Ice World Cup 2009: Markus Bendler and Angelika Rainer win in Saas Fee
Markus Bendler from Austria and Angelika Rainer from Italy won the Ice Climbng World Championship and the second stage of the Ice Climbing World Cup, held in Switzerland's Saas Fee last weekend. Russian athletes Maria Tolokonina and Pavel Gulyaev doubled their Daone success and won the Speed event.
Another stage of the Ice Climbing World Cup, another battle. A week after the start in Daone, confirmation and good news (especially for Italy) now come from across the border from Saas Fee. The first super-confirmation comes in the form of Markus Bendler who in winning the Difficulty event in Switzerland is now not only the new Ice climbing World Champion, but also the virtual winner of the World Cup 2009. This victory crowns an excellent four-year period which saw him take bronze in 2006 and silver in both 2007 and 2008. This escalation confirms his immense strength, something which in truth no one ever really doubted. Just like no one ever really doubted Angelika Rainer's strength; the South Tyrolean won the second stage in 2009 and is now also Ice Climbing World Champion, while her teammate Herbert Klammer (the Italian ironman) placed second just behind Bendler and is vice world Champion.
This counterattack of the Italian athletes, reinforced by Jenny Lavarda's 4th place and Barbara Zwerger's 9th, is without a doubt the biggest news from the important and classic "garage" stage in Sass Fee. As usual the underground parking lot transformed into and authentic ice climbing arena where, talking about confirmation, Maria Tolokonina and Pavel Gulyaev reaffirmed their leadership in the Speed event. The two Russian athletes repeated their performance in Daone, clearing the path to overall victory. Maria Tolokonina is also in the running for the Difficulty title, after having placed 3rd in Saas Fee and 1st in Italy.
Saas Fee was marked by an intense battle and twists and turns, above all in the men's event where Herbert Klammer, on top form after his previous under-par performance, qualified last for the final yet fought his way formidably to gain second, just a short distance behind Bendler. The South Tyrolean interpreted a move wrongly and fell, just ahead of Maxim Tomilov from Russia who placed 3rd. Simon Anthamatten failed to capitalise on his home-crowd and climb as stellar as he did last season which earned him the 2008 Cup and, after reaching Tomilov's highpoint, placed 4th thanks to his result in the previos round. Another ice climbing great, Evgeny Kryvosheytsev from the Ukraine, placed 5th and made up for his false start in Daone a week ago. Samuel Anthamatten placed 6th, Juraj Svingal from Slovakia 7th and Patrik Aufdenblatten from Switzerland 8th.
Angelika Rainer dominated the women's difficulty without leaving any room for her rivals. The 22 year old from Bolzano was impeccable and succeeded in a lone top in the final, demonstrating once again that she is one of the strongest ice athletes in the world. This victory (her second in a row in Saas Fee) and her 6th place in Daone means she's back in the running for overall victory. This will be no mean task though and it will all go down to the wire in the final stage in Busteni. Closest rival Petra Müller from Switzerland (silver in Saas Fee and 4th in Daone) and above all Maria Tolokonina (3rd in Saas Fee and 1st in Daone) will no doubt be gunning for overall victory. Certainly they won't be only ones with high ambitions: last year's winner Jenny Lavarda will seek revenge for her poor performance in Daone and her 4th place in Saas Fee as she was separated by a whisker from Tolokonina's bronze. Others in the running are Stéphanie Maureau from France (5th in Saas Fee and 2nd in Daone), Chloe Graftiaux from Belgium (6th in Saas Fee and 5th in Daone) and Lucie Hrozova from the Czech Republic (7th in Saas Fee and 3rd in Daone).
After the Slovenian interlude in Mojstrana dedicated to the Speed event the Difficulty it will be all guns blazing in Romania's Busteni. The women's competition in particular will be highly fought over. Much is at stake and the episode which resulted in Zwerger's exclusion from the final proves this clearly. In the qualification round Zwerger did not reach the top due to a mistake in communication with the judges. In the Semifinal she finished 8th equal with Maureau from France who had topped out in the qualification. The judges had conceded Zwerger's participation in the final, yet Lavarda's objection resulted in Zwerger's exclusion and above all it netted her 4th instead of 7th place in the Semifinal. Similar episodes have occured in the Climbing World Cup and they are definitely a sign that these competitions are fought over and highly desired.
RESULTS SAAS FEE 2009
1 Angelika Rainer (Italy)
2 Petra Müller (Switzerland)
3 Maria Tolokonina (Russia)
4 Jenny Lavarda (Italy)
5 Stéphanie Maureau (France)
6 Chloe Graftiaux (Belgium)
7 Lucie Hrozova (Czech Republic)
8 Seon Shin Woon (Korean)
1 Markus Bendler (Austria)
2 Herbert Klammer (Italy)
3 Maxim Tomilov (Russia)
4 Simon Anthamatten (Switzerland)
5 Evgeny Kryvosheytsev (Ukraine)
6 Samuel Anthamatten (Switzerland)
7 Juraj Svingal (Slovakiav)
8 Patrik Aufdenblatten (Switzerland)
1 Gulyaev Pavel (Russia)
2 Batushev Pavel (Russia)
3 Dimitrov Tihomir (Bulgaria)
4 Dengin Alexey (Russia)
5 Kryvosheytsev Yevgen (Ukrainie)
6 Kolchegoshev Kirril (Russia)
7 Odermatt Urs (Switzerland)
8 Primerov Nikolay (Switzerland)
1 Tolokonina Maria (Russia)
2 Shubina Nadezda (Russia)
3 Filippova Maryam (Russia)
4 Badalyan Liudmila (Russia)
5 Petkova Radka (Bulgaria)
6 Pleskacheva Ekaterina (Russia)
7 Launits Nadezda (Russia)