Briançon World Cup

300+ days of sun a year - so says the Briançon tourist office. Unfortunately, the World Cup consistently hits one of the 65 days that are left. The 2017 final was a rainy affair that saw Romain Degranges and Janja Garnbret cement their status as the man/woman to beat.

Kim, Garbnret and Verhoeven dominate the women's competition
In the women's qualifications and semi finals, it already became visible that Jain Kim, Anak Verhoeven and Janja Garnbret are currently sitting a cut above the rest of the field, in which Julia Chanourdie, Jessica Pilz and Mina Markovic are the closest to catching up with the top 3. While Markovic has had a steady decline in performance since her stand-out results in Campitello di Fassa (ECH) and Villars (WC), Chanourdie and Pilz have been hitting ranks 3, 4 and 5 very consistently. Chanourdie received a visible confidence boost in form of a bronze medal at the World Games and managed her best-ever World Cup result, placing 4th. Pilz took consistency to a level she surely isn't enjoying, placing 5th four times in a row. Kim, Verhoeven and Garnbret showed no trouble on the first sequence of "stopper" moves, where the others had fallen, and were separated just below to the top. 
Kim fell early in the final bit. Verhoeven came out and looked relatively fresh where Kim had lost her stamina. She fatefully decided to clip the last quickdraw before falling off a move later. While Garnbret was climbing, Verhoeven told the reporters that she should not have clipped and that this mishap is the only thing she regrets, because it could cost her the victory. Sure enough, Garnbret did not clip on that spot, got in a move more than Verhoeven, and secured the victory. Once Verhoeven is done with competing, she can directly move into the commentator's box. For Garnbret, this marked her third World Cup victory in her third event of this lead season. 

Another tough blow for Halenke, Ghisolfi finally hits his stride.
The men's final was so much harder than anything else this season that it was like watching a different discipline. From move one, one could feel the surprise/shock on every athlete's movement. It was as if they wondered what they had gotten into. Tenuous moves in humid conditions created high suspense from the first hold upwards. The more the setting style changes to bouldery sequences, and the faster you have to climb, the better it would be for people like Sean Mccoll, who have their strengths in short routes. But after a weak bouldering season, his second podium in 2017 (after the World Games) comes somewhat unexpected. The other side of the medal is that if you are not 100% confident, there is no time to find your rhythm on these routes. This became obvious when Sebastian Halenke, who is having a horror season, fell off after only a few moves of hesitant, bad climbing. After his performance in semi-finals, it was as if he'd been replaced by a clone who lacked his climbing prowess altogether. Another one who hadn't hit his stride this year is Stefano Ghisolfi. He has a nagging shoulder injury, but had reported great pre-season shape. The Italian then started the season on a bad note, when he missed finals at the European Championships in his home country. Villars and Chamonix didn't go much better, even though in some rounds, he showed that he isn't too far off. In Briançon, he finally managed to first squeeze into finals, and then took the opportunity to secure his first medal in 2017.

Romain Desgranges came out last in finals and in one word, crushed. He continues his late blooming as if it was bound to come that way. 14 years after his first World Cup ( ! 14 years ago, they were called UIAA World Cups and Janja Garnbret was 4 years old), he is having the season of a lifetime. Even though his enormous stamina and aptitude on small crimps are not strengths that overlap with the "new" style, he dominates the season. The only two climbers who could arguably change the picture are Jakob Schubert, Adam Ondra.  At the only event this year, where Schubert, Ondra and Desgranges competed together, the latter had the upper hand, being better prepared. Ondra and Schubert are both going to compete in Arco in late August. 



Results - Men

2 MCCOLL Sean CAN 39
3 GHISOLFI Stefano ITA 35
4 HIGUCHI Masahiro JPN 29
5 BAILEY Sean USA 28+
6 BOMBARDI Marcello ITA 27
7 SHIMATANI Naoki JPN 22.5
8 HALENKE Sebastian GER 13+

Results - Women

1 GARNBRET Janja SLO 39+
3 KIM Jain KOR 36+
5 PILZ Jessica AUT 26+
6 HAYES Margo USA 26+
7 ROMAIN Salomé FRA 26+


2000 Griffe





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