XX Mezzalama Trophy: from Gressoney to Breuil-Cervinia through the Mont Rose

Date: April 25, 2015

Alternative dates (in case of bad weather): April 26 or Mai 1,2,3

Registration from the 5th of January to the 22nd of March
Max 300 teams accepted

Rules available on this web site starting from the middle of December.


The next edition of the Trofeo Mezzalama, the twentieth, will be entirely new and different from its predecessors, even whilst following the same fascinating route that we all know and love.

One can easily say that no Mezzalama race is ever identical to those that preceded it, since this historical ski mountaineering competition is not held on a track, but on high mountain terrain. The environment of the four thousand, as mountaineers know well, is subject to variable snow and ice conditions and, above all, the capriciousness of spring weather. Each time, it is necessary to reckon with the 'Monte Rosa factor': often unpredictable and always changing.

And the 2015 Trofeo will be remembered for something new and unusual that will upset the athletes' habits and tactics, finding themselves confronted with a Mezzalama completely new to each and every one of them.

As is known, the 'modern' Mezzalama, which has been held every two years since 1997, has expanded the historical course adopted in the 1930s and 1970s in terms of both distance and differences in level. In fact, the course of the last nine editions has always been from Breuil-Cervinia (2020 m) to Gressoney-la-Trinité (1624 m).

In 2015, the race will instead move from Gressoney-la-Trinité to Breuil-Cervinia: the same course but in reverse. And therein the big change: the 'strenuous descents' will become 'climbs' and vice versa. It might seem like an obvious solution, but ultimately, changing the direction of the race means we will be treated to a Mezzalama that cannot help but be entirely different and surprising.

In truth, there is precedent for this change dating to far-off 1937: the veterans and people of Val d'Aosta will recall that in that year, in inauguration of the Cervinia-Plan Maison funicular that opened up the Breuil valley to new prospects for skiing, the race, founded in 1933, took place in the opposite direction. Instead of starting at Colle del Teodulo (3290 m) and crossing the finishing line at Alpe Gabiet (2350 m)—the classic route—the race kicked off at Capanna Gnifetti (3611 m) and drew to a close at Plan Maison (2548 m).

We know that the protagonist of Around the World in Eighty Days won his bet by travelling from east to west, thus gaining a day, whereas if he had gone in the opposite direction, he would have certainly lost. However, we cannot guarantee that the chronometer will provide the 'Mezzalamisti' with the same kind of surprises just pointing their skis from Gressoney to Cervinia.

The next extraordinary edition has a special motivation and occasion in store: for the 20th Mezzalama, athletes will be crossing the finishing line at the foot of Cervino to remember and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first climb to the most beautiful and emblematic summit of the Alps. The historical ski mountaineering marathon will be paying homage to a founding moment in modern mountaineering, in anticipation of the celebrations organised for mid-July 2015.

 
The Mezzalama Trophy has been turned on its head

The Mezzalama Trophy has been turned on its head: on 25 April 2015 it will start from Gressoney-La-Trinité and finish at Breuil-Cervinia: “This will be an unprecedented Mezzalama, more technical, longer, with a completely different approach!”

