The fifth race of seven World Cup Mountain Races took place on the weekend with the 'The Stellina Partisan Memorial' that was held in the beautiful Val di Susa of the Piemonte region of Northern Italy. It was the 29th edition of this legendary race that has been at the heart of European Mountain Running since it first started.
The race wins went to the Italians who fielded their strongest runners. The Mountain trails that were used in this race were the same that in 1945 were the backdrop to the Grange Sevine battle, a major clash that saw the partisans led by commander Giulio Bolaffi alias Aldo Laghi, defeat the SS troops. This Memorial race is prepared for runners to travel on these same tracks and experience the land where so many sacrificed their lives during the war.
See the full results here.
In close racing action, it was Alex Baldaccini (Atl. Valle Brembana) and Camilla Magliano (Pod. Torino) who arrived home first taking the wins. In the women's field, there was a great race between Camilla Magliano (Pod. Torino), a new entry to the top international mountain running scene, and Celine Iranzi (Orecchiella Garfagnana) from Rwanda. Alice Gaggi (La Recastello Radici Group) battled it out with Sarah Tunstall from Great Britain. Magliano’s paced it well and was very strong throughout but gradually detached Iranzi. Magliano arrived in 1h19: 26 with 59 seconds advantage over Iranzi. On the third step of the podium, the Italian champion Alice Gaggi (La Recastello Radici Group) with time of 1h21: 30 eased away from 4th placed Sarah Tunstall who closed in 1h22: 58. Samantha Galassi (La Recastello Radici Group) was next in with 1h24: 14. The standings continue with the 6th place of Nadia Re (ASD Valli di Lanzo) in 1h26: 31, 7th Eufemia Magro (ASD Dragonero) with 1h27: 59. Then the athletes of Free Zone Gloria Rita Giudici (1h28: 32) and Barbara Bani (1h28: 39), followed by Chiara Giovando (Atl Monterosa), 10th in 1h29: 49.
Magliano. "I am very happy and excited. I want so much take place to Stellinarace because it’s the most important mountain race in my region, Piedomont. I did not expect anything, I knew it was a race for me because it’s only up; at the beginning I let Iranzi get away on the flat because I knew the race was long and there was time to recover. I came up with a good steady pace and it worked!"
For Baldaccini it was his second victory at the Stellina race where he won in 2015 but compared to two years ago, the time was much faster: 1h06: 13 then versus 1h05: 39 that he ran on Sunday. After the start of the race from Augusto di Susa Arch, Baldaccini was in the lead group with Davide Magnini (RAS Courmayeur), the European Mountain Running Champion Xavier Chevrier (Atl. Valli Bergamasche Leffe), Francesco Puppi (Atl. Valle Brembana), Julien Rancon from France, Hannes Perkmann (Sportler Team) and Bernard Dematteis (Corrintime).
Twenty minutes from the end, Hannes pushed hard but Baldaccini, along with Puppi went with him. Puppi and Baldaccini accelerated on the flatter section to battle for the lead but going into the final kilometer another pair close to the front were still in contention for the win: Chevrier and Magnini, while Bernard Dematteis was fading. In that last kilometer Baldaccini stretched out, Puppi couldnt react; so Baldaccini arrived alone with 14 seconds advantage over his club companion.
Also for Puppi this classification is a déjà-vu. In 2015 the first two places were the same: Baldaccini and Puppi. Davide Magnini held on well for third in 1h06: 25 followed by the current Italian champion Chevrier (1h06: 49). Then Perkmann arrived in 5th who had started the action in the last third (1h07: 03). 6th Place for Bernard Dematteis in 1h07: 45 before Miran Cvet (Slovenia) with 1h09: 08. The 8th place went to new WMRA President Jonathan Wyatt; (he won there 13 times but couldn't stay with the top Italians) arrived after 1h09: 55 followed by Julien Rancon from France, 9th in 1h10: 11. 11th place for Martin Dematteis (Corrintime), the track record holder, who closes this year's edition in 1h10: 38 after Edward Young (Pod. Valchiusella), 10th in 1h10: 24.
Baldaccini. "I'm really happy," said Baldaccini - it was a difficult season for me, especially in the early months. It was a very good for success in an important race like Stellinarace. I had to work really hard in the race, the first km I struggled to keep pace with the first ones then getting into the climb we were just a few and in the end it was only Francesco and me. We are friends but it is always a tough opponent, in fact I managed to break him just in the final metres. Now I would like to prepare for the cross well"
Andrea Rostan (Atl. Saluzzo) won the men's junior race, starting from Braida and arriving in Costa Rossa, in 56:14.
This was one special edition of the Stellina race: it was the first one without Adriano Aschieris, one of the founders of the event. In memory of the former President of Atletica Susa and Fidal Piemonte, 1 km of music and emotion walk was organized, named 'Corri con Adri', which was attended by a lot of people from Susa and, also, by Maurizio Damilano, the race walker Olympic Medal in Moscow in 1980, who was a close friend of Aschieris as well as Livio Berruti, the Olympic Champion in Rome 1960, President of Stellinarace’s LOC.
Many thanks go to the organising team (Atletica Susa) and the many helpers and volunteers for making this traditional Italian race so special again in 2017.
In the World Cup series - the ongoing ranking can be found here.
Bernie and Martin Dermatteis at the arrival.