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Tecnica MaXi-Race: 'it's not an easy race, but it's the same for everyone'

by Press Release
Sunday 29th May 2016
1,389 runners from 38 different countries set off on the Tecnica MaXi-Race on Saturday 28th May. This race takes place in the beautiful setting of Annecy and it’s a stunning 86km course around the lake. It’s beautiful but a very tough, technical course with 5200m of ascent and several of the key mountain passes were still covered in snow. To add to this, the day before the race a big snow slide in one area meant that the organisers spent the whole day Friday rebuilding the trail. With such a tough route in such a stunning setting it’s easy to see why this race is fast becoming one of the key races in the trail running calendar. It served as the course for the IAU World Trail Championships in 2015. 
This year once again, the quality of the field was high in the men's category and the competition even tighter, with 3 places in the French team up for grabs for the upcoming IAU Trail World Championships in Portugal. The favourites were Ludovic Pommeret (ITRA 870), Sébastien Spheler (ITRA 884), Michel Lanne (ITRA 890), Aurelien Collet (ITRA 837), and Clement Molliet (ITRA 852).
As expected, the lead group was headed by the favourites. At Entrevernes (35 km), Aurelien Collet and Ludovic Pommeret were hot on each other's heels, with Sébastien Spehler (2min 15), Mickael Pasero and Michel Lanne (3min15) close behind. At km 42 at Doussard, Ludovic Pommeret took the lead, pulling 20 seconds ahead of Aurelien Collet followed by Sébastien Spehler who had to stop further on due to nutrition issues. Michel Lanne and Mickael Pasero were 5 minutes behind them. At the col de la Forclaz (km 50), Ludovic Pommeret increased the gap pulling ahead of Aurelien Collet by 3min and 8 min 45 in front of Michel Lanne. Ludovic, well ahead in this second part of the course -which everyone agrees is where the race really begins- demonstrated what good shape he is in. He arrived at Menthon St Bernard (70 km) 14 mins ahead of the next runner, Michel Lanne, who had edged his way up, 15 min 50 ahead of Aurelien Collet, with the Italian Giulio Ornati over 20 minutes behind. Ludovic told us at the finish line, "It's not an easy race, but it's the same for everyone. I quickly took control of the race, you have to split up the pack... The descent at chalet de l'Aulp is horrible but I managed to pick up the pace on the flat. I knew that Michel wasn't far behind, but didn't let up. I'm also happy to have qualified for the French team for the World Championships. I love the team and making it to the World Championships was one of my goals." While it seemed the second place would go to Michel Lanne, who had spent most of the final section of the course in second place, Aurelien Collet picked up the pace in the final descent, finishing 1 min 54 sec ahead of Michel. Michel is the third to qualify for the Championships in Portugal.
In the women's category, the clear favourite was Andrea Huser (ITRA 771) of Switzerland after her performance in the previous season. Her compatriot Denise Zimmermann (ITRA 708) and the South African Landie Greyling (ITRA 720) were also key contenders. Emilie Lecomte's forfeit opened up the competition for the other French women, Juliette Blanchet (ITRA 695), Aurelia Truel (ITRA 710), Melanie Rousset (ITRA 688) or Caroline Benoit (ITRA 659) to win the 2 places on the French team.
The group was still together at the summit of Semnoz, with Aurélia Truel at the head. During the climb to the col de la Cochette, the Swiss runner Andrea Huser managed to gain some distance ahead of Aurelia Truel (+6min10), Lisa Borzani (+6min20) and Landie Greyling (+8min10) at Doussard (km 42). At Chalet d'Aulp (km 54) Andrea was still at the head but with Lisa having caught up to her, while Aurelia,  3 minutes behind was suffering from "an attack of worse form." Sophie Gagnon is 7 min 30 behind and Caroline Benoît 18 min behind.
In the climb up to chalet de l'Aulp, Andrea broke away and never looked back till the finish line which she crossed after 10h38'40'', undeniably the queen of the race. Sophie Gagnon and Lisa Borzani fought for second place, with Sophie taking a small 2 min lead, and Lisa never managed to catch up. With an excellent 2nd place, Sophie Gagnon along with Aurelia Truel who came 4th, have secured well-earned places in the French 2016 World Championship team.

Tec-Maxi Cottin
image by Michel Cottin 

As well as the Tecnica MaXi-Race there’s a Vertical KM, the Femina Race and the childrens' races on the Saturday and the Marathon Race, the Discovery Trail, and day 2 of the XL Compressport on the Sunday. 
Results of the Tecnica MaXi-Race 86 km solo
More results on: http://maxirace.livetrail.net/
1 - Ludovic Pommeret (FR) - Team Hoka - in 8h56'03 ''
2 - Aurelien Collet (FR) - Team Hoka in 9h11'10 ''
3 - Michel Lanne (FR) - Team Salomon in 9h13'04 ''
1 - Andrea Huser (CH) - Team Mammut Trailrunning - in 10h38'40''
2 - Sophie Gagnon (FR) - in 10h58'47''
3 - Lisa Borzani (IT) - in 11h03'46''

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