This morning the twentieth edition of the Mezzalama Trophy was presented in UBI Banca's splendid Quattro Colonne room. The focus of attention on the marathon of the glaciers has been so intense in recent months that those involved in the Trophy had become aware of a profound change. Exactly seven months before the Mezzalama Trophy is due to start a change in the route has been confirmed. It will start at dawn from Gressoney-La-Trinité and arrive in the centre of Breuil-Cervinia. Why on 25 April will the race be run backwards, turning the descents into climbs and vice versa? The Mezzalama Trophy Foundation wants to commemorate, in a significant way, the 150 years since the conquest of Mount Cervino, the icon of the competition founded in 1933.
Alberto Pedroli of UBI Banca welcomed everyone and outlined the main reasons that have made the partnership between UBI Banca and the Mezzalama Trophy Foundation possible. In addition, he preannounced the Mezzalama Trophy credit card project.
“It is great to see how on the ‘eve’ of the Mezzalama there is always this desire to get together to feel the excitement of the event,” said Giorgio Pession, President of the Mezzalama Trophy Foundation, “because this is what we are talking about here: excitement. An feeling of excitement which does not change, is relived and evolves, and which will be the same even now with a completely different route because the Mezzalama is unique.” Pession finished his speech looking to the future, “We are the first to be interested,” concluded the President of the Foundation, “we wonder what it will be like and are making every effort; who knows this “backwards” Mezzalama could take place every other year, a way of bringing these valleys even closer together.”
Before going into the technical details Pietro Crivellaro, Mezzalama Trophy friend and historian, explained that this inversion of the route had already been addressed back in 1937. “The twentieth edition will be remembered for a more radical, unusual and surprising approach. In truth a precedent exists and dates back to 1937: the veterans and the people of the Aosta Valley will remember that in 1937 to inaugurate the Cervinia-Plan Maison cable way which opened the Breuil Valley to the new future of skiing the race, which started in 1933, was run in the opposite direction. Instead of starting from the Colle del Teodulo (3290 m) to finish at Alpe Gabiet (2350 m) ¬– this was the classic route –, it set off from Capanna Gnifetti (3611 m) and concluded at Plan Maison (2548 m).
Even the Army Sport Centre's members, winners of the last edition, Matteo Eydallin, Manfred Reichegger and Damiano Lenzi listened carefully to Adriano Favre's explanations, technical director of the Mezzalama. “In the twentieth edition of the Mezzalama Trophy,” said Favre, “there will be a completely different approach to the competition. The timings will be different. Given that the over all altitude gain will increase by about 350 metres, the technical difficulties will increase, and competitors, on 25 April, will have to be mountaineers too. Certainly those who do not have the required technical knowledge and are not used to high mountains may have some difficulties. The challenging sections such as the Naso del Lyskamm and the Cresta del Castore, tackled from the opposite direction will be much more technical and difficult compared to past years. In addition, the ascent of Gressoney-La-Trinité will cancel the uphill section along the Ventina track, which from Breuil-Cervinia went to Plateau Rosà, where athletic performance was the only requirement. This first part of the race will have important technical connotations, with the uphill track and numerous reversals. The descent toward Breuil-Cervinia will not follow the Ventina path, but will go toward the Canale del Teodulo to then arrive in the centre of the town, completely off piste.”
The Mezzalama Trophy Foundation has signed an important three-year agreement with Dynafit, a leader in the world of mountaineering. Stefano Finazzi, Dynafit Italy sales director, explained that this partnership goes beyond mere monetary sponsorship. “The brand of the snow leopard,” announced Finazzi, “represents a point of reference in ski mountaineering, and it is for this reason that he wanted to associate their name, for the next three editions, with the Mezzalama. The partnership with the Aosta Valley event could, next season, lead to the creation of a collection of skis, bindings and boots called Mezzalama, as has already been done in recent years with other prestigious competitions on the ski mountaineering scene.”
To conclude the presentation Francesca Imperato of Ubi Banca's marketing division explained the features of the “Enjoy Mezzalama” credit card. “Enjoy Ski Mezzalama,” Ms Imperato announced, “is a prepaid card with an IBAN code, which belongs to UBI Banca's Carta Enjoy range, and is also an electronic ski pass which can be used at major participating ski resorts. The ski pass aspect,” concluded the UBI Banca spokesperson, “with the innovative pay-per-use SKIDATA technology, allows you to use the ski lifts of the Enjoy Ski resorts (www.enjoyski.ubibanca.com) by simply placing the card near the readers at the turnstiles, thus avoiding the queue at the ticket office to buy a ski pass and paying only for what you actually use on an hourly basis.”

 
Press conference of the XX Mezzalama Trophy

We are planning an absolute new edition for the 20th Mezzalama!

Follow our press conference in streaming on this web site on thursday 25 september starting from 10.30am and you'll discover all news!

 
An athlete proves positive in the antidoping testing carried out at the latest edition of the Mezzalama Trophy.

Doping at the Mezzalama Trophy. An athlete proves positive in the antidoping testing carried out at the latest edition of the Mezzalama Trophy.
A letter has arrived at the Mezzalama Trophy Foundation’s offices from Antidoping Switzerland, which manages antidoping testing for the Grande Course races, reporting a positive result among the tests carried out on 4 May 2013.
The substance found in the test is furosemide. Antidoping Switzerland has sent the file to the appropriate bodies, which will inform the athlete concerned.
“We came to know of this positive result a few days ago,” said Adriano Favre, technical manager of the the Mezzalama Trophy, “and we would have liked to never have received news like this. The substance that was found is one of a group of diuretics and the athlete with the positive result is not one of the top skiers. Even if it is a positive result, I imagine that it was an oversight on the part of the athlete, without the intention of bettering performance. In the next few days we will follow the development of the event carefully.”

