|The fourth stage of the World Cup Difficulty, won by Yuji Hirayama and Liv Sansoz, was characterised by a large number of athletes topping out of their routes. |
In the Qualifiers 8 women and 17 men topped out, while in the women's Semi-final a staggering 14 athletes finished the route. Half of these were not enough though to guarantee a place in the Final, since Elena Choumilova, Sandrine Levet, Hyun Jung Kim, Leire Aguirre, Mi-Sun Go, Anna Tina Schultz and Damaris Knorr had failed to top out the previous day.
The women's Final was composed of Jenny Lavarda, Martina Cufar, Liv Sansoz, Muriel Sarkany, Chloè Minoret, Stéphanie Bodet and the recent European Champion, Katrin Sedlmayer. But just like in Lecco and Cormayeur, the Final failed to produce a clear winner: Liv Sansoz, Muriel Sarkany, Katryn Sedlmayer and Stéphanie Bodet all topped out, and another Superfinal was needed.
Liv Sansoz convincingly settled the score by topping out yet again, while Katrin Sedlmayer placed second, ahead of Stéphanie Bodet and Muriel Sarkany joint third-equal. Martina Cufar placed fifth, while Jenny Lavarda and Chloé Minoret joint sixth-equal.
In the men's Semi-final Yuji Hirayama, Christian Bindhammer, Alexandre Chabot, Paul Dewilde, Maxim Petrenko and Cristian Brenna all topped out and qualified for the Final, together with Arnaud Petit who managed to hold the last hold which François Legrand, Daniel Andrada and Yvhen Kryvosheitsev only managed to touch.
The men's Final, once again, produced three joint-firsts with Yuji Hirayama, Paul Dewilde and Alexandre Chabot. Yuji Hirayama climbed highest in the ensuing Superfinal, while Chabot fell one meter lower and Dewilde considerably lower still. Arnaud Petit finished 4th, ahead of Cristian Brenna, Maxim Petrenko and Christian Bindhammer joint fifth-equal.
So the stage is now set for the final leg of the World Cup Difficulty 2000 in Kranj. Yuji Hirayama has consolidated his lead of the World Cup ranking and Alexandre Chabot trails 32 points behind. Maxim Petrenko has moved into third place, separated though by only two points from Dino Lagni.
Liv Sansoz has now taken the lead in the women's event leaving Muriel Sarkany 35 points behind in second place. Stéphanie Bodet is 25 points away from the Belgian, but one never knows what might happen in a fortnight's time
Back to Competition 2000
World Cup Difficulty 2000 ranking
Official website for World Cup 2000, Nantes
Liv Sansoz and Yuji Hirayama, victorious in Nantes and leaders of the World Cup ranking photographs by F. Tremolada