La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel – Paris – March 15
La Tour Eiffel is a mighty Iron Lady overlooking Paris from the Champ de Mars near the Seine. For the 4th year in a row now it invites some selected athletes to climb the 1665 stairs up to her highest platform. Exactly one for each year she was guarding the French capital – making it 129 lucky climbers this year ! Among these Suzy Walsham(AUS) and Piotr Lobodzinski(POL) both unbeaten three time champions and naturally favourites again.
La Vertical de la Tour Eiffel definitely is one of the most unique races on the Tour. It is a mix between indoor and outdoor, as the athletes race within the structure but are exposed to weather conditions. It is held in one of the world’s most popular landmarks – inseparably connected with Paris. It is the only race held in the highest building of a major town, that is originating from the century before the last. It is the venue of the worldwide first documented stair race way back in 1905 too. And the bibs are printed on shirts all participants are required to wear throughout the race.
The track is structured into three parts corresponding to the user platforms and as always the final one is the most decisive one. At Tour Eiffel this is by far the longest one too and the spiral section near the finish adds an extra challenge to the already tired athletes. In this section it is practically impossible to overtake without “help”. Despite time trial start this time the third ranked female was blocked here a bit, but thankfully without consequences for the podium places in the end. In this 2018 edition wind and partially heavy rain made for an additional chill factor to the already modest temperatures, so that the course records were out of reach.
Weather definitely not brought an advantage for Singapore living Suzy in comparison to her European challengers, but the Australian long time number One in the ranking pushed herself to the limit and she did it again. Her 10:02,7 held runner up Zuzana Krchova(CZE-10:19,46) and third ranked Dominika Wisniewska-Ulfik(POL-10:34,18) on clear distance. Looking at intermediates we see that Suzy started “slow” – she was 4th on level 1 and 2nd on level 2. But in the end 1st on level 3 counts – good timing.
There is a similar story in the male race. Piotr was only 6th on level 1 more than 10 seconds behind Colombian Frank Carreno at this point. On level 2 he was still 2nd to Frank, but at the finish line the reigning World Champion and ranking leader for more than 5 years now should remain the only athlete with a sub8 time. 7:56,67 was a clear win before Christina Riedl(GER – 8:12) and Jakob Mayr(AUT – 8:19,29. 4th was Australian Mark Bourne and Frank finally finished 5th before the fastest home athlete Hugo Altmeyer.
You can relive the action by watching the 3 hour video on our FB presentation, the Live broadcast reached more than 300.000 people. Eco Trail did an outstanding job again organizing this after only 4 years already iconic event !
All pictures: crédit © EcoTrail Organisation