This is the first time that a race in the Golden Trail World Series has not descended. Because the principle of Pikes Peak Ascent is simple: a start from Manitou Spring then the runners follow a long climbing path towards the summit of Pikes Peak (4300 m altitude), 21 km and 2200 m of elevation further. And for the Pikes Peak Marathon, another race of the North American event which was part of the GTWS in 2018 and 2019? It's simply the outward and then the return on the same downhill path.
This season, the 5th stage of the GTWS therefore only took the outward route, a steep climb with a few more rolling passages to spice up the challenge and a finish at high altitude. And in this game, among the men, a big favorite emerged on the starting line: Rémi Bonnet. The Swiss has dominated vertical efforts for several years: 2019 world champion in vertical racing in ski mountaineering and holder of unofficial reference times on the most famous vertical kilometer in the world, that of Fully (28'51'') and " the Incline” a legendary climb located in Colorado (17'25'').
"This race was for me, I knew it, I had already won even before the start shot"
Suffice to say that Rémi Bonnet was determined to make an impression: “the bonus for the climb record is $10,000. My trip to the United States will end in Las Vegas, I am aiming for the bonus and the record », he had announced, in a tone of humor, the day before at a press conference. And if the Swiss will ultimately have to be reasonable in Sin City, he misses the event record by 6 minutes (Matt Carpenter in 2h01 in 1993) and therefore the bonus, he performs a real demonstration until the finish in s' imposing without trembling.
“I tried to stay in the lead group at the start, but they weren't moving fast enough. I felt like I was going to crash into the runner in front of me. So, I passed and got into my pace. Joe Gray (finally 3rd) tried to hold on but I still had a lot of energy. In the high section, I knew I had created enough of a gap that no one could catch me. This race was for me, I knew it, I had already won even before the start shot, but I kept it for myself. It's been 4 years since I last won a GTWS race and it feels really good”declared the Swiss at the finish, winner ahead of Daniel Osanz at 1'40 (Spain) and Joseph Gray at 2'11 (United States).
Big fight among women
As expected, the women's race was the most contested between the three main protagonists, Nienke Brinkman (Netherlands), Sophia Laukli (United States) and Maude Mathys (Switzerland). The fight started straight away between the Dutch and the American, “At the start, I imposed my pace but I could see Sophia right behind and that put a lot of pressure on me”explains Brinkman.
The recent bronze medalist at the European Athletics Marathon Championship finally managed to get rid of Laukli (3rd at the finish at 7'04) to then see her gap eroded by Mathys. “In the high section, I turned around again and this time I saw Maude going up like a rocket. I gave everything I had to stay ahead." continues the one who finally wins in 2h27, 1'14 ahead of Mathys.
The first Frenchmen, Blandine L'Hirondel and Anthony Felber, finished 6th and 7th respectively, 16 minutes and 8 minutes from victory.