Sport The insatiable François D’Haene flies over the UTMB for the fourth time

MOUNTAIN At 35 years old, the Rhone runner enters a little more in the history of ultra after having won for the fourth time the UTMB (171 km, 10,000 m of elevation gain)

François D’Haene holds his unprecedented double. Just six weeks after conquering his first Hardrock 100 in Colorado,
the Rhone trail runner once again dominated the competition on
the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (171 km and 10,000 m of elevation gain) completing the event on Saturday in 20:46 and with twelve minutes ahead of Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz. He calmly left two surprising trail runners, the Australian Morgan Pillet, in the lead after 21 km at Saint-Gervais, and the Peruvian Remigio Huaman Quispe, leader at Notre-Dame-de-la-Gorge (35 km), lead the start. race Friday. Then followed a long mano a mano with Jim Walmsley.

Careful as rarely on a UTMB on Friday night, the American was perfectly in the game at Courmayeur (78 km). But the difficult weather conditions in the aftermath, at the Col du Grand-Ferret, got the better of the record holder of the Western States 100, forced to retire after losing 15 places in the 10 km following the exit from the refueling station in Courmayeur.

A rain of abandonments also took place during the night, between the former triple winner of the UTMB Xavier Thévenard (after only 50 km), the American Tim Toffelson, also a contender for the podium, as well as the ephemeral leaders Morgan Pilley and Remigio Huaman Quispe. This new top-flight performance by François D’Haene brings his number of coronations in Chamonix to four. It’s simple, every time the Beaujolais winegrower signs up for the ultimate ultra-trail event (2012, 2014, 2017, 2021), he wins.

Here too, we are faced with an unprecedented feat, since François D’Haene had previously shared three UTMBs with Kilian Jornet and Xavier Thévenard. To see the brutal failure of the latter, we understand a little better the scope of the repeated exploits of François D’Haene, whether in the Alps, in Reunion Island or in the United States.

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