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Edition 2014: 5th Cervino X-trail


High level challenges under the Matterhorn

The Fifth Cervino X-trail, fourth trial of the Tour Trail Valle D’Aosta took place on 7th July last. The departure and arrival point of Antey Saint André provided an ideal climate for the race, giving almost 500 athletes and passionate trailers the opportunity to challenge each other and themselves on two routes - slightly modified compared to the previous year - of 25 and 53 km with respectively 1,800 and 3,800 m of elevation gain.

The longest race departs immediately very strong with top athletes who, in the undemanding initial section, raise the pace and get ahead of the rest on the first uphill climb which leads to the centre of La Magdeleine. These include those which have and are making the history of trail running (Fulvio Dapit, Franco Collé, Nemeth Csaba, Daniele Fornoni, Christophe Le Saux) and Diego Vuillermoz and Marco Mangaretto from Valle d’Aosta. The long but runnable uphill climb to Mount Zerbion at 2,722 m a.s.l. (Cima Coppi of the race) separates the strongest from the rest and the athletes arrive in dribs and drabs, under the imposing statue of Our Lady of the Snow.

The shorter race departs at the same time, but the pace set by the top ranking competitors, namely Dennis Brunod from Valle d’Aosta, leader of the Tour Trail Valle D'Aosta, the Romanian Canavese Maxim Ioan and Maurizio Fenaroli, makes it immediately demanding. This race goes along the first section and the intermediate section of the longest race which, in the meantime, reaches the meeting point at Col Pilaz (1960 m a.s.l.). The very first athletes pass ahead of the others but those who arrive immediately after have the pleasure of sharing the rest and the beautiful uphill climb to Mont Tantané with the competitors of the other race. The paces are different but it is an opportunity to exchange a few words, impressions and jokes. Within the space of a few metres you pass from a proto-historic settlement abandoned in the 1st century B.C. to almost flat terrain. A sign that at the time, even at 2,400 m a.s.l., the weather was more favourable to man.

A steep but effortless descent takes to the third rest stop shared between the races. Immediately after, the competitors split up; those of the short race head straight for the village of La Magdeleine while those of the long race to the bottom of the last uphill climb towards the ridge which divides Chamois from Valtournenche and, in particular, the rural village of Cheneil.

While the countless participants tackle uphills and descents which are for the most part runnable, thanks also to the perfect condition of the trails, the competitive group  sees Dennis Brunod get ahead of the rest in the climb to Mount Tantané, a sure ticket, considering his talents as downhill runner, to an effortless final victory; amongst the women, Sonia Glarey who is also leader of the Tour Trail of Valle d'Aosta, heads the race from the very start and, undisputed wins the trial.

In the long race, following the withdrawal of the Hungarian Nemeth Csaba, first to Mount Zerbion, the Dapit – Collé duo gets ahead of Daniele Fornoni, as far as the fourth rest stop where, in the steep initial climb, Dapit accelerates and succeeds in getting ahead of Collé. The subsequent section which associates flat terrain and steep uphills towards the peak of Chamois is the opportunity for the freshest athletes to easily improve their positions. The breathtaking panorama of Valtournenche accompanies the athletes for a couple of kilometres as far as the technical descent which leads to the meeting with the trail of Ridgeway n°1 at the village of Cheneil (2,050 m a.s.l.). The new section of the race route begins here and takes the competitors back towards Chamois with a constant but difficult uphill climb of less than 200 m of altitude difference, after many hours of running.

Having reached the gentle hill between the two villages, the route descends quickly to Chamois and from there a steep but technical descent to the village of Buisson. It is the historic trail which has always connected Chamois, the only Italian village which cannot be reached by car, to the villages of Antey-Saint-Andrè. The final kilometres, slightly downhill, bring the athletes and enthusiasts to the finish line in an atmosphere of celebration and shared satisfaction for having completed a race which is demanding but full of excitement and breathtaking landscapes. Dapit is the first to finish an excellent trial which will remain as one of those with the highest competitive level to be run in Valle d’Aosta.

Technical specifications of the race

Location: Antey-Saint-André (Aosta)

Date: 7th July 2014

Distances: 53 km / 25 km

Elevation gain: 3,800 m / 1,800 m

Weather: Clear

Tracks travelled: Original

Runners registered: 453

Runners registered for Trail Ultra: 183

Runners registered for Trail: 246

Number of starters and finishers for Trail Ultra: 183/165

Number of starters and finishers for Trail: 246/239

Qualifying points for UTMB: 2 for Trail Ultra

CervinoXtrail ranking 2014