Pierra Menta 2023 D4 – The 37th edition of the Pierra Menta ended successfully despite a stage cancelled the day before due to unpredictable weather conditions.
The ski mountaineering race went as planned on the fourth day, but with an adapted event to adapt to the ever-changing weather conditions. Axelle Gachet-Mollaret and Émily Harrop won the victory without surprise, while Boscacci and Magnini once again won the victory ahead of the Arêchois and the pair Équy and Jacquemoud.
Despite the reduced ranking and modified format, the Pierra Menta has managed to preserve its original spirit, which is essential for this great ski mountaineering race.
Axelle Gachet-Mollaret and Émily Harrop dominated the competition among women by winning all the stages and finishing in 21st place in the overall ranking. Sisters Léna and Candice Bonnel finished in second place, followed by the Italians Martina Valmassoi and Elena Nicolini. No chance was left to their competitors by these two talented skiers.
Weather problems forcing some adjustments
Following the cancellation of the third stage due to difficult weather conditions, it was unclear what to expect for the last stage of the Pierra Menta. Unstable weather conditions and avalanche risks forced the organization to propose a different challenge for this stage.
Thus, a team time trial sprint over a 600 m elevation on the ski resort was organized.
The format of the last stage of the Pierra Menta was different from previous editions, with a shorter distance of 2,500 meters of positive elevation than usual. However, this format had already been used several times, including in previous prologues.
At the evening briefing before the race, the iconic Italian speaker Silvano Gadin wanted to salute the courage of the volunteers and staff in the face of difficult weather conditions, evoking his memories of a past edition of the Mezzalama. He also dedicated this Saturday’s race “to the youth”, which was originally scheduled to start on Friday. This last stage hoped to soothe the spirits, delight the young and test the legs of the runners one last time.
Axelle Gachet-Mollaret and Emily Harrop dominated the Pierra Menta and became the queens of the competition
Despite the cancellation of the third stage scheduled for Friday, the fourth and final stage of the Pierra Menta took place on Saturday on a considerably reduced course, and the leaders of the provisional ranking were crowned.
Among women, French skiers Emily Harrop and Axelle Gachet-Mollaret dominated the competition without leaving any chance to their competitors.
Due to the absence of their main competitors in the World Cup, particularly the Italian teams, the female competition was not held.
Axelle Gachet-Mollaret and Emily Harrop, recent world champions as a team, dominated the race from the first round, taking an 11 minute lead over their closest pursuers.
Axelle Gachet-Mollaret and Emily Harrop continued their domination throughout the competition, winning each stage by a large margin, including today’s stage with a lead of more than four minutes over their pursuers, despite the reduced course of only 600 m of elevation.
Upon arrival, they won gold with an impressive lead of 31 minutes over another French duo, Léna and Candice Bonnel, and an Italian team (+ 51 minutes) composed of Martina Valmassoi and Elena Nicolini.
Xavier Gachet and William Bon Mardion did not manage to climb high enough in the general ranking
The Italians Michele Boscacci and Davide Magnini won the men’s competition at the 37th edition of the Pierra Menta, despite the hopes placed in the local skiers Xavier Gachet and William Bon Mardion, who finished in fifth place in the first stage before winning two victories over the following two days.
However, Gachet and Bon Mardion have won their fifth silver medal together. Samuel Équy and Mathéo Jacquemoud finished third consistently throughout the competition.
Once again, locals William Bon Mardion (already winners in 2013) and Xavier Gachet narrowly missed their chance to win their first Pierra Menta together.
Material problems during the first stage relegated them to five minutes behind the first team, although they were in the lead at the halfway point.
The cancellation of the third stage and the reduction of the last stage did not allow them to catch up with the very regular Italian team composed of Michele Boscacci and Davide Magnini, who respectively won their fourth and second victories during this competition.
The two skiers from L’Arêche once again took second place in this edition, just like in 2022, despite two stage wins, including the very short and stressful last event.
Another French team, ranked third overall, did not have the opportunity to fully express themselves during this 37th special edition of the Pierra Menta: Mathéo Jacquemoud (already winner of the event in 2013 and 2016) and Samuel Equy did not manage to do better than the previous year.
Results Pierra Menta 2023 D4 – Men
- IT MICHELE BOSCACCI + IT DAVIDE MAGNINI – 05:40:32.0
- FR XAVIER GACHET + FR WILLIAM BON MARDION – +00:02:23.0
- FR SAMUEL EQUY + FR MATHÉO JACQUEMOUD – +00:02:31.0
- IT NADIR MAGUET + IT MATTEO EYDALLIN – +00:04:18.0
- AT JAKOB HERRMANN + CH MARTIN ANTHAMATTEN – +00:05:34.0
- IT WILLIAM BOFFELLI + IT ALEX OBERBACHER – +00:18:30.0
- FR ALEXIS SÉVENNEC + FR ANSELME DAMEVIN – +00:19:48.0
- FR AURÉLIEN DUNAND-PALLAZ + FR JULIEN MICHELON – +00:24:50.0
- FR GERMAIN GRANGIER + FR VALENTIN CLARYS – +00:30:21.0
- FR SIMON BELLABOUVIER + FR NOÉ ROGIER – +00:36:31.0
Results Pierra Menta 2023 D4 – Women
- FR AXELLE GACHET-MOLLARET + FR EMILY HARROP – 06:38:49.0
- FR CANDICE BONNEL + FR LÉNA BONNEL – +00:31:14.0
- IT MARTINA VALMASSOI + IT ELENA NICOLINI – +00:51:56.0
- CA KYLEE OHLER + US REA KOLBL – +01:14:03.0
- PL ANNA TYBOR + FR ELISE PONCET – +01:27:38.0
- FR LAURIE RENOTON + FR PERRINE GINDRE – +01:42:32.0
- FR ROMANE LAFARGE + FR SOPHIE MOLLARD – +01:51:44.0
- FR MARIE CHARLOTTE IRATZOQUY + US GRACE STABERG – +02:07:19.0
- DE JACQUELINE BRANDL + AT BIANCA SOMAVILLA – +02:21:00.0
- IT KATRIN BIELER + FR MÉLANIE ROUSSET – +02:21:30.0