Rock Master plus Rock Legends equals Arco and the world climbing champions
The programme, athletes and all the news in the run up to the 22nd Rock Master and the 3rd edition of the Arco Rock Legends scheduled for 5 - 7 September 2008 in Arco, Italy.
All is set for Arco and the world climbing stars. But what exactly lies in store for this 22nd Rock Master edition and the best Lead, Bouldering and Speed climbers in the world? And who has been nominated for the 3rd Arco Rock Legends Award which assigns the Salewa Rock Award to the most impressive performance on rock and the La Sportiva Competition Award to the climber who distinguished him or herself most in competitions?
Read all the details below about the unmissable weekend in Arco!
Friday 5 September
Arco Rock Legends 2008 - the spirit of climbing, both outdoors and in competitions.
It's a tradition: once again the Arco competition will be preceded by the special Oscar evening which assigns the Salewa Rock Award and the La Sportiva Competition Award. These prizes go to the best climbers on rock and in competitions and is a true analysis of a year's performance outdoors at the crags and indoors on plastic competition walls. A selection of the most important international climbing magazines (a staggering 17 this year) has already concluded the first stage of its state-of-the-art analysis and has selected 5 nominations for the Salewa Rock Award and 3 for the La Sportiva Competition Award. Once again the third edition includes a regal list of climbers for the "category crags and bouldering": 15 year child prodigy Adam Ondra has been nominated for the second year running, just like the vertical globetrotters Dave Graham and Chris Sharma from America. They are in the running with Barbara Zangerl from Austria who is currently exploring the limits of female bouldering and Patxi Usobiaga from Spain, winner of the Salewa Rock Award 2007 and responsible for a series of firework performances last season.
Those in the running for the competition Award are Kilian Fischhuber from Austria, the absolute bouldering champion who left an indelible mark during the last few competition seasons, Slovenian star Maja Vidmar who finally managed to wrestle the sceptre off Queen Eiter in the 2007 World Cup, and the ever-present Patxi Usobiaga who, for the second year running, has been nominated for both categories. Hazarding a guess as to who might win this year seems almost pointless, seeing the calibre of all these athletes.
The role of honour of this event promoted by the Association Arco Rock Legends is headed by Basque climbers Josune Bereciartu and Patxi Usobiaga, winners of the Salewa Rock Award in 2006 and 2007, and the Austrians Angela Eiter and David Lama, winners of the first two La Sportiva Competition Awards. It's worth underlining that previous nominations included living legends such as Manolo and Hirayama, and other top climbers such as Dani Andrada, Andreas Bindhammer, Daniel Woods and Flavio Crespi.
The winners will be decided on Friday morning when the international Jury unites to cast its vote, but the names will only be announced during the special evening celebration at 21.00 in the Arco Casino Hall which all top climbers will attend and which will be presented as usual by Kay Rush. This ceremony will be a great party for all, athletes and passionate climbers alike, a true celebration for rock climbing intended to make this sport grow
bigger and better still!
Saturday 6 September 2008
Rock Master 1st leg "on-sight" + Boulder men + Speed
Never before has the programme been so intense and the vertical games at the Climbing Stadium will be a spectacular, ceaseless show of all climbing disciplines. This vertical marathon will begin at 13.00 with the Women's Rock Master on-sight, and this will be followed first by the Men's Sint Roc Boulder Contest, then
by the Men's Rock Master on-sight. As dusk falls the Speed competition kicks into action with an all-new formula: female athletes will participate in the Arco Speed event for the first time ever, and for the first time ever all athletes will test their ability on the world record piste.
Naturally only the best climbers in the world will be allowed to compete and for the 22nd year running the buzzing Climbing Stadium lawn will become an unmissable component of this spectacular climbing festival.
Sunday 7 September 2008
Rock Master 2nd leg "after work" + Boulder women + Duel
The menu on the second day starts off with the Rock Master final leg. The athletes attempt a route which they had worked on for a set time before the start of the competition. This is the moment of truth, the final chance to overthrow the provisional results after the on-sight but also to defend positions already gained! There are no secret tactics at the Rock Master: to win you have to exceed yourself and climb higher than everyone else. In many respects Rock Master is the university of climbing and the routes set by Leonardo Di Marino and Donato Lella leave no room for error. Reaching the top of one of these is like a dream come true and should this happen then victory and a cheer to bring the house and Climbing Stadium down is guaranteed. This is what the Rock Master is all about. It's a spectacle beginning at 10.00am on Sunday with the men's and women's “after work” and which is then followed by the women's Sint Roc Boulder Contest Boulder. The day ends with the spectacular Ennio Lattisi Duel, in which the top four athletes race to the top on identical, parallel routes. This final and added extra is not to be missed under any circumstances!
