Oscar Perèz and Francesca Canepa win the Tor des Geants 2012
The Tor des Geants 2012 was won by Oscar Perèz (Spain) and Francesca Canepa (Italy). The race along the Valle d'Aosta paths at the foot of Mont Blanc (330km and 24.000 elevation gain) was completed by 392 athletes.
The third edition concluded with a very festive closing ceremony, full of emotions and happiness. Each one of the 392 finishers, applauded by spectators who had turned up in large numbers, passed through Courmayeur and climbed the steps of the Jardin de l'Ange in front of an admiring audience and the winners!
In long-distance races like this, the final accomplishment of the leaders is exceptional. However the performance of all those who finished Tor des Géants in less than 150 hours is no less outstanding. "For us, the organizers, it was the trailers' emotion as they crossed the finish line that made us feel so proud. When they told us how impressed they were with the reception they had received from the Aosta Valley people, it was fantastic!" It was with these words that the Aosta Valley Councillor for Tourism Aurelio Marguerettaz opened the prize- giving ceremony which marked the closure of the third edition of Tor des Géants at 11 am on Sunday 16 September.
It all began on Sunday 9th September at 10 am when, under sunny skies, 629 competitors started the race. The race was then interrupted twice during the week, firstly, on Tuesday night, when a landslide fell near the Barmasse hut and the second time due to wintry conditions above 3,000 mt as from Wednesday 12th.
The climate, however, did not prevent Oscar PEREZ (Spain) from finishing the race in the best time ever recorded in the history of the Tor: 75 hours and 56 minutes. Second place went to French Grégoire MILLET in 78 hours 58 minutes who improved on the record established last year by Jules-Henry GABIOUD (79 hrs 58 mins). Christophe LE SAUX, who came third, together with Pablo CRIADO TOCA (4th) and Franco COLLE (5th) were the only competitors whose race didn't undergo any change due to bad weather.
Italian Francesca CANEPA clinched first place among the women in 85 hours 33 minutes, finishing 7th in the overall rankings after 330 km and 24,000 metres of altitude difference. Although the first 73 athletes (69 men and 4 women) were able to cross the finish line at Courmayeur as planned, the finish was moved forward to Saint-Rhémy-en Bosses (303 km) for all the others with a time barrier reduced from 150 to 140 hours.In fact, the crossing of the last pass in the race (Col Malatra) had become too dangerous as a result of the wintry conditions. Consequently, the race committee chose to interrupt the race before this point for security reasons.
The last competitor to cross the new finish line at 10 am yesterday morning was Francis de Stefani, clocking in at 138 hours and 59 minutes. After a race that lasted 6 nights, 7 days and 303 km and included 23,000 metres of altitude difference as well as 24 passes over 2,000 metres, the 66 year-old athlete was welcomed by the two winners, Francesca Canepa and Oscar Perez. Francis was overwhelmed! The French took the Trophey of Nations, singing the Marseillaise for the second time running at the foot of Mont Blanc (on the Italian side !)
Director of the race Alessandra Nicoletti concluded, full of emotion: "I have a message for all the athletes, finishers and non-finishers, for all the volunteers, for all the organizing committee and for the 120,000 people from Aosta Valley who cheered and helped the competitors in their villages, streets and mountain huts during this uncommon event. Our appointment is for 2013!" In spite of the rainy and wintry weather in the middle of the week, Tor des Géants is, according to everyone, an amazing adventure, a journey full of emotions, encounters and and effort.
Amid pleasure, laughter, joy and sometimes pain and tears, this adventure in the heart of the 4 over-4,000-metre-high peaks in the Italian Alps is unique and magical. Despite being disrupted this year by mountainous weather, Tor des Géants won't be fogotten for its unusual tales, its rare emotions, shared moments and superb images.
FINAL RESULTS MEN:
1: Oscar Perèz Lopez – SPAGNA – 75:56’:31”
2: Grégoire Millet – FRANCIA – 78:50’:03”
3: Christophe Le Saux – FRANCIA – 80:14’:14”
4: Pablo Criado Toca – SPAGNA – 83:37’:29”
5: Franco Collé – ITALIA – 84:15’:59”
FINAL RESULTS WOMEN:
1: Francesca Canepa – ITALIA – 85:33’:56”
2: Sonia Glarey – ITALIA – 96:59’:54”
3: Patrizia Pensa – ITALIA – 97:06’:15”
4: Hiroko Suzuki – GIAPPONE – 106:05’:54”
5: Keri Devine – NUOVA ZELANDA – 100:54’:59”
TROPHY OF NATIONS: France (245h 19' 06")
Christophe Le Saux + Grégoire Millet + Laurent Gueruad