Even though it has also rained a lot during the last days in the French Jura, the organisers of the 35th edition of La Transjurassienne are happy to announce that the competition will be held on the original track! There might only be some slight changes in the last couple of kilometres, but this will be decided in the middle of the week as a lot of new snow and colder temperatures are announced for the coming days. At the moment, all 76km of the race track can be skied so everybody arriving a couple of days before the race can already enjoy skiing on the mystic tracks of La Transjurassienne.
The FIS Marathon Cup at La Transjurassienne has a special feature: it has two lengths: The men race the 76km long version whereas the women “only” have 57km to ski. However, as La Transjurassienne is one of the most demanding races of the circuit, the competition will surely not be a piece of cake for the competitors.
One of the specialities of La Transjurassienne is surely the mystic track, which starts for the elite men and all those skiing the 76km FT race, in Lamoura. From there, the track takes the racers into the direction of Prémanon. At the National Nordic Ski Centre, where Olympic and World Champions like Jason Lamy Chappuis or Martin Fourcade train, the track continuous into the direction Les Rousses where it passes the old fort of the same name before it comes to the famous “Montée de l'opticien” which brings a real “Tour de France” atmosphere to long distance skiing. Packed with spectaors the short but steep climb in the heart of the village will resemble the Col de la Madelaine of a Tour de France stage where the cheering crowd can basically touch the racers and push them up the climb. A fantastic and exciting experience for everyone – not only for the elite skiers but for everyone as also the last skier will be loudly cheered up the hill. This phenomenal support can be found wherever the track passes through the Jura mountains. All people living in the area are living for the Nordic sport and every family has at least one member who skis the “Transju”. In the calendar of the locals, the race days of La Transjurassienne are THE main event of the winter! Continuing to Bois d'Amont and further into Switzerland the track passes the lake of Les Rousses. After a short interlude in Switzerland, the track turns back to France where it climbs up to the Risoux forest in Bois d'Amont. Descending on the other side of the Risoux the track soon passes the frontier to the département Doubs. In Chaux-Neuve it passes the well known jumping hills where each year a Nordic Combined World Cup is carried out in January. From there, it's not far to the finish in Mouthe, the town of Fabrice Guy, the Olympic Champion in Nordic Combined of 1992 in Albertville (FRA). And here, the famous “Bell of la Transjurassienne” is already waiting for the winner! For the elite women and all those who wish to ski the 57km race, the competition starts in Les Rousses, at the middle school. The track starts into the direction of the lake of Les Rousses where it soon joins the track of the 76km long race. From there, both races have the same track.
On Saturday, it's already time for the classic races. The 50km long Transjurassienne in classic technique starts, like the 57km skating race of the women on Sunday, at the middle school in Les Rousses and finishes as all the races in Mouthe.
THE RACERS – WHO IS ON THE START LIST
As the last FIS Marathon Cup in skating technique, the König-Ludwig-Lauf (GER), had to be cancelled due to bad weather, the skating specialists are awaiting eagerly La Transjurassienne in order to gain some more of the precious points for the overall FIS Marathon Cup raking to step up against their contestants from the classic technique side.
On the men's side, last year's podium will be fully present and Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR) will surely try everything to win again. It would be his third win after 2009 and 2012. However, the strong Italians, and here especially Sergio Bonaldi, last year's second and winner of the Dolomitenlauf in January, and Fabio Santus, second in 2011, will be the men to beat. Martin Koukal (CZE), third last last year, will also do everything to step on a higher podium place this year. But, on French soil, never forget the French! Especially Benoit Chauvet will try to finish in front of everybody like he did in 2011 when he could hang the big “Bell of La Transjurassienne” around his neck.
On the women's side, Valentina Shevchenko (URK) will also try to win another bell, as she could already retain one last year. However, Antonella Confortola (ITA), Ursina Badilatti (SUI) who still recovers from a flue, Stephanie Santer (ITA) and Tatiana Manimaa (EST), the third from last year's edition, are all highly motivated to get the bell themselves. It will surely be a very interesting race and also here, one should not forget the French: Celia Bourgeois and Elodie Bourgeois-Pin, both members of the French National Ski Team until just recently, have already shown that they are still up for a victory in a long distance race!
IMPORTANT DATES & INFORMATION:
February 10: La Transjurassienne (FRA) - 6th FIS Marathon Cup 2012-13 / 76km / 57km skating
08:30am: start of the 76km long La Transjurasienne in Lamoura (FRA), 09:15am: start of the 57km long Transjurassienne in Les Rousses (FRA).
Finish: in Mouthe (FRA)
Winners in 2012:
Men: 1st Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR), 2nd Sergio Bonaldi (ITA), 3rd Martin Koukal (CZE),
Women: 1st Valentina Shevchenko (UKR), 2nd Stephanie Santer (ITA), 3rd Tatiana Manimaa (EST)
More information on the race:
In general: http://www.transjurassienne.com
Track information: http://www.transjurassienne.com/races/-76km-ft/presentation-2-289.htm
Next FIS Marathon Cup: February 17 – Tartu Maraton (EST), 50km classic technique