 
Free download of XIX Mezzalama Torphy's photos

On the web site www.pantacolor.it you can see and download all the HD pictures realized by our photographers during the race. Thanks everybody and ... see you in 2015!

 
The army unexpectedly won the 19th Mezzalama Trophy. Of the women, the outsiders Besseghini, Nicolini and Rossi were the first to cross the finish line.

The Mezzalama Trophy Foundation’s decision to move the date of the start of the 19th edition proved to be a good one. In fact, this morning the three hundred teams gathered on what could be defined as a perfect day, making for an unforgettable edition.The start, anticipated by thirty minutes to take advantage of the good weather, was from Breuil-Cervinia (2050 m) at 5 am. With the first red light of dawn the stars left the scene in the shade of Cervino announcing a splendid day.The team composed of Manfred Reichegger, Matteo Eydallin and Damiano Lenzi of the Army Sports Centre in Courmayeur took the lead immediately followed by the Michele Boscacci, Pietro Lanfranchi and Lorenzo Holzknecht team. Behind them the favourites, the Franco-Spanish team Kilian Jornet Burgada, William Bon Mardion and Matheo Jacquemoud followed. But the Spanish champion was not up to his usual standard.

The situation of the leading teams stayed the same until the summit of Castore (4226 m) reached in the record time of 2:30’30’’, a good four minutes less than the record established in 2009.In the climb towards the Naso of Lyskamm (4100 m) the Franco-Spanish team, led by the very young Jacquemoud, overtook the Boscacci, Lanfranchi and Holzknecht team. In the long descent towards Gressoney, they also managed to undermine the pacemakers Reichegger, Eydallin and Lenzi. But the latter, after the technical change over at Canalino dell’Aquila, increased the distance until crossing the finish line at Gressoney-La-Trinité (1650 m) with a one-minute advantage in the extraordinary time of 4:16’37’’. It cannot be compared to the record time in 2009 of 4:0’22’ because this time the second part of the route was considerably longer from the check point at the Rifugio Sella and from the variation on the Naso. Completing the podium, with a gap of 12 minutes, was the Boscacci, Lanfranchi, Holzknecht team. Of the women, the favourites Gloriana Pellissier, Mireia Mirò and Laetitia Roux were left behind on the climb to Plateau Rosa by problems experienced by the leader of the team and Mezzalama champion Pellissier. Laura Besseghini, Raffaella Rossi from the Valtelina Valley and the young Elena Nicolini from Trentino took advantage of the situation and took the lead of the race, keeping it until the finish line. This nineteenth edition, postponed by a week because of bad weather, had a most unexpected sunny day. The conditions of the route were also favoured by recent snow falls which covered the crevasses and the surface ice, but also really put Adriano Favre’s staff of alpine guides to the test. With respect to the past, the technical manager of the Mezzalama improved the flow of the implementation of the event, doubling the tracks under the summit of the Castore and adopting a direct variant on the Naso of Lysakmn. All the participants, half of the teams were foreign, admired the excellent work of the organisers confirming that the “marathon of the glaciers” of Monte Rosa is the best show case of the Valle d’Aosta mountains.

Men’s classification

1. Centro Sportivo Esercito - Manfred Reichegger (IT) - Damiano Lenzi (IT) - Matteo Eydallin (IT): 04:16:37;

2. La Sportiva - Crazy Idea - William Bon Mardion (FR) - Mathèo Jacquemoud (FR) - Kilian Jornet Burgada (ES): 04:17:37;

3. Team CAMP/SKI TRAB - Michele Boscacci (IT) - Pietro Lanfranchi (IT) - Lorenzo Holzknecht (IT): 04:28:27.

Women’s classification

1. Team La Sportiva Women - Laura Besseghini (IT) - Raffaella Rossi (IT) - Elena Nicolini (IT): 06:04:14;

2. Locatelli/Richard/Cazzanelli - Tatiana Locatelli (IT) - Mireille Richard (CH) - Alessandra Cazzanelli (IT): 07:27:25;

3. Team Bandavej KRATOS - Claudia Comello (IT) - Sonia Balbis (IT) - Claudia Stettler (CH): 07:44:04.






 
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