MAR 18, 2019
The 10th ISMF World Championships in Villars-sur-Ollon/Switzerland were the highlight of this season’s skimountaineering race calendar. The Atomic Backland athletes were able to shine bright, receiving six medals in total. Noteworthy is the performance of the young Espoirs athletes, strongly pressing after the Seniors and thereby promising a successful near future.
The decisions in the disciplines Sprint, Individual, and Vertical have been taken already in the first half of the week. In the difficult weather conditions the Atomic athletes could react perfectly with their material selection, and consequently they were able to score strong every day. In the Senior category of the Sprint race, Swiss Iwan Arnold ranked second and could complete his medals collection, which had already consisted of Bronze from the 2015 and Gold from the 2017 World Champs. In the Individual race, the Atomic athletes in the U23 category (Espoirs) celebrated a double victory with a gold medal won by Italy’s Davide Magnini (overall 6th) and a silver medal taken by France’s Samuel Equy (overall 7th). In the overall ranking of a successful race, the 11th place was taken by Armin Höfl, the 12th place went to US racer John Gaston and rank 14 to the Swiss athlete Iwan Arnold.
The Vertical race brought a repetition of the double victory in the Espoirs category, this time with interchanged places. Samuel Equy pushed himself with an extraordinary performance to the top the podium (overall 7th), Davide Magnini, in his usually strongest discipline, took the place of the vice world champion (overall 9th). German Toni Lautenbacher raced to an amazing overall 6th place, Austrian Armin Höfl to the 10th place and US John Gaston finished with rank 13th – all these performances topped off a superb result once more. Iwan Arnold was able to show his strength again on the last day of the event with a top-performance in the relay race. Even though the Swiss team had the second fastest time, it was then ranked 4th after a technical mistake resulting in a time penalty. France’s Samuel Equy profited from that incident though, and surprisingly received the silver medal with his relay team.
The athlete’s comments on the World Championships of Skimountaineering:
What Iwan Arnold says to his successful Sprint race:
The specialist in Sprint, Iwan Arnold, delivered a precise and well-planned race and only had to give in to his fellow countryman Arno Lietha: „It was a difficult race today, but I was able to plan it well. Arno was unbeatable, I haven’t had the legs to challenge him. But my equipment was top, I always had perfect grip with my skins in the very slippery course.”
Davide Magnini after his successes in the Individual and Vertical race:
The 21-year-old Italian had to deal recently with an inflammation in his ankle joint which he got under control just in time for the World Championships: „I’m very satisfied with my performance in the Individual race despite problems with the binding, which probably prevented me from jumping onto the podium in the overall ranking. The Vertical race was too flat for me, my ankle started to hurt. Only when it got steeper right before the finish, I could accelerate and secure the 9th position.”
Samuel Equy commenting on his successful week with 3 medals:
„I am very happy that my form came back for the most important races of this winter. Ahead of the start of the Individual race I had already felt that my legs were good. I wanted to avoid running the first ascents too hard to keep some for the last two climbs. With the 2nd place at the Espoirs and especially with the 7th place overall I was very content. To be honest I was surprised by the Vertical race. In the flat sections my technique was just right and finding myself close to the finish line on the 7th position just behind the top guys of this discipline was incredible. These results in mind, I can deal with the close 4th place in the team race easily, and the silver medal in the relay with my colleagues was emotionally the final, perfect addition.”
A recommendation for the future was made by the 17-year-old athlete Paul Verbnjak from Carinthia/AUT. With rank 10 in the Sprint, rank 8 in the Individual and rank 4 in the Vertical, he could improve steadily in the progress of the World Champs and he was able to keep up with the top of the world in his category, also considering being the first grade of his age category.
The Backland skimountaineers do not have much time to rest now. Already in one week, the next ISMF World Cup is to take place in Disentis, eastern Switzerland.