppi (ITA) 1.45.49
3rd Henri Aymonod (ITA) 1.46.44
1st Lucy Murigi (KEN) 2.06.08
2nd Christel Dewalle (FRA) 2.06.29
3rd Anais Sabrie (FRA) 2.07.34
Next stop for the World Cup, Tatra SkyMarathon on Saturday 24th July.