Valle di Daone, Sunday 6 January 2002
"It was great!" is how a smiling person in the crowd summed up the Italian Championship 1st Trophy Grivel. Quite rightly. After two days of intense cold the competition came to a close with a truly spectacular duel final. The crowd went wild and Kurt Astner and Anna Torretta stole the show to become Italian Champions. How did it all come about?
Men's Semi-final men
After Saturdays Open the marathon-like Semi-final began at 10.00am: three routes were on offer, and after each route the worst three athletes were eliminated, leading up to the highly anticipated duel-final.
The first route started off across a Yaniro style traverse to finish up a steep drytooling headwall. Only Erik Svab, the defending champion, topped out he dropped his ice axe on the final move and dynoed for the top!
The second route was a spectacular overhanging leftwards traverse across a mushroom-like ice boulder. Stamina was the name of the game and Nicola Sartori showed why hes still a force to be reckon with, coming closest to the finishing hold but, effectively, running out of time.
The third semi-final route wound its way through the entire spider web to finish, once again, up a dry tooling section. By now the athletes were beginning to tire and the final wooden panels remained distant to all, except for Sartori who, to the crowds delight, slowly but surely powered his way to the top.
The final was therefore comprised of Sartori, Harald Gasser, Patrick Daberto and Kurt Astner who, despite climbing out of bounds on a couple of occasions, demonstrated his well above-average power and endurance.
Finally the crowd got its first taste of the duel. Merciless but spectacular, this involved two rounds to the top. The fastest won - as simple as that. While Anna Torretta easily beat Orietta Bonaldo, Monica Gemelli found her opponent a tougher match. After just losing out to Claudia Cuoghi in the first round, Monica had to pull out all the shots to qualify for the final.
But Anna Torrettas superiority was clear for all to see. Climbing with a pair of fluorescent pink lightweight shoes she reached the finishing bell well ahead of Gemelli to win the Italian Championship. Congratulations!
The 45° A-frame was called into action once again. First off the mark were Nicola Sartori and Kurt Astner. Sartori climbed well but Astner shifted up a gear and sprinted to the top, winning both the first and second round to qualify for the Grand Final. As did Harald Gasser, who got the better of Patrick Daberto, by now visibly tired after competing for an entire day.
After a short rest it was time for the Grand Final. Astner shot off like a rocket but, just before reaching the top, stepped out of bounds. Gasser, only half-way at this stage, coolly finished the route with Astner racing up from behind once again. And so to the final round. Astner set off quickly once again while Gasser fell to the floor after the ice exploded. But the tables soon turned as Astner fell from high, then Gasser fell and so on. In the end no one reached the top but Astner had climbed highest and so, justifiably, took the coveted title.
So the 1st Grivel Trophy comes to an end. The new competition formula was an experiment that worked well on the occasion, but perhaps topping should be worth much more than at present. This detracts nothing from the current champions though, and it seems as if a significant step forward has just been made.
Congratulations to all, especially to the organisation in Valle di Daone, spearheaded by Paolo Mantovani, Marco Da Pozzo e Maurizio Gallo.