Yesterday, after a months-long departure from the series, Adam Ondra returned to the World Cup stage. Ondra said he had not felt the excitement required to compete for some time. His time away, it seemed earned him consistency for he has not fallen in Chamonix.
The Chamonix setting team maintained the high-top format we saw in recent Boulder and Lead World Cups. This format drew ties amongst the top of the field. In the men’s category, the best 11 men earned the same score with two tops. In the women’s category, five women topped both qualification routes.
The lack of separation in either category repeats a problem we saw at Innsbruck: separation. Separation in lead requires a difference in results between rounds. Otherwise, separation occurs in finals by time to high point. Although it may seem unlikely that athletes would tie three times in a row, it happened in the men’s and women’s category during the Series opener.
Semi-Finals – Poor Separation
In the men’s field, separation occurred amongst three of the nine men heading to finals. The bottom four athletes each tied in both semis and qualifiers. As a result, six men may be separated by time to high point. At the top of the field Ondra and Bailey will hope to outpace one another should they both Top the final route. Although Luka Potocar and Satone Yoshida also tied the leaders with a top of the semi-final route, they were separated by countbacks after failing to Top both qualification routes.
Ondra’s performance harks of Garnbret’s recent return to World Cup stage in terms of dominance and consistency. He has yet to fall in this competition. Bailey, by comparison, appears to be having his best competition of the year.
Semi-finals – Narrow Margins for Podium
In the women’s category, only Natalia Grossman and Janja Garnbret remained tied over the qualifying rounds. Grossman has improved dramatically since Innsbruck and Villars, now finding consistency at the top of the field.
After struggling to attain the necessary endurance to make the Top of the route, it appears Grossman has transitioned into Lead without having to take time away from competition. The final route will have to challenge the finalists to create separation amongst the top women in the category.
Joining Grossman and Garnbret, American Brooke Raboutou, Japan’s Natsuki Tanii, Korea’s Chaehyun Seo, and Italy’s Laura Rogora will all hold places of contention for the podium. In Boulder, the results can seem clear cut, but in Lead, Garnbret is a favourite among many leaders.
Korea’s Chaehyun Seo is a former World Champion, capable of keeping up with Garnbret. She out climbed Garnbret in 2019. With that said, Garnbret has never been in such good form. She seems difficult to shake.
Grossman will, despite her potency over this competition, climb as today’s darkhorse. She has the power to do all of the moves, the question will instead became whether she can hang on long enough to make the Top.
Lead finals begins at 2:25pm EST.
Women Advancing to Finals
1 – Janja Garnbret (SLO)
1 – Natalia Grossman (USA)
3 – Natsuki Tanii (JPN)
4 – Laura Rogora (ITA)
5 – Chaehyun Seo (KOR)
5 – Brooke Raboutou (USA)
7 – Jessica Pilz (AUT)
8 – Mia Krampl (SLO)
Men Advancing to Finals
1 – Adam Ondra (CZE)
1 – Sean Bailey (USA)
3 – Luka Potocar (SLO)
4 – Satone Yoshida (JPN)
5 – Sam Avezou (FRA)
6 – Hamish McArthur (GBR)
6 – Yannick Flohé (GER)
6 – Taisei Homma (JPN)
6 – Sascha Lehmann (SUI)
Featured image of Janja Ganrbret by Lena Drapella.