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 ( 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 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.

The track, after the latest snow falls, is in excellent condition. There is a metre and a half of fresh snow. The start has been anticipated to 5 am.

“The snowfalls of the last few days”, said Adricano Favre, “have improved the conditions of the track with respect to the first inspections of some weeks ago. The green ice that characterises a good part of the track has been covered by a layer of fresh snow that in some sections is up to a metre and a half deep. Towards Gressoney the quantities are larger than the Colle del Breithorn area. The conditions are good; in the last few hours we have checked and made good all the areas with critical points. In the band that goes from 3,000 to 4,000 metres the quantities of snow are significant, plus the wind has caused the formation of some mounds, which we made good this morning.”
“In the last few hours”, continued Favre, “we have decided to anticipate the start by thirty minutes, therefore the set off will be from Breuil-Cervinia at 5 am. We wanted to anticipate the start to have a wider margin of safety with the weather. The latest forecasts predict that from the first hours of the day the conditions will improve.”
“As regards the climb to the Naso del Lyskamm”, concluded Favre, “we have found a new path to reach the peak. The athletes will go up wearing crampons directly from the foot of the Naso, following a line that will take them to within a few metres of the summit. The change for the next leg will be at the base of the east slope because it is impossible to put skis on beforehand. This new line is in the middle of the wall between the traditional path of the Naso and the one they climbed in 2011.”
Therefore everything has been confirmed for the 19th edition of the Mezzalama Trophy; the programme of the “Marathon of the Glaciers” began this morning at Valtournenche with accreditation of the teams.
In order to give the public the possibility to follow the race the ski lifts will be open and free of charge from 4:30 in the morning for the ascent and descent of Plateau Rosà.

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