Finals closed in Brixen this afternoon as Yannick Flohé and Maximillian Milne flew in the face of Team Japan. A powerful boulder final prevented any climber from topping more than two problems, showing a sharp contrast to the previous Salt Lake City World Cups.
6 – Meichi Narasaki
The 23-year-old brother of former World Champion Tomoa Narasaki, Meichi Narasaki, finished sixth this afternoon in his second Boulder World Cup of 2022. After taking a sabbatical from international competition in 2019, Narasaki has climbed into finals in both of the competitions he’s chosen to participate in.
Although he finished the day in sixth, the narrow margins of this round placed him within reach of the podium. If he had topped M3, and impossible seeming boulder that only Flohé managed to finish, he would have taken bronze. He came very near the Top after wrestling his way through both lower cruxes, but in the end, had to settle for sixth.
5 – Yoshiyuki Ogata
After medal finishes in each of his last four World Cup appearances, Yoshiyuki Ogata left Brixen empty handed. While he managed the same number of Tops and Zones as his teammate Tomoa, Ogata took too many attempts to Top M1.
This easier opening boulder saw six tops and separated the field by attempts to Top and attempts to Zone from the onset. Ogata came very close to M2 and M4 as well, but struggled with limited friction on M2 and limited power on M4. He earned fifth place. Ogata still leads the World Cup ranking, but Narasaki trails by under 1000 points. Naraski missed the second Salt Lake City World Cup due to sickness which will make it hard for him to catch Ogata in the final two World Cups.
4 – Dohyun Lee
Korean 19-year-old Dohyun lee has experience competing in multiple disciplines on the World Cup stage, but his recent Boulder performances showed improvement over his pre-pandemic results. Today, Lee competed in his first Boulder finals, earning fourth. This result come after back-to-back 10-place finishes in Salt Lake City and Seoul, suggesting that he may become a fixture of future semi-final rosters.
Lee concluded his round with the same number of Tops, Zones, and attempts-to-Top as Narasaki, but they were separated by attempts to Zone.
3 – Tomoa Narasaki
As one of the field’s most gifted athletes, Tomoa Narasaki continues to make medals in his World Cup appearances. Although he has not climbed with Ogata’s consistency this year, he is the second most consistent athlete in the field, and arguably the most technically adept.
Narasaki looked short on power in today’s competition, however, as the boulders outclassed the former Boulder World Champion. With that said, humid conditions made mistakes lethal, and Narasaki did have moments of slip.
2 – Maximillian Milne
But so did all of the athletes. Great Britain’s Max Milne appeared unfazed by the nasty weather, and pulled through hot holds into second position. As the only athlete to flash M1, Milne’s early lead made him difficult to stop on the later boulders.
Milne furthered his lead as the only man to climb the extremely powerful M4. Although most athletes made it to the final move, only Milne had the presence of mind to hop his foot high into the penultimate hold to control the finish. The risky movement paid off and it became Milne’s competition to lose.
Although his shorter height may have helped him on the hop, he struggled on the beginning of M2, racking up attempts. Even if he had managed to secure Zone on M4, his attempts-to-Top would have held him behind Flohé. With that said, Milne’s performance here today came after weeks of near misses. He earned eighth twice, then 12 and 13 in the last four World Cups. He circled the finals field. Today he made his first final, earned his best ranking of the year and scored his first medal by taking silver.
1 – Yannick Flohé
Although Milne’s performance was nothing short of impressive, Yannick Flohé was the story of the competition. After struggling to retain performance across rounds in previous World Cups, Flohé entered Brixen with focus. He climbed stronger, harder, and longer than everyone else in the competition, earning first place in each of the rounds.
This rarely happens in the men’s category and is a testament to the strength of the German climber despite bad conditions. After a heroic ascent of M3 in semi-finals, Flohé once again became the only athlete to Top the untoppable with a brutal ascent of M3 in finals. Coring up hard, Flohé pressed his feet into the slick paint of a textureless volume to transition through a shoulder sequence. He earned his gold medal with such strength that he did not need to climb on M4 to retain his position. Regardless, he finished his competition strong, climbing near the Top of the challenging M4.
Read about Germany’s Hannah Meul and her first silver medal in yesterday’s final.
1 – Yannick Flohé (GER)
2 – Maximillian Milne (GBR)
3 – Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
4 – Dohyun Lee (KOR)
5 – Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
6 – Meichi Narasaki (JPN)
Featured image of Yannick Flohé by Lena Drapella