ATOMIC athlete Kilian Jornet came in second place in the individual race of the European Championships, currently taking place in Pelvoux (FRA). After a strong race, Frenchman Wiliam Bon Mardion clinched the victory during the final downhill stretch by a tight margin.
The European Ski Mountaineering Championships in Pelvoux/France are one of the highlights of the season featuring the world's best ski mountaineers. After the team race on Sunday, the sprint contest on Monday and the youth competition yesterday, things will get more serious today: the individual race is undoubtedly the Premier class of the European Championships.
Jornet took the lead early on, demonstrating his strength during the ascents. Frenchman Wiliam Bon Mardion and the Italians Manfred Reichegger and Lorenzo Holzknecht were in close pursuit, all of them downhill specialists. Despite his strong ascent performance, Jornet was unable to break away from his pursuers, with Bon Mardion pulling ahead of him during the final fiercely contested downhill race. The course was shortened before the race, which proved a strategic disadvantage for Jornet; instead of a finishing time of ca. 1:30 hours, only a little over an hour was estimated. He didn't seem too upset though after he had crossed the finish line: "I congratulate Wiliam on his success, his performance during the final downhill stretch was brilliant. It is a pity that the race did not last longer, which might have helped me to defend my lead. But I am very happy with the second place and I will now focus on the vertical race tomorrow."
Jornet is the favorite in tomorrow's vertical race. However, the competition won't make it easy for him to defend his role.