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Athletes competing, with view onto Grandes Jorasses
Photo by Marco Spataro
Athletes winding their way along the Arp valley
Photo by Marco Spataro
The winner Iker Karrera at Valgrisanche
Photo by Fabrizio Bertholin
Scree slopes and difficult paths in the Walser region (Gressoney)
Photo by Marco Spataro
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Tor des Géants 2013, Iker Karrera and Francesca Canepa win

17.09.2013 by Marco Spataro

The report by Marco Spataro about the IV Tor des Geants 2013, the race along the paths at the foot of Mont Blanc and the great Valle d'Aosta peaks (330km and 24.000 elevation gain), won by Iker Karrera and Francesca Canepa.

The race began on Sunday morning and the heavy rain immediately put both competitors and spectators to the test. A short, treacherous bright spell arrived at mid-day. Many set off light, perhaps not fully equipped to deal with Passo Alto and Col Crosatie. This ascent was carried out in the middle of the night, with heavy rain and strong winds putting even the best prepared athletes to the test! These conditions were extreme, worse than ever before and the night was difficult for both athletes and rescuers who tried to avoid unpleasant accidents. Unfortunately Yuan Yang, as a result of a fall, failed to survive and his death is a great loss to everyone.

Many descended to valley in a state of hypothermia, confirming the fact that despite being a competition, conditions along the route can be extremely severe indeed! Light and fast are synonymous with safety, but one must never forget to take more serious clothing for the higher altitudes.

The race was made possible thanks to the thousand + volunteers scattered along the route who looked after the many international athletes. The trails were marked with flags that helped orientation, in particular at night when only the the light of headlamps illuminated the competitors' steps. Long days spent walking - the best ran - marked by plenty of meetings with the local people who live and work in the mountains all year round! Shephards, hut wardens, guides, hoteliers and many spectators rushed to congratulate all those who managed to reach Courmayeur on time. There was little time to rest and eat in the numerous checkpoints were food and great hospitality abounded.

This race runs deep, is important to all and unites in a single event the spirit of taking to the mountains! There were many pleasant chance encounters with old friends or meetings with those who share the same passion on the other side of the world. The event was marked by days spent travelling, without respite, from dawn to dusk and dawn again. These were great incentives to continue on, past the many moments of discomfort and pain. For each tough ascent was, alas, followed by an equally grueling descent... and so on, for over 24,000 meters vertical altitude gain and loss! Over 330 kilometers, one step after the next, past the famous and less famous places in Valle d'Aosta.

Spanish champion Iker Karrera won the race in just over 70 hours, followed by his compatriot Oscar Perez. Third place went to the Italian Franco Collé from Gressoney. Francesca Canepa from Courmayeur won the women's event, followed by Spain's Nerea Martinez and Italy's Eamanuela Tonetti. For everyone the date is already fixed for next year's race along mountains of Valle d'Aosta!

by Marco Spataro

LETTER BY YUAN YANG
Before Iker Karrera and Francesca Canepa were crowned king and queen of the fourth edition and the 383 finishers were called onto stage, the touching letter written by Chinese runner Yuan Yang to the organisation before his fatal Tor des Geants fall was read out in four languages (Chinese, Italian, French and English).

Time and time again, we dream.
Day by day, we wait, with full of expectancy.
Together with friends from the world we gather in the Alps. The Great Wall regards to the Alps, China and the world are hand by hand. We will run forward day and night, deeply breathing the fragrance of nature, intoxicated from the spectacular scenery on the way. Peaceful without cars and trains along the mountains; Powerful men and women gallop, to the sky, to the far away.
We chase the sun, with the moon, through the wind and rain, look down to thousands of fires from the families on the mountains. We run far, we sing high. Stronger, and more purified. We love the world, and we love more of ourselves, then, with doubles, trebles of our brave and confidence, we move forward, never stop.
We will have wonderful trip and friendship with our sweat and perseverance together with all friends. The happiness and the freedom will always live in our hearts.

Yang Yuan, Liu Yumei

FOR THE FAMILY OF YANG YUAN
After the tragic death of Chinese trailer Yuang Yang during the first night of the competition, the organisation of the Tor des Géants® has decided to open a fund raise in favour of his family. Donations will be possible until the 31st October 2013.

Bank account Valle d'Aosta Trailers s.s.d.r.l
BBAN R 01030 31560 000002115744
IBAN IT 36 R 01030 31560 000002115744
BIC PASCITM1AO3
Reason: DONATION FOR YUAN

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