Gaillard sprints to victory at La Foulée Blanche
The first stage of the eight FIS Worldloppet Cup 2016 races is over. 1230 participants skied the 38th edition of La Foulée Blanch in Autrans/FRA. For the first time it was part of the official Long Distance Skiing World Cup of FIS and Worldloppet and hence many elite skiers found their way to Autrans. Today the strongest of them was the Olympic bronze medalist (Sochi 2014), JEAN MARC GAILLARD from France. With an amazing finish sprint he beat TONI LIVERS from Switzerland. 3rd place goes to another French, namely IVAN PERRILLAT-BOITEUX.
In the ladies race AURELIE DABUDYK, again France, was all alone out front and made her way home to first place safely. Second place goes to ELISA BROCARD (ITA) and 3rd place to Switzerland's RAHEL IMOBERDORF.
38TH LA FOULÉE BLANCHE AND ITS WINNERS
Not even 3 tenths of a second separated today's winner Jean Marc Gaillard and Toni Livers who achieved the 2nd place. While JM Gaillard is happy about the victory he didn't expect (he skied the Tour de Ski last week), Livers is also satisfied with the 2nd place: Already after the first round he felt tiered and not strong enough to fight for the first place. With Ivan Perrillat-Boiteux, who arrived at the finish 11 seconds after them, another French stands on the podium. The big favourite of today, Benoit Chauvet, finished in 10th place, right behind the double Olympic gold medalist from Italy, Giorgio Di Centa. Last year's FIS Worldloppet Cup Overall Winner, Petr Novak from Czech Republic, was not in his best shape and also had some troubles with his skis, so he finished in the 20th place.
In the ladies race the big favourite Aurelie Dabudyk, last year's FIS Worldloppet Cup Overall 2nd, took the victory. Three and a half minutes after her Elisa Brocard arrived at the finish one minute before place third place, Rahel Imoberdorf. Even with this big lead during the race Aurelie put big effort into the race and kept a high speed.
Snowfalls during the last days and nights enabled the organizing team to groom a 17 km lap which the athletes had to run twice. With many up and downhill sections resulting in less possibilities to rest it was very tough but also a very fair race. The sprint ranking after the first lap Candide Pralong and Aurelie Dabudyk won.
Aurelie Dabudyk and Jean Marc Gaillard are now the leaders in 2016's ranking of FIS Worldloppet Cup and favourites for the title. But everything is open in the Cup as Gaillard leaves his attendance at the next stage, the Dolomitenlauf open and Livers can not start in Austria because he has to start in next's weeks FIS Worldcup relay for Switzerland because of the injury of Dario Cologna.
Find the whole results and FIS Worldloppet Cup standings on Worldloppet-Web.
ATHLETE'S QUOTES, PICTURES, PRESS CONFERENCE
Find first pictures on the Worldloppet-Website , free to use. Copyright: (c) Worldloppet.
You can also find a video of the Press Conference on our website. First part is in English, second part in French.
Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA), 1st place:
"It is a really good feeling to win a FIS Worldloppet Cup at home in France. I didn't expect it because I competed at Tour de Ski last week but I really enjoyed the track, my skis, the race. It was a hard but a fair race."
Toni Livers (SUI), 2nd place:
"On the first lap I never thought that it would be even possible to fight for the victory, so I am satisfied with the 2nd place. We came here as a team - Team Gel Interim Rossignol - and tried to make a fast race and this we managed to do!"
Aurelie Dabudyk (FRA), 1st place women:
"Allthough I was alone as a woman out there I was able to ski with other groups of men, so it was a very nice race for me. But even if I had a lead of 3 minutes, I tried to give my best and put big effort into the race!"
Adrien Mougel (FRA), 11th place men:
"I have to ski more races. My shape will come if I ski more. Next week at Dolomitenlauf it will be already better I hope!"
Petr Novak (CZE), 20th place, last year overall winner:
"I had to train very hard the last two months because of my shoulder injury during the summer. Maybe my shape is not so good at the moment because of this. Also my skis were not really fast, but normaly in a good shape it doesn't matter."
Dominique Locatelli, Chief of Race La Foulée Blance:
"We are really proud to welcome the FIS Worldloppet Cup and its athletes here. It is the first time for us to have so many foreign athletes here, so it is very interesting for the volunteers, the organizers and the officials!"
The next stages of FIS Worldloppet Cup:
La Transjurasienne/FRA, 14.02.2016
Tartu Maraton/EST, 21.02.2016
Bieg Piastow/POL, 05.03.2016
Engadin Skimarathon/SUI, 13.03.2016
UgraSki marathon/RUS, 02.04.2016