COURMAYEUR, ITALY - With only 24 hours before the first runners reach the finish line, the management of energy and time remains extremely difficult on such a long trail with such steep vertical drops. After an initial rainy night characterized by numerous thunderbolts, fine weather returned to Valle d’Aoste on Monday morning. Monday night was full of surprises in spite of the large improvement in weather conditions compared to the previous night.
While Salvador Calvo Redondo from Spain, suffering from pain in his knee, had been in pole position since the beginning of the race, Christophe Le Saux from France finally seized the lead moments before his arrival at the village of Niel. Just before getting to the life base in Gressoney Palazetto at the 200 km. mark, Swiss runners Marco Gazzola and Jules-Henri Gabioud reached 2nd and 3rd place, pushing the Spanish competitor into 4th position.
The rivalry can be felt at the life base in Gressoney Palazetto, where Le Saux, Gazzola and Gabioud stop for almost an hourto recuperate their energy while Calvo Redondo rested for only 30 minutes. When Rendondo set off again, he was 3 hours 45 mins. behind Le Saux, 2 hours 35 mins. behind Gazzola and 1 hour 40 mins. behind Gabioud. Another surprise is that Grégoire Millet from France, who had been in third place for most of the day slipped into 10th place, likely caused by tendinitis that reportedly refuses to heal.
Little surprise in the women’s camp, the Italian Anne-Marie Gross, who was the 2010 winner, has been way ahead of the others since the start of the race. She arrived at the fourth life base in Gressoney Palazetto (200 km), and set off again 50 minutes later putting herself in 8th place in the overall standings. Patrizia Pensa and Giuliana Arrigoni, her two main pursuers, are six hours behind her.
UPDATE: Last observation at Grand Tournalin, Tuesday at 1.30 p.m.
Salvador Calvo Redondo, one of the leading runners until Monday evening, has finally forfeited the race a short time after setting off from the 4th life base in Gressoney Palazetto, suffering from pain in his knee. While French runner Christophe Le Saux, still in the lead with a 45-minute advantage on Swiss competitor Marco Gazzola, is about to pass Grand Tournalin.