Elisa Desco from Team SCOTT Italy was victorious at one of mountain running’s most prestigious titles over the weekend with a 2:58 finish at the 40th edition of Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland, a 31km mountain race with more than 2.100m of ascent. Elisa is finally back in competition, and for sure Marco De Gasperi, SCOTT athlete and three times winner in Zinal, is part of that success story. He’s living with Elisa, and has been coaching her for the first time leading into this fabulous race. For the second consecutive year, US-Newcomer Stevie Kremer was the runner-up in Zinal, finishing in 3:03, around one minute faster than last year. Maud Mathys from Switzerland completed the podium with the Bronze-Medal, like in 2012.
Unnoticed by a lot of journalists, Elisa produced a career enhancing performance and she proved that after some time away from the sport, good things come to those who wait! In the early part of the race she remained in contact with the leading duo Mudge and Kremer, but moved only into 1st place of the race on the last ascent to the Hotel Weisshorn. In the final downhill section she was able to pull away even more from her competitors and finished with a comfortable 5 minute lead.
Photo by Tim Lloyd
Marc Lauenstein gave his home country an impressive victory in 2:32, 3 minutes off Jonathan Wyatt’s course record from 2003. Lauenstein, who was second at Jungfrau Marathon in 2010, dramatically moved from the pack to first after passing by the summit of the race. With only 400 meters to go, he passed by Juan Carlos Cardona, who was leading the race from the start until then. Lauenstein finished only 16 seconds ahead of Cardona, a 2:12 marathoner from Colombia. New Zealand’s Wyatt was third in 2:33, 15 seconds ahead of the Trail-Icon Kilian Jornet, who is preparing for his next challenge in 2 weeks: The Ultraks, a SCOTT sponsored Sky Running event in Zermatt.
The American and SCOTT Elite Runner Sage Canaday from Boulder/Colorado was very unlucky at his first attempt at Sierre-Zinal. Among the top-favourites, he finally finished in 2:45, for 17th overall, as the 2nd american behind the mountain running specialist Rickey Gates from San Francisco. Being still very close to Jornet, Wyatt and the leading pack up to Chandolin after the first steep uphill part of the race, Sage still was in good position. But just a couple of minutes later, on a short downhill passage before the climb to Hotel Weisshorn, he hadn’t the legs to keep up with the competition and so he finished the downhill conservatively, without taking any risks.
Without any doubt, it was an exceptional race and event. And of course, from a SCOTT perspective, it is great to see Elisa back on track and in the front of the top mountain runners in the world. For Elisa, it was a confirmation, for Sage, it was a totally new experience. “Now i know what I have to do in training in order to be really competitive in European mountain races. And with the UROC as my next big race, I have the benefit of racing the best in the World and Kilian for the first time on my home trails” said Sage just after the Race. The UROC will be held on September 28th, and this may be another epic battle between Sage, Kilian and many other elite Mountain-Ultra-Trail Runners.
Bravissima Elisa and Keep on running, Sage! All Scotties are very excited about your next races!
RESULTS 40. Sierre Zinal
1. Elisa Desco 2h58'33
2. S. Kremer 3h03'12
3. M. Mathys 3h04'14
1. M. Lauenstein 2h32'14
2. J. Cardona 2h32'30
3. J. Wyatt 2h33'44