The 2022 Salève single climb for Dewalle and Gandolfi!
This single climb proposed by the Athlé St-Julien 74 could take place in good conditions despite the constraints linked to the closure of the cable car. As a result, the starting point had been moved twice, and the final part of the course was lengthened in order to keep the same length of 3.2 km.
The speaker Marc Sidorenko launched the hundred or so of participants in relatively good weather. The first flat part saw the Jura trainer Théo Bourgeois set a very fast pace followed a few meters behind by his fellow Vosges competitor Benoît Gandolfi, runner-up in the last vertical kilometer World Cup. He continued his momentum from the first bends but was quickly caught by Gandolfi who escaped at half distance.
Knowing the course (ranked 4th in the Ultra Montée du Salève 2021), he created a sufficient gap that he maintained at the finish, lowering the record by 12 seconds. Bourgeois was 19 seconds behind, followed by Sébastien Buet in 3rd place. The winner was looking ahead to the rest of the season: “After a very fast start, I came back in the first few steep sections and then I kept a good pace on this good but muddy terrain at the end of the forest. This year I will do the KV World Cup races again, but also some mountain races and short trails.
In the women’s race, there was no suspense: Christel Dewalle (8th overall) taking a 5th victory under the snowflakes with a 2’37” lead over Candice Fertin, and 3’41” over Noémie Grandjean who completed the podium. The French vice-champion of mountain running was satisfied with her performance: “It’s a good recovery for my first race number in six months, I was alone from the beginning but not having any information on my pursuers I had to maintain a steady pace until the top. I haven’t set my program for this year yet, but I’ll be going with my club ASJ 74 to the French Mountain Running Championships on June 12, even though I don’t really like the downhill, and maybe to the Nid d’Aigle.
Race director Jérôme Brouard was pleased to have been able to maintain and organize this transitional event as well as possible while waiting for the return of the Ultra Montée next year.
Article written by Pierre-Louis Zajac, journalist at the Dauphiné Libéré.