Atomic athlete Kilian Jornet pulled ahead of the competition on the first ski mountaineering World Cup weekend. The Spaniard won both the pre-race and the main contest taking home a clear victory.
Two weeks ago, Jornet participated in the Mountain Attack contest in Saalbach/Austria, before heading to the Spanish Championships and now to Andorra: "It was an important race in Saalbach. The Spanish Championships were not that challenging, but things will get more serious in Andorra!" Excellent weather and mild temperatures, albeit just very little snow, welcomed the world best ski mountaineers to the first race of the World Cup season. Slippery tracks and icy downhill stretches challenged the world elite to a thrilling competition.
The first race took place on Saturday in Arcalis. A vertical race was held as the pre-contest. Jornet entered the race as the favorite, was able to pull ahead of the field right after the start and set the pace on the subsequent stretches, too. The final third lag of the race was a fiercely contested one, with a group of five athletes catching up to Jornet. However, he increased his speed and pulled out a 44 second lead with a finishing time of 35:17 on the Italian Lorenzo Holzknecht.
The main race on Sunday was an individual Alpine race. The situation was clearly different from the previous day, with 15 athletes attacking right after the start to secure the best positions in the tracks. A group of 4 athletes comprising Jornet and 3 Italians finally pulled ahead of the field. Jornet was not able to break away from the group right away and increased his lead only on the final downhill stretch, winning in 1:27:02 hours 25 seconds ahead of the Italian Matteo Eydallin.
Jornet on his success at the World Cup opening race: "I am overjoyed that it went so well, even if it was a tight race both times. The competition during a World Cup race is fierce and you need to continuously attack, to stay in the lead. Today it was particularly dramatic during the final downhill stretches, and my ATOMIC Ultimates have helped to catapult me to victory."