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Adam Ondra climbing to victory at Valence in France
Photo by IFSC
Jain Kim climbing to victory at Valence in France
Photo by IFSC
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Adam Ondra and Jain Kim victorious in Valence


The seventh and penultimate stage of the Lead World Cup 2013 was won last night by Adam Ondra from the Czech Republic and Jain Kim from Korea

Valence in France: this was the stage chosen by Adam Ondra to celebrate his return to the Lead World Cup after three years of absence. And last night the 20-year-old from the Czech Republic could not have made a more convincing comeback, winning with the grit and class that enabled him, in 2009, to win the Lead World Cup in his debut year in senior competitions at a mere 16 years of age. Climbing in the packed Valence hall Ondra bisked up the intense route without the slightest hesitation and fell just below the very top, beating Canada's Sean McColl by five holds and France's Gautier Supper by six. Reigning World Champion Jacob Schubert had to settle for 4th place after his foot slipped, but nevertheless he managed to beat rivals Romain Desgranges from France an Sachi Amma from Japan, 5th and 6th respectively. The final proved somewhat disappointing for Korea's strongman Hyunbin Min, in provisional first place after the first semi-final but seventh in the end, and also for Ramón Julian Puigblanque. The Spaniard had placed provisional joint-equal (along with Ondra, Desgranges and Amma) but finished 8th after a moment's hesitation at at half-height. 20 holds for the Catalan climber: nothing for an athlete of his calibre and even less if you consider that the route was comprised of 42 moves, and that Ondra reached 39+!

The women's competition witnessed the usual, exciting battle between the two Cup contenders, between Jain Kim's grace and control and Mina Markovic's strength and will power. Apart from just one stage (Imst, Austria), in this 2013 season the Korean and Slovenian athlete have always alternated between gold and silver and this held true in Valence, too; Kim fell, after a staggering 7 and a half minutes of astoundingly beautiful climbing, a mere two holds from the top. The crowd greeted her with a standing ovation and for Markovic, last out and now under intense pressure, this highpoint proved unreachable and she surrendered two holds lower. Third place went to Momoka Oda from Japan, the only athlete this season capable of separating these two, ahead of Dinara Fakhritdinova, Anak Verhoeven, Maja Vidmar and Akiyo Noguchi, 4th - 7th respectively. Last but not least, Magdalena Röck fell unexpectedly low, from the 11th hold, to finish 8th; a disappointing performance, far below what the Austrian is capable of.

As tradition has it the last stage of the Lead World Cup will now be held in Kranj in a fortnight's time and this promises to be a great battle: everything is still up for grabs in both the women's and men's competition and the Slovenian round will be all-decisive. Kim is currently leading the standings with 625 points, but Markovic trails with 595 and will now compete at home - an important advantage - while Oda trails with 403 points. Sachi Amma leads the men's provisional ranking with 507 points and he's in the running for first against Jakob Schubert who has 443 point, while the battle for third will probably be decided between Ramón Julian Puigblanque (398), Sean McColl (324) and Romain Desgranges (323). Having said that, Ondra's victory last night certainly reshuffled the cards. Those who have become used to seeing the usual climbers in the final will now have to think twice...

IFSC Climbing Worldcup (L) - Valence (FRA)
Results Men

1 Adam Ondra CZE 39+
2 Sean Mccoll CAN 34+
3 Gautier Supper FRA 33+
4 Jakob Schubert AUT 30+
5 Romain Desgranges FRA 30
6 Sachi Amma JPN 28+
7 Hyunbin Min KOR 24+
8 Ramón Julian Puigblanque ESP 20

Results Women
1 Jain Kim KOR 47+
2 Mina Markovic SLO 45+
3 Momoka Oda JPN 44
4 Dinara Fakhritdinova RUS 41+
5 Anak Verhoeven BEL 36
6 Maja Vidmar SLO 36
7 Akiyo Noguchi JPN 34+
8 Magdalena Röck AUT 11+





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