17 April 2024

LA GRANDE COURSE: Everything ready for the great ending

One last race worth the season... The legendary Patrouille des Glaciers, the last epic effort, will award this year the ISMF long distance titles. That's right, the first men's and women's trio to cross the finish line in Verbier on Saturday morning will be able to raise a prestigious gold medal high in the sky in addition to the glory.
Although spring is just around the corner, La Grande Course circuit is aiming straight at the turning point with the iconic alpine race between Zermatt and Verbier; a challenge with a legendary flavour (57.5 km and 4,386 m d+) that will attract something like 1600 teams of three each to the starting line. The times to beat? 5h35'27" by "Alpini" Robert Antonioli, Matteo Eydallin, Michele Boscacci and 7h15'35" by Jennifer Fiechter (CH), Axelle Mollaret (F), Laetitia Roux (F); both set in 2018.
For LGC circuit, on Friday morning, more than 300 young racers will be competing in the youth race in Verbier on tracks of different lengths according to their age; on the night between 19th April and 20th April, it will be the turn of the PDG in its 'race' version also called 'Z2' with departure from Zermatt and arrival in Verbier. A race almost all by night; an alpine ultra marathon that will see amateurs and champions running side by side.
As far as the 2024 edition is concerned, it is difficult to risk a reliable prediction; one thing is quite certain: it will be a super challenge between Switzerland and France, with Italy as the third contender. On theory, the team to beat will be the hosts one who, for the special occasion, will propose a mix of experience (Werner Marti), explosiveness (Aurélien Gay) and genuine class (Rémi Bonnet). Beware, however, of the experience of the French, who at the PDG will drop a
real three-star stud: William Bon Mardion, Xavier Gachet and Mathéo Jacquemoud. Outsider role for the Italian team lacking the injured Matteo Eydallin. Davide Magnini is in a great shape and will have to find the last remaining energy in Michele Boscacci and Robert Antonioli, who had the warning light on the exhaustion indicator switched on in the last few outings of the season. Also watch out for Austria's Paul Verbnjak, Julian Tritscher and Daniel Ganhal.
On the women's side, considering the World cup triumphs and exploits in Pierra Menta, the success of the French women Axelle Mollaret, Emily Harrop and Célia Perillat-Pessey would seem to be already established. But in a race as long and complicated as the PDG, anything can happen. The most accredited Swiss team is that of Marianne Fatton, Laura Bocchino and Gaëlle Perrier. Outsider roles for the Italians Alba De Silvestro, Giulia Compagnoni, Lisa Moreschini and the Swedish Tove Alexandersson, Ida Nilsson, Emelie Forsberg.


Technical Sponsor
 International Ski Mountaineering Federation

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