Registration for the XXI edition of the Mezzalama Trophy will open on Thursday 1st December. A maximum of 900 athletes will be admitted, split into 300 teams

Following the official presentation at the Ubi Banca headquarters in Milan, the next step is the opening of on-line entry applications for the XXI edition of the Mezzalama Trophy, due to take place on 22 April in Breuil-Cervinia. With the agreement of all the La Grande Course organisers, entry applications may be submitted exclusively on the Mezzalama Trophy web page, starting from Thursday 1st December.

300 teams will be admitted to the race following careful scrutiny of each individual athlete’s curriculum, though this number may vary according to mountain conditions and at the complete discretion of the race directors. In assessing the curricula, priority will be given to the best ranked athletes in the Grande Course circuit races and in the most prestigious competitions in this particular speciality. Entries will close on 24 March 2017.
Once the three hundred teams have been confirmed, any remaining teams qualifying for admission will be put on a waiting list and entered as replacements in the case of withdrawals.
On 22 April next, the Mezzalama Trophy will return to the original course, the trail linking Breuil-Cervinia to Gressoney over Monte Rosa.
The most important change in the race trail regards the start. In order to valorise the heart of Breuil-Cervinia, and after the positive experience of the 2015 start in the centre of Gressoney-La-Trinité, the teams taking part in the XXI edition will start off on foot, with their skis tied to their backpack, from the footpath at the foot of the Matterhorn.
The climb up to Plateau Rosà will also follow a slightly different route, towards the Colle del Theodulo. In other words, teams will retrace the same route taken in last year’s final descent but in the opposite direction. The first part of the route is fairly easy but becomes very technical during the ascent to the foot of the Theodulo pass.

 
XXI Mezzalama Trophy - April 22, 2017

Classicle route, from Breuil-Cervinia to Gressoney
Alternative dates: April 23, 29, 30 and 1st of May
Registration from the 1st of December 2016 to the 24th of March
Max 300 teams accepted
Regulations and general information will be available on this web site starting from November 15

 
The “alpini” (Italy’s alpine army corps) triumph at the 20th Mezzalama despite difficult conditions on Monte Rosa

Thanks to a brief let-up in the weather, it was possible to inaugurate the new Gressoney-Cervinia course marking the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn.

Rain, snow and blizzard lashed Monte Rosa’s grim, menacing glaciers right up until the eve of the race. Then, at the last minute, the perilously transitory weather window forecast by Luca Mercalli and staunchly sustained by the creator of the modern Mezzalama Trophy, Adriano Favre, enabled a sensational 20th edition to go ahead. An edition worthy of the epic race first run back in 1933, today part of the international Grande Course circuit and last leg of the Long Distance World Cup.
High winds buffeting the spur of the Lyskamm Nose at an altitude of 4100 metres made the first section of this legendary ski mountaineering marathon (45 kilometres long with 3500 metres of elevation gain) – this year with a new inverted route to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the conquest of the Matterhorn - extremely tough going. A real citadel of snow and ice to be conquered. A closely-fought race between the four leading rope teams who, tracing and retracing their way through the windswept snow, contended for podium places right up until the top of the Castore, the highest point of the course at 4226mt. Then came the final triumphal 12 km descent from the Breithorn col (3826 mt) down to the finishing line at Breuil-Cervinia (2020 m.) in brilliant sunshine at the foot of the imposing mass of the Matterhorn, as thickly covered in snow as a Himalayan mountain face. This year, more than ever before, the race winners’ victory should be shared ideally with Adriano Favre and his staff, the mountain guides from Monte Rosa’s three valleys, who equipped and practically “defused” the course - raced at altitudes of 4000 metres - of the glaciers’ hidden dangers under today’s extremely difficult racing conditions.
Victory was seized with great determination by the race favourites, a rope team from Courmayeur’s Centro Sportivo Esercito (Army Sports Centre) made up of Matteo Eydallin from the Val di Susa (his third success at the Mezzalama!) with the young Michele Boscacci from Valtellina and Damiano Lenzi from the Valle Ossola. The alpine soldiers completed the race with a time of 5h10’49’’ as a result of the increased elevation gain and strong headwinds. The winners broke away from the other leading teams on the Castore uphill stretch, obtaining a five-minute lead which they kept all the way to the finish. An extremely hard-fought second place was won by the Italia 2 team composed of Robert Antonioli, Manfred Reichegger and Lorenzo Holzknecht who on the long final descent overtook the team composed of Anton Palzer from Germany, with Martin Anthamatten from Switzerland and Pietro Lanfranchi from Bergamo , third with a 17’’ gap.
Amongst the women’s teams, a surprise victory went to newcomers Emelie Forsberg (Sweden), Axelle Mollaret (France) and Jennifer Fiechter (Switzerland) who were close behind the favourites Laetitia Roux (France), Mireia Mirò Varela (Spain) and Severine Pont Combe (Switzerland) during the first part of the race and overtook them at the Lyskamm Nose; they maintained a slender lead right to the line which they crossed with a time 6h35’09’’, with 2’51’’ over their rivals.
Almost 800 athletes in the competition, with 260 rope teams from 22 nations. Twelve women’s teams. Around sixty teams were eliminated at the half-way Quintino Sella cut-off point (3580 m.), “closed” after six and a half hours from the start, eloquent proof of the tough conditions of this year’s edition, the 20th edition overall and the tenth edition of Adriano Favre’s new Mezzalama (held biennially since 1997). An example of Italian excellence, made in Valle d’Aosta, which is unrivalled on the international ski mountaineering scene.

