900 ski-mountaineers for the XXI Trofeo Mezzalama – Watch the Clip Emotional

Published by Mountainblog on .


900 ski-mountaineers on Monte Rosa for the XXI Mezzalama Trophy. Lenzi, Eydallin, and Boscacci, the rope-team from the Italian Alpine corps, sprint past the team composed of Kilian, Marti, and Anthamatten on the final downhill. Victory in the women’s event goes to Jennifer Fiechter, Emelie Forsberg, and Laetitia Roux.

In the first light of dawn, the 298 three-person rope teams competing in the XXI edition of the Mezzalama Trophy, the last race of the year in the La Grande Course circuit, were given an awesome send-off, accompanied by a firework display and the brass band music (‘fanfara’) of the Bersaglieri. This year the legendary ‘glacier marathon’ from Breuil-Cervinia to Gressoney-La-Trinité crossing the peaks of Mt. Castor and the Naso del Lyskamm, was blessed with the excellent weather conditions, as correctly forecast by Luca Mercalli during the technical briefing. Mind you, at high altitude the athletes still had to battle against intense cold, intensified by a North wind gusting up to 50km/h with a wind-chill temperature of 20° below zero. On top of that, the windstorm that hit the area a few days before had swept away the little snow there was, exposing the ice in several places. «Despite all that, everything went smoothly – said mountain guide Adriano Favre, creator of the modern Mezzalama now in its eleventh edition – and even at the top of Mt. Castor, the most daunting part of the course, the pace didn’t slow down at all. Thanks also to the maturity and technical expertise of the athletes».

There were two rope teams engaged in a head-to-head battle for victory right from start to finish: the ‘Alpini’, Eydallin, Lenzi and Boscacci from the Army Sports Centre, and the formidable Spanish-Swiss team composed of Burgada, Marti, Anthamaten.
The latter started off at a tremendous speed on the climb up to the Theodul Pass and led by a feisty, fired-up Kilian, set the pace the whole way: they were first getting onto the Castor, the “Coppi peak” of the Mezzalama at 4226 metres, and the Naso del Lyskamm.
But the team from the alpine corps were careful to keep close on the leaders’ heels right up to the start of the last long downhill on the Lys glacier. And there, just after the Mantova Hut, in the dizzyingly steep Canalino dell’Aquila couloir, they managed to put on a burst of speed and sprint past their rivals, building up a lead of over two minutes by the time they crossed the finishing line in Gressoney-La-Trinité. It was the fourth victory for Matteo Eydallin, who comes from the Val di Susa, the third for Damiano Lenzi from the Val d’Ossola, while for Michele Boscacci from Valtellina it was the second win. This ‘harvest’ of honours brought with it yet another success: with this third victory, after that of 2013 and 2015, it is the first time in the history of the event that an army team has won the prestigious Mezzalama Trophy three times in a row. An Alpine corps team also won back in 1937 and 2009.
In the women’s event, the team from the Army Sports Centre made up of Alba De Silvestro, Katia Tomatis and French athlete Axelle Mollaret who were ahead up to the Naso del Lyskamm had victory snatched from them on the downhill by their formidable rivals, Jennifer Fiechter, Emelie Forsberg, Laetitia Roux. In third place was the team composed of Annie and Katrin Bieler and Dimitra Theocaris.
The success of this XXI edition, undoubtedly helped by the lovely sunny weather, is once again thanks to the perfect organisation of the Mezzalama Trophy Foundation presided over by Luca Bieler from Gressoney. To ensure the safety of the nine hundred ski mountaineers on the glaciers of Monte Rosa, as usual a huge staff of over 150 people was deployed along the whole length of the demanding high-altitude course: mountain guides, Forest Rangers, Financial Police, Carabinieri, State Police, members of the Alpine rescue team, doctors, and time-keepers, not to mention a vast number of volonteers working behind the scenes to make this unique international event possible.

Men’s race results
1. C.S.Esercito* – Damiano Lenzi (IT) – Michele Boscacci (IT) – Matteo Eydallin (IT): 04:18:50
2. Kilian Jornet Burgada (ES) – Werner Marti (CH) – Martin Anthamatten (CH): 04:21:08
3. Ski Trab – Camp – William Boffelli (IT) – Pietro Lanfranchi (IT) – Jakob Herrmann (AT): 04:31:23
4. C.S.Esercito* – Nadir Maguet (IT) – Manfred Reichegger (IT) – Robert Antonioli (IT): 04:50:11
5. Team Movement – Valentin Favre (FR) – Filippo Barazzuol (IT) – Alexis Sévennec (FR): 05:00:50

Women’s race results
1. Jennifer Fiechter (CH) – Emelie Forsberg (SE) – Laetitia Roux (FR): 05:37:49
2. C.S. Esercito* – Katia Tomatis (IT) – Alba De Silvestro (IT) – Axelle Mollaret (FR) – 05:40:01
3. Bielerine Dimitrulla Team – Annie Bieler (IT) – Katrin Bieler (IT) – Dimitra Maria Theocharis (IT) – 06:51:47

INFO: Mezzalama Trophy