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Saapunki and Chevrier Excel at Primiero Dolomiti Trail

It was an exciting day for the World Cup in Valle di Primiero with Finnish former cross-country skier Susanna Saapunki leading out from the start and Italian Xavier Chevrier chasing down Kenyan Lengen Lolkurraru. 

The Primiero Valley (Trentino – Italy) is a land of great sport appointments and today a special event took place: the Primiero Dolomiti Trail, the “Silver Label” race of the Valsir World Cup circuit and authentic end-of-season festival of mountain running.

The gazelles, this time, suffered. Therefore, it was the turn of the 'reindeer' Susanna Saapunki (FIN), already a successful cross-country skier in the World Cup, and of the 'ibex' Xavier Chevrier, no stranger to striking results in the running trail, to celebrate on the top step of the podium.

It was a morning to be framed, striding along the steep Primiero trails alternated with technical balcony descents on Fiera di Primiero and valley cart tracks, which put the participants' physiques to the test. Among the juniors, Nicola Morosini from Brescia and the two South Tyrolean women from Merano Anna Hofer and Emily Vucemillo stood out, first and second respectively.

Escape and victory in style for the number one Italian Xavier Chevrier, as well as for the Finnish Susanna Saapunki. Champions of the maximum circuit and many enthusiasts run in the silence of the nature of the Primiero Valley, feeling part of it like chamois climbing lightly on mountain paths. A perfect sunny day, an exceptional 3.4 km circuit with 230 m/height difference non-trivial, all accompanied by the iconic Pale di San Martino.

The “big” have not disappointed the expectations gifting to the public of Fiera di Primiero an adrenalin-fuelled race with continuous twists and turns. Immediately the topChevrier02 web athletes took the lead, then Henri Aymonod from Valle D’Aosta, winner of the Overall Cup ranking in 2021, opened the gas in the direction of Sante Caterine where the GPM was located. At the first passage of Fiera di Primiero, the Kenyan Lengen Lolkurraru was first, behind Chevrier and Aymonod and the other Kenyan Timothy Kimutai Kiriu controlled the situation. The big jolt came from two-time world champion Chevrier who, unleashed, took the lead. A perfect push on his boots and an impeccable technical action allowed the star from Valle d’Aosta to gain immediately a good margin. Behind him, the race was very close between Aymonod, the Canadian Remi Leroux and Alberto Vender from Trentino. The Kenyans, who perhaps started too strongly, lost some ground, while the experienced Alex Baldaccini, Michael Galassi and Liam Meirow came up. 

Honourable entry and spectacular victory for the champion Xavier Chevrier in Fiera di Primiero, just as he did in the 26K of the Primiero Marathon 2021, who concluded his last mountain running race of the season with a time of 43'32". Remi Leroux surprised the Italian Aymonod right at the end, for the latter an excellent third place at the Primiero Dolomiti Trail. Finally, the wooden medal went to Alberto Vender.

Saapunki03 webThe women's race was more or less similar: Finland's Susanna Saapunki took the reins of the race straight away, edging out the Kenyan favourite Lucy Murigi, England's Sara Willhoit and the newly crowned Italian champion Vivien Bonzi. The multi-sport athlete Saapunki, who is as fast on the run as she is on the narrow skis, stretched out on the last lap, with the Kenyan Murigi suffering a 10-second delay, followed by a brilliant Bonzi, who wanted to be part of the games at all costs. Susanna Saapunki literally pulled away, celebrating at the finish line after 51' of the race. 1'33" behind for the experienced Murigi, while Sara Willhoit completed the podium. Slipping off the podium was the Italian Bonzi, who suffered an attack by the Briton in the final.

Exciting race also among the juniors, both male and female. The selection took place already on the first lap when Nicola Morosini (US Rogno) set a great pace and on the uphill stretch towards the GPM of Sante Caterine accelerated the pace on the pursuers Francesco Bongio and the home athlete Hermann Debertolis. The race, however, was still wide open and in fact on the last lap Bongio made his way up, but Morosini relaunched the action. Final head-to-head between the pair Bongio and Morosini. With a time of 30’53”, the Italian champion Nicola Morosini triumphed, beating Bongio by only 6". Third was a superlative Hermann Debertolis, the outsider of the day who only entered the race yesterday. Debertolis is a skialper and used this competition as preparation for the upcoming winter season.