By 3 p.m. the providential weather window which favoured this twentieth Mezzalama had already re-closed and the Monte Rosa massif was once again completely hidden by clouds.

 


 
The Mezzalama Trophy will be raced on Saturday 2 May. The decision was taken after the latest consultation with Luca Mercalli and the Italian Meteorological Society.

Over the last few days the Mezzalama Trophy Foundation and its technical director, mountain guide Adriano Favre, have remained in close contact with Luca Mercalli and his staff to try and get an idea of what weather conditions will be like over the coming weekend.
The extraordinary edition of the Mezzalama Trophy, which this will be run over an inverted course starting from Gressoney La Trinité and finishing at Breuil-Cervinia, has had to be modified in view of the adverse weather conditions affecting Monte Rosa.
«Unfortunately, - said Adriano Favre – the bad weather forecast for 25 April, when the 20th edition of the “glacier marathon” was supposed to be held, arrived punctually and even now adverse weather conditions persist over the whole of the Monte Rosa massif. The course is ready. At altitude, the more technical stretches around the Naso del Lyskamm and Castore have been marked and secured with the help of more than 1200 metres of fixed ropes. Now we have to start studying the situation forecast for the first weekend in May. This morning we had a meeting with Luca Mercalli and his closest assistants: the forecasting models indicated that unstable weather conditions will persist for the whole week, leaving two intervals of fine weather on Wednesday and Saturday.
«The situation is not ideal – concluded Favre – but if we dedicate the whole of Wednesday to cleaning and clearing the more technical parts of the trail such as the Naso del Lyskamm and Castore (where it is snowing at this moment) we should be able to start the race at dawn on Saturday as planned».
All team accreditation procedures will start on Friday 1 May at 10.30 a.m. in the Sporthaus (sports centre) in Gressoney-Saint-Jean.

 
A spectacular first edition of the Mezzalama Jeunes

Cadets and Juniors, representing the future of ski mountaineering, battled it out over a technical course in the vicinity of the Canalino dell’Aquila.

This morning the first edition of the Mezzalama Jeunes, a team ski mountaineering competition for the Junior and Cadet categories. now part of the international Grande Course circuit, was raced from Gabiet (Gressoney La Trinité). The youngsters were blessed with a gloriously sunny day and spring-like temperatures even at altitude, the last bit of sun before the predicted worsening weather conditions which forced the Mezzalama Trophy Foundation to postpone the start of the 20th edition of the “glacier marathon” for a week.
The boys in the Junior category raced along a course with a 1500 mt elevation gain spread out over four climbs, with the technical stretch of the canalino dell’Aquila raced on foot with skis tied to their backbacks. Cadets and girls in the Junior category followed a shorter course with a 900 metre elevation gain and three climbs and the same stretch of the canalino dell’Aquila to be raced on foot.
In the Junior competition the race was won in the course of the third climb when Erik Pettavino and Enrico Cognein made their move and started to pull away from Mathias Trento and Andrea Dellavalle both from the Aosta Valley. In third place were Fabio Pettinà and Matteo Cuel, who were shoulder to shoulder with the leaders right up to the end of the second climb.
During the final climb the team from Piedmont/Aosta Valley composed of Pettavino and Cognein managed to hold onto their lead over Trento-Dellavalle and crossed the finishing line at Gabiet with a time of 2:04’30’’, Trento-Dellavalle confirmed their seconda position with a 2’05’’ gap. The podium was completed by the team from Venice made up of Fabio Pettinà and Matteo Cuel.
Enrico Loss e Daniele Carobbio came in fourth while Loïc Brouet and David Pérez were fifth.
As regards the Cadet category, the team from Cogne composed of brothers Sébastien and Fabien Guichardaz won with a time of 1:22’09’’ ahead of Marco Cunaccia and Michele Carelli. On the third step of the podium were Martí Torregrosa and Sergi Casabella from Andorra.
Amongst the girls in the Cadet category the team formed of Giorgia Felicetti e Melanie Ploner won with a time of 1:39’42’’, followed by Florence Buchs from Swizerland teamed up with Italy’s Giulia Murada. In third place were Elisa Pedrolini and Alessia Re.
Amongst the Juniors, victory went to the Swiss couple made up of Deborah Chiarello and Marianne Fatton. The Swiss girls closed with a time of 1:37’40’’. In second place were team-mates Giulia Gherardi and Debora Contrio.







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