Jornet, Magnini, Walmsley and Simpson among “epic” field of elite men facing off at storied Swiss Alps race
This Sunday’s fourth Golden Trail World Series race of 2019, the famed Sierre-Zinal race in the Swiss Alps, is loaded with top runners. The course brings four 4,000-meter peaks into view along the way making it one of the most scenic races in the world, but the guys at the top might spend the morning looking over their shoulders and at the competition around them rather than the views.
The most popular and consensus top trail runner on the planet, Kilian Jornet, will return to action in search of his seventh win at Sierre-Zinal after he won his record sixth title last year by running away from the field in the second half of the race. The Team Salomon athlete from Spain has laced up his shoes just once this season on the Golden Trail World Series, winning the series-opener at Zegama in convincing fashion. He will go from Sierre-Zinal to Pikes Peak in Colorado two weeks later.
Jornet will have his hands full on Sunday with rivals from across the world of running. American Jim Walmsley (Team Hoka), coming off his course-record smashing win at the Western States 100 in July, has never competed at Sierre-Zinal and tends to favor ultras. Still, the screaming uphill start and rolling course profile to the downhill finish could suit him well and he has stated his eagerness to compete here.
The man to beat of late has been Italian Davide Magnini, who has wins at the Marathon du Mont Blanc then the Dolomyths Run in his homeland in July. The 21-year-old Team Salomon athlete has been hailed as a future star, and it appears the future is now. He has beaten some class fields in both those races, and finished 7th at Sierre-Zinal last year, 5 minutes behind Jornet.
“Sierre Zinal is always a race with a huge field, where strong mountain runners meet skyrunners, road racers and orienteers,” Jornet said this week. “And this edition will be epic. I think there are at least 15 runners who will be fighting for the victory.”
Italy’s Nadir Maguet (Team La Sportiva) was 2nd to Magnini in both the Marathon du Mont Blanc and the Dolomyths Run, and is a strong candidate to crack the podium again. Two Team Salomon athletes figure to be fighting for podium places as well—Poland’s Bart Przedwojewski, the current season-long leader of the Golden Trail World Series, and Norway’s Stian Angermund-Vik, 3rd in the overall standings.
“Davide Magnini has done a super start of the season. He is very talented, hungry and is one of the strongest climbers ever,” Jornet said. “Runners like Robbie Simpson or Petro Mamu and Andrew Douglas have already been super competitive here. Geoffrey Ndungu, Robert Surum are the fastest in flat and also good climbers. Same for Andy Wacker or Jim Walmsley. Young talents like Jacob Adkin and Rémi Bonnet will push hard for sure, too. And there are plenty more, so for sure it will be a great show!”
About The Golden Trail Series: The elite runners of the Golden Trail World Series are trying to earn points in the season-long chase for a spot in the Grand Final, which will take place in Nepal in October. The athletes must participate in three of the six races during the series in order to be eligible for the final. The top-10 men and women with the most points in their three best races will earn a trip for themselves and a person of their choice to the Grand Final. The overall final standings (and the men’s and women’s champions) of the Golden Trail World Series will be determined again by the runners’ three best finishes during the season, plus their result at the Grand Final. For photos and more, visit goldentrailseries.com. For up-to-date Golden Trail World Series standings.
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