The story of the junior women race saw only one protagonist, the South Tyrolean Anna Hofer (Sportclub Merano). She did not feel the fatigue on the uphill sprints, at times walking on the steepest points, but immediately resumed her race, indeed her sweet 'dance' at high altitude. Lap after lap she increased her lead over teammate Emily Vucemillo. A triumphant entry on the long avenue of Fiera di Primiero for the champion Hofer, who pulled a good 1'49" ahead of her fellow citizen Vucemillo. Third place for Sara Baroni (US Quercia). Amateurs also competed in today's race, with the Primiero race forming part of the Gran Premio Montagne Trentine.

The US Primiero of President Luigi Zanetel scored another success and managed to bring the great interpreters of mountain running to the square.

A summary of the exciting World Cup race will be broadcasted on the Rai Sport channel as early as Tuesday 3 October at 4.15 p.m., then a repeat on Wednesday at 10.30 p.m. and on Thursday at 12.55 p.m.


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This latest race has shaken up the World Cup points. With the points removed from runners who have done more than six races it's Joyce Muthoni Njeru (KEN) and Philemon Kiriago (KEN) who lead, with 280 and 250 points respectively. For the women Philaries Kisang (KEN) is second with 195 points, Andrea Mayr (AUT) with 190, Lucy Murigi (KEN) with 160 and Scout Adkin (GBR) just behind with 156. For the men Patrick Kipngeno (KEN) is just behind Kiriago with 230 points, then Joe Steward (GBR) is third with 140, then Remi Leroux (CAN) with 138 and Andrea Rostan (ITA) with 106. It's going to be an exciting final few races at Smarna Gora and Gran Canaria. 

 Senior M/ U23 M/Senior Master until SM55

1 Chevrier Xavier Atl. Valli Bergamasche Leffe 00:43:32; 2 Leroux Remi Merrel 00:43:56; 3 Aymonod Henri U.S. Malonno 00:43:58; 4 Vender Alberto Dinamo Team Ssd Arl 00:44:06; 5 Baldaccini Alex G.S. Orobie 00:44:07; 6 Galassi Michael Unione Sportiva Aldo Moro 00:44:34; 7 Kirui Timothy Kimutai Scott 00:44:35; 8 Meirow Liam 00:44:42; 9 Costa Isacco La Recastello Radici Group 00:44:42; 10 Lolkurraru Lengen Pegarun A.S.D.  00:45:13

 Senior F/ U23 F

1 Saapunki Susanna New Balance 00:51:00; 2 Murigi Lucy Wambui Atletica Saluzzo 00:52:33; 3 Willhoit Sara Scarpa 00:52:42; 4 Bonzi Vivien La Recastello Radici Group 00:52:58; 5 Falchetti Martina Sportclub Merano 00:53:17; 6 Bianchi Beatrice La Recastello Radici Group 00:53:21; 7 Scaini Alessia Atletica Saluzzo 00:55:33; 8 Cotton Charlotte Agrupacion Deportiva Maraton 00:56:48; 9 Lambert Caroline Middlesbrough Ac (Mandale) 00:58:57; 10 Leather Chloe Liverpool Pembroke And Sefton 01:00:11

 Junior M/Senior Master SM 60 and over

1 Morosini Nicola U.S. Rogno 00:30:53; 2 Bongio Francesco G.S. C.S.I. Morbegno 00:30:59; 3 Debertolis Hermann Run Card 00:32:10; 4 Dallapiccola Mauro Atletica Valle Di Cembra 00:33:08; 5 Baroni Daniele Atl. Rimini Nord Santarcangelo 00:39:03; 6 Franceschini Luca S.A. Valchiese 00:39:42; 7 Tomasini Umberto Atletica Team Loppio 00:41:20; 8 Foradori Diego Atletica Clarina Trentino 00:41:28; 9 Doff Bruno U.S. Primiero Asd 00:41:42; 10 Rigoni Silvano A.A.A.Malo 00:41:42

Junior F/Senior Master SF35 and over

1 Hofer Anna Sportclub Merano 00:35:05; 2 Vucemillo Emily Sportclub Merano 00:36:54; 3 Baroni Sara U.S. Quercia 00:41:17; 4 Dapor Marica Lagarina Crus Team 00:44:30; 5 Menestrina Simonetta Atletica Trento 00:44:35; 6 Trentin Michela Non Solo Running 00:45:01; 7 Dal Santo Maria Cristina A.A.A.Malo 00:50:08; 8 Giovanelli Rosanna U.S. Stella Alpina Carano 00:51:00; 9 Leonardi Paola Atletica Team Loppio 00:54:07; 10 Stedile Katia U.S. Quercia 00:55:21