Eritrea’s Petro Mamu lived up to his billing as one of the favourites for the Montee du Grand Ballon, the second WMRA World Cup event of 2015, recording the second-fastest time in history in Willer-sur-Thur on Sunday (14).
Mamu crossed the finish line on the top of the Vosges Mountains almost two minutes in front of fellow Eritrean Azaria Teklay. His winning time of 57:52 was just 16 seconds slower than his time from last year when he improved the course record by almost two minutes.
After 4km of the 13.4km-long course with 1230m elevation gain that also includes 210m of descent, he felt stronger than his closest opponents. Teklay, who also finished second in 2014, was the only one who tried to follow him.
But in the end, Teklay was no match for Mamu. Teklay crossed the line in 59:48, comfortably ahead of Britain’s Andrew Douglas (1:01:03).
“I like the course; it’s not too difficult,” said Mamu. “There are no really steep parts and it’s really runnable, which suits me.”
Emma Clayton was the favourite for the women’s race, but fellow Briton Sarah Tunstall upset the formbook, winning the 8.4km race by more than a minute. Tunstall clocked 50:09 with Clayton taking second place in 51:16.
Hungary’s Timea Merenyi finished third, one position lower than she managed last year.
“I’m surprised I beat Emma,” said Tunstall, who is focusing on longer races this year. “I felt strong, especially in the second part of the course.”
The next stage of the WMRA World Cup will be the Grintovec race in Slovenia at the end of July.
Tomo Sarf (WMRA) for the IAAF