The Tor des Geants
The Tor des Geants is a 330km race that started on September 7th and will end on September 14th (you have 150 hours to complete the race). The race has +/- 24,000m of vertical. Just to be clear, while this race takes place over several days, it is not a stage race. In 2013, 383 of the 706 starters completed the race.
Aside from the distance, the weather on the course can be extremely challenging, as it varies significantly from the low point on the course (300m elevation) to the high point on the course (3300m elevation).
In 2013, Chinese runner Yang Yuan died after falling and hitting his head during a descent in harsh conditions.
Francesca Canepa is an ultra-running star. The 43-year-old Italian has won the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, placed second at UTMB and won the Hong Kong 100km.
She won the Tor des Geants in 2012 and 2013. However, she has been disqualified from this year’s race. Officially, she was disqualified for missing a check point at Les Goilles (Cogne). However, she actually quit the race at the 149km mark after being accused of climbing into a car and cutting the course, which reportedly occurred by Cogne. There were actually similar accusations in 2013. Up to this point, Francesca has dismissed the allegations.
Notably, Francesca was interviewed for iRunFar in March after Transgrancanaria (she finished 2nd), and she stated that she had parted ways with Vibram and was nearly sponsorless (she is still with Montura). When asked by Bryon what her plans were going forward, she stated, “Tor des Geants and then I don’t know because I think that running at this level, it’s really stressful for me.”
I’m sure there is more here and I hope we get to hear Francesca’s side of the story at some point. With that being said, for the moment, I think ultra running has one less star.
Ian Corless posted a great follow-up regarding Francesca that can be found here.
In addition, Francesca posted on Facebook:
These past few days have been the most difficult and absurd of my life and I hope it is not difficult to understand that my thoughts have turned to stone. It is impossible for me to accept that I need to defend myself for something that, not only I never committed, but neither thought could be done by others. To cheat makes no sense in our races and it makes no sense in life. My opinion has always been that if it is necessary to take a shortcut, maybe it would be more appropriate to take the easier route. I have no need for shortcuts, I have never taken them and I do not want to take them in any area of my life. In these two interviews I have stated, not my version of the truth, but the FACTUAL truth. Ayone who has taken my silence as an admission of guilt does not know me. I do not care. The only thing I know is that I will always be able to walk with my head held high and look people in the eye with a clear conscience. Not everyone can do the same. Thanks to everyone who, with a message, a word or even a thought, has chosen to believe in me.