ALL THE ATHLETES
22nd Rock Master. The starting blocks of Rock Master number 22 will be occupied by Patxi Usobiaga and Ramòn Puigblanque from Spain, Tomasz Mrazek from the Czech Republic, Jorg Verhoeven from Holland, Jakob Schubert from Austria, Thomas Taurpon from Germany, Magnus Midtboe from Norway and, last but not least, the evergreen champion Luca Zardini who this year will defend Italy's honour on his own, seeing that Flavio Crespi's injury continues to keep him knocked out of all competitions. The Leitmotif will no doubt be the eternal duel between Catalan World Champion Puigblanque and Basque World Cup winner Usobiaga. The former is gunning for his 4th Rock Master title (in a row), while the latter is chasing his elusive first ever win in Arco. It'll be a genuine battle of titans, but nothing should be taken for granted as young Schubert, Taurpon and Midtboe could upstart anyone. As could Tomasz "Terminator" Mrazek, whose genius and unpredictability will no doubt aim for the best result possible.
The women's competition, just like the men's, is a duel between teammates. Naturally this is between the Austrian queen Angela Eiter - in the running for her 5th Rock Master gold (a record which would bring her on a par with legendary Lynn Hill) - and this year's young revelation Johanna Ernst who amazed all with 3 straight victories in 3 competitions this season. No doubt the two will be spectacular. And no doubt the others will do their best to "ruin" this Austrian celebration, first and foremost Maja Vidmar from Slovenia. Last year's World Cup winner will return to form after an injury and is more motivated than ever before to improve on her 2nd place in 2007 and to re-take that victory which slipped from her grasp in 2006 due to lack of experience. The line-up is completed by the expert and positive Barbara Bacher (AUT), Mina Markovic (SLO), Alexandra Eyer (SUI), Olga Shalagina (UKR). Jenny Lavarda will represent Italy once again and she will attempt to overcome that psychological block which always stopped her from winning in front of her home crowd. She will be joined by young Manuela Valsecchi who, thanks to the wild card, will compete against the best in the world the system in the hope that this experience will be of great value to this talented Italian hope.
Sint Roc Boulder Contest. The list of athletes is headed by the Austrian World Cup winner Kilian Fischhuber, who will compete against teammate David Lama, the young climbing phenomenon capable of winning both Lead events but who this year is focussing all his energies towards bouldering. The two will battle it out against Sean Mccoll from Canada and Nalle Hukkataival from Finland; the latter won the Arco contest in 2006. And, last but by no means least, the list is completed by the Italian boulder squad. Expectations are high for Gabriele Moroni, currently enjoying the form of his life and in the running for a World Cup title, and Lucas Preti who demonstrated his worth at Arco in previous comps. Power and serenity in the form of Michele Camminati completes the Italian lineup. We're certain it'll be spectacular!
The one to beat in the female competition will be World Champion Anna Stöhr. Last year's Contest winner will defend her title against the fearsome attacks of Slovenian Katja Vidmar (sister of Lead climber Maja) who this season has revealed herself as being one of the best in the World Cup circuit. She will compete against Katharina Saurwein, the nth jewel in Austria's climbing crown, and Angelica Lind from Sweden. Roberta Longo will represent Italy and she will no doubt use all her strength and international experience here in Arco. And, Sara Morandi, directly from the Arco talent field, will be the first-ever local climber to compete in the Sint Roc Boulder Contest.
Speed. The line-up for the fastest vertical sprinters is comprised of Maxim Stenkovoy and Maxim Osypov from the Ukraine, Leonel De Las Salas and Manuel Escobar from Venezuela, Lukas Swirk and Tomasz Oleksy from Poland, Qixin Zhong from China, and the Italian squad represented by Matthias Schmidl, Michel Sirotti and Lucas Preti who is improving dramatically from one competition to the next. Those taking on the challenge in the women's event are Anna Saulevitch and Valentina Yurina from Russia, Svetlana Tuzhilina and Olena Ryepko from the Ukraine, Edyta Ropek from Poland, Francis Rodriguez and Lucelia Blanco from Venezuela, and Li Chun Hua and He Cufang from China. No need to add that in only the fastest in the world will compete in the men's and women's event and that an Olympic style lightening fast ascent is expected, just like Bolt!