Kilian Jornet (Salomon) has held his rank as super-favourite by this afternoon winning the 7th edition of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). Holding onto the title, the 21-year-old Catalan has done the double, after 21H33 of effort. "This second success has a different flavour from last year’s" Kilian explained at the Finish. "This night has been very tough, with rain, wind and cold around the French-Swiss border". Capricious weather certainly handicapped the Spaniard in his quest for a victory inside 20 hours. He joins UTMB legend, his "senior" Marco Olmo, with two consecutive victories around Mont-Blanc.
Although Kilian crossed the Finish Line as winner, Frenchman Sébastien Chaigneau (The North Face) clocked in about one hour behind, with the Japanese Kaburaki (The North Face), already 4th last year, on his heels. Scott Jurek and Julien Chorier (Lafuma) had for a long time been attempting to keep up with this leading trio, but eventually were no longer able to maintain the frenetic pace and dropped gently down in the Top 10.
Jornet had never been troubled throughout his entire trip, which brought together 2,286 competitors. He clocked first at each of the control points along the 166km long course with its 9,400m of ascent. By nightfall, yesterday evening, several outsiders had been forced to lowertheir flag. The first were Marco Olmo (ITA) and Dawa Sherpa (NEP). The latter gave in his race number at La Balme. "I did not have any strength left, neither in my arms, nor my legs, I was emptied, and it would not have been of any use for me to continue in such conditions", explained the Nepalese, who was showing the initial symptoms of anaemia. His Quechua team-mate, Vincent Deleberre, retired at Lac Combal.
Yesterday evening just before 10pm, the Swiss Jean-Yves Rey (Nike) won the the Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix after taking 11h40 to cover the 98 race kilometres and 5,500m ascent. Already winner of the 2008 Mont Blanc marathon, the Helvetian runner did it again on this half circuit of Mont Blanc, in his first appearance in the event. "It’s true that this region smiles down on me", smiled the Swiss. Jean-Yves went it alone from the Start at Courmayeur, regularly increasing the distance from his different adversaries. He was 35 minutes ahead of the Greek Nikolaos Kalofyris (Team Salomon) winner of the Olympus Marathon in 2006, and the Frenchman Ludo Pommeret (Team Quechua), also on a winner’s podium this year.