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Trail race: Oscar Perez wins the 3rd edition of Tor des Géants

September 13, 2012

Oscar Perez, 39, team altecsport, can add 1st Tor des Géants 2012 to his list of Ultra-trail victories: Solitary and self-sufficient ascension of l’Aneto, Posets et Monte Perdido (Pyrénées) in less than 24 hours. 2011 : 1st Les Fonts de Xerta; 2nd in the Romeufontaine; 1st Grand Raid des Pyrénées; 1st in the 6666 Occitane; 2012 : 1st in Grand Raid Occitane 2012; 1st in l’Ultra-Trail Puy Mary Aurillac; 1st Ultra-Trail d’Andorre (170km)

I have been following the TDG online since sunday morning. As usual some of the pre-race favourites have dropped out. In a long race like this you are exposed to many potential problems along the course. here is a press release from race organisation published Sept 12:

Release Tor des Géants, 3rd edition, 9-16th September 2012. Courmayeur, Italy.
The 621 trailers who started out with brilliant sunshine continued to be blessed with good weather up until Tuesday evening. Then they got a glimpse of all four seasons within a few hours as rain, storms and snow fell at 2,700 metres, causing trouble until the first man crossed the finish line.

A reprieve is forecast for the end of today and sunny skies for tomorrow, Thursday, which is good news for the hundreds of finishers who are expcted in Courmayeur by Saturday. From the early evening on the first day of the race all the favourites, a small group of a dozen runners,  were in the lead. But this group split after 8 hours. Italian Marco Gazzola pulled out of the race at Valgrisenche (48.6 km) at 8 pm, followed by the Swiss winner of the 2011 edition Jules-Henri Gabioud  who gave up the race in the early hours of Monday morning (1 a.m). at Eaux Rousses (79 km). Both athletes had suffered from stomach problems.

The TDG 2012 participants have faced tough times during the course. Photo credits: TDG 2012.

Grégoire Millet (France), Oscar Perez (Spain) et Christophe Le Saux (France) took immediate advantage of the withdrawls, widening the gap to two hours on their pursuers Pablo Criado Toc (Spain) and Franco Colle (Italy). Grégoire Millet led the race as far as the Cuney hut (256.7 km), letting Oscar Perez and Christophe Le Saux fight it out for second place.

Unlike the other two, Grégoire Millet took little time to rest, stopping for a total of only 3 hrs 15 m as opposed to the 7 hrs 26 m of Le Saux and Perez’ 7 hrs 26 m. At Ollomont, 50 kms from the finish line, Perez pranced ahead, three hours  ahead of the two Frenchmen. Record time and speed for this Spaniard who won the Grand Raid Occitane and both  the Puy Mary Aurillac and’Andorra ultra-trails all in 2012.

Francesca Canepa, from Valle d’Aosta (the area in which the race takes place), is first in the womans category. Photo credits: TDG

He crossed the finish line at 1.56 p.m.terminating a race that lasted for 75 hours and 56 minutes, which means he can add Tor des Géants® 2012 to his list of great achievements, beating Gabioud’s 2011 record by four hours. « This race is really hard, but my head is harder. I knew the times of reference between each control point and my aim was to do better them. I knew I had a good chance of doing well. Over a long distance like this, my strategy is to begin by going pretty fast rather than starting off slowly and then to relax now and then », he declared to an enthusiastic crowd of spectators on his arrival. « My most memorable moment of the race was when a 70-year-old gentleman ran with me for about a kilometre helping me get my hope back and catch up with the leader », he added. Because he had no help, his victory is all the more beautiful.

Last year’s winner Jules Henri Gabioud had to pull out early into the race due to stomach problems. Photo credit: tdg 2012

Grégoire Millet came 2nd, 2H53 behind, and Christophe Le Saux came 3rd, another 1H24 behind. Spaniard Pablo Criado came 4th in 83H37 and Franco Colle (Italy) came 5th in 84H16.

Eye-witness accounts from the pack: Stéphane : « It’s a race for crazy people and I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s outrageous ! »

Olivier  « You have to tell everyone so that the whole world knows that this is the best trail  I’ve ever done within the most amazing environment»

Alain : «I’ve got sore feet, it’s hard to sleep and I’m suffereing the stress of the time barriers but it’s nevertheless an adventure and a journey not to be missed.»

The race was suspended briefly during the night of 12th September due to a landslide which fell near the Barmasse hut at 2am. During the night, a bypass was created and the race was resumed at 9.30am. The seven leaders, all of them men, had already passed before the landslide fell and could continue their race towards Courmayeur.

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