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Grande Course video spot 2016
Grande Course video spot
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Pierra Menta
Adamello Ski Raid
Trofeo Mezzalama
Millet Tour du Rutor Extreme
Patrouille des Glaciers
Adamello Ski Raid Junior

La Grande Course Jeunes kicks off once again from the Passo del Tonale, with the 2016 edition of the Adamello Ski Raid Junior. Braving the fog and wind on the snows of the Presena glacier were around a hundred under-20s, eager to don race bibs and test their mettle in a race that has become the season’s traditional opening event.         
On a real ski-mountaineering course, including a section to be raced on foot and various off-piste climbs and descents, the 23rd Fabio Stedile Memorial trophy was also up for grabs. Ready, steady…and the junior race, with its 750 metres of elevation gain over two laps of the circular route, was off. After a thrilling head-to-head battle, the duo Davide Magnini – Enrico Loss representing the Trentino and Veneto regions managed to get the better of the pair from Bormio, Nicolò Canclini – Andrea Prandi. Third place went to twins Fabién e Sebastién Guichardaz from the Valle d’Aosta. As expected, Giorgia Felicetti – Melanie Ploner from the Bogn Da Nia club dominated the girls’ category, beating Elisa Presa – Mara Martini and Desiree Franzini – Marta Biffi.
In the cadet category, victory went to Matteo Sostizzo and Mattia Tanara, from Vicenza’s Schio ski club, after Mirko Sanelli and Alessandro Gadola from Lombardy picked up a time penalty for not having the mandatory equipment. On the third step of the podium, the duo from Sondalo in Valtellina, Simone Zubiani and Davide Lucchini.
As predicted, the winners in the girls’ cadet category were Samantha Bertolina from Sci Club Alta Valtellina and Anna Folini from the Polisportiva Albosaggia sports club. The runners-up were Erica Cola and Giulia Giudici, while third place went to Silvia Berra and Erica Bulanti.
In the club rankings, victory went to the Sci club Sondalo, ahead of Sci Club Alta Valtellina and the Polisportiva Albosaggia. Here are the post-race interviews with the two junior couples...

La Grande Course circuit is all set to go with a winter of great classic races. But before the curtain goes up on an exciting new season featuring stages of undeniable appeal such as the Pierra Menta, Adamello Ski Raid and Mezzalama Trophy, the organising committee of the “best and most prestigious circuit in the Alps” wanted to pay tribute to the winners of the 2015/2016 season with a round of well-deserved applause. In the impressive Unicredit headquarters in Milan, the specialised press and numerous national newspapers were able to meet athletes and organisers at an event that effectively marked the imminent start of the new winter season.

Looking at last year’s results, dominating the men’s rankings was the Cs Esercito (Army Sports Centre) athlete from Valtellina, Michele Boscacci. With him on the podium were William Bon Mardion – Xavier Gachet from France, who shared second place. Topping the women’s classification were French athletes Laetitia Roux – Axelle Mollaret who, having always raced side by side, shared the highest step on the podium. In third place was Mireia Mirò from Spain.     

Nor are the youngsters who represent the present and future of this increasingly popular sport forgotten. As well as providing them with specially-designed courses, a shorter version of the real skimo trails raced by athletes in the senior categories, the LGC organising committee also invited the most promising young athletes in European alpine skiing to the impressive Milanese venue. In the cadet category, a well-deserved first place went to Fabien Guichardaz from the Valle d’Aosta, who won just in front of his twin Sébastien. Bronze went to Alberto Gontier. Amongst their female counterparts, Justine Tonso triumphed over Marie Borriglione and Charlotte Iratzoquy. In the junior class, the highest step of the podium was taken by Enrico Loss from the Veneto region, who succeeded in getting the better of Pablo Oderiz and Titouan Huige in the circuit rankings. Amongst the girls, first place went to Giorgia Felicetti and her friend and teammate Melanie Ploner. Erola Bisquert Parés and Maria Ila tied for third place.                      

Dates for 2017: here are four dates you can’t afford to miss… Everything is ready for the start of a new adventure. Everything’s ready for another winter of great classic races. And raising the curtain on the upcoming season will be no less than the “Tour de France” of ski mountaineering: the 4-day Pierra Menta event, to be held from 8 to 11 March.  

April will kick off with the Adamello Skiraid on the 2nd, and will end on an amazing high with the Mezzalama Trophy on the 22 April.  So now- all that’s left to say is: Save The Date!!

On the run-up to the grand finale with the legendary Patrouille des Glaciers, a high-mountain dash from Zermatt to Verbier with 53km and 4000m uphill, today the spotlight was all on the 62 pairs of young athletes in the PdG youth categories. Three separate courses with different levels of elevation gain according to category: 800 for the Juniors, 600 for the B Cadets and 500 for the Scholars.

The first to cross the finishing line were the Italian pair, Henri Aymonod – Enrico Loss who after leading all the way nearly lost out on the final downhill stretch. They won the day with a time of 1h07’46” – and it was Aymonod’s second victory in the Junior category in two editions of the Patrouille Jeunes. Second place overall went to Marc Jenny – Simon Remy with a time of 1h17’20” while Christina Kjetill – Daina Milan came in third. In the girls’ race, the winners were Joelle Mayoraz – Géraldine Membrez in 2h02’02”. Second Céline Gauye – Julie Bovier, and third Mathilde Rossier – Sandrine Florey.

For the cadet race, there were two separate courses: A and B. The A-course elevation gain was the same as for the juniors, while the B course had a gain of 600m. The winners over the more demanding course were Léo Besson – Aurélien Gay and Valentine Moret – Margaux Bapst. On the 600m course, the winners were the girls’ team composed of Valentine Gallaz – Caroline Ulrich. The first of the boys’ teams was the duo composed of Lévy Loye – Pierre Anold who arrived second.

There was also well-deserved applause for the teams in the scholar category, with victory going to the Martin Bérnard – Matis duo. Now that the youth races are over, the tension is rising for the final stage of La Grande Course, with the first pairs of athletes setting off tomorrow evening at 10 p.m. and the best teams due to reach the centre of Verbier late on Saturday morning.         

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Pierra Menta Day Four

The winners of the Altitoy also dominate the Pierra Menta and consolidate their leadership in the overall La Grande Course ranking. Lots of sun, crowds of spectators and over 2500m uphill for the big Grand Mont stage. The final balance of the 31st edition of the Pierra that has just ended is more than positive – and concluded with the predicted victory of Kilian Jornet – Mathéo Jacquemoud & Laetitia Roux – Axelle Mollaret.
But, today, first over the Le Planay finishing line for the second consecutive year were ‘local boys’ William Bon Mardion – Xavier Gachet, with a finish time of 2h26'58”, ahead of Kilian Jornet and Mathéo Jacquemoud (2h28’09”). Leo Viret - Valentin Favre (2h29’20”) came in with a surprise third place finish while the Italians Michele Boscacci - Robert Antonioli and Alexis Sevennec - Didier Blanc came fourth.  Winners of the overall classification were Jornet – Jacquemoud, in front of Bon Mardion - Gachet and Boscacci - Antonioli.
WOMEN’S RACE - No surprises here: Laetitia Roux and Axelle Mollaret won over the Spanish team Mireia Mirò - Claudia Galicia Cotrina, and the Italians, Katia Tomatis - Martina Valmassoi. The day’s podium also reflects the overall rankings.  
A victory for Italy in the male Cadet category, with Daniele Corazza - Giovanni Rossi from the Valtellina coming in ahead of the Swiss Yohan Jaton - Florian Ulrich  and Léo Besson - Aurelien Gay. In the girls’ Cadet category, Marie Borriglione - Justine Tonso from France finished ahead of their compatriots Charlotte Iratzoquy - Mallaurie Mattana and the Swiss Margaux Bapst - Valentine Moret in 4h02’39”.
In the Juniors race, victory went to France with Simon Bellabouvier - Samuel Equy over Iñigo Martinez de Albornoz and Côme Deruaz and the Swiss team Arna Lietho and Julien Ançay.  France also grabbed first place in the girls’ race, with Léna Bonnel - Adèle Milloz winning over Giulia Compagnoni - Giulia Murada from the Valtellina and Giorgia Felicetti - Melanie Ploner from Trento.

The next appointment is in Arvier Valgrisenche for the third stage of La Grande Course: the Millet Tour du Rutor Extrême, scheduled for Friday 01, Saturday 02, and Sunday 03 April.  

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