After a spectacular performance from climbers and route setters alike, the first Lead World Cup of 2021 came to an end. Innsbruck has delivered.
The Final round of competition began with the Women’s category. Japan’s Miho Nonaka qualified for Finals in eighth, climbing first as a result. Although the Olympian did make it up half of the route, she fell earlier than her teammate Akiyo Noguchi whose strong performance took her to the podium.
Climbing with precision, Noguchi showed early on that a low-placed qualification does not decide the result. While Noguchi did climb well, she appeared to either power out or pump out on the third section of the route.
Other notable names took the stage including Italy’s Laura Rogara. Rogara climbed well through the qualification and semi-final rounds of competition, but lost herself on the first crux of the Final route. The two-handed dyno required athletes to power up and showed coordination on a Lead route. Such moves will likely feature in Tokyo as they offer Speed specialists the opportunity to use their legs, while simultaneously challenging boulderers and lead climbers.
America’s Brooke Raboutou briefly stole the show climbing well past Noguchi’s highpoint before falling on the first of the larger sloper features in the last moves of the route. Raboutou’s performance, both here and in bouldering, speak volumes for the young American.
Although she took first position with her attempt, Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret approached the climb with extreme confidence. Even on the pads, the Slovenian appeared cool and collected. In a stunning bout of strength, Garnbret climbed and sent the Final route in Innsbruck.
Although this exciting round featured several unique cruxes, the results were somewhat predictable. The Men’s results offered a roller coaster composed of unpredictable twists and turns.
Italy’s Stefano Ghisolfi first made it to the mats. Stepping up, the 5.15c outdoor lead climber took the route to the second-to-last hold. While the route appeared to offer a tricky heel hook, the majority of the climbing appeared to come naturally to the Italian. Ghisolfi fell on the final dyno after a slower attempt than the move required.
As the lowest qualified athlete, Ghisolfi came out first. Although he has become one of the World’s strongest climbers, seeing the lowest qualified nearly top made the rest of the round uncertain.
As athletes entered the field, many climbed high, but all fell well below Ghisolfi’s high point. Sascha Lehman and Masahiro Higuchi each climbed high, making it through the heel hook without having the ability to continue. Lehman would beat out Higuchi to third position due to countbacks
Austria’s Jakob Schubert would break this trend, reading the heel hook and moving through to match Ghisolfi’s high point. Due to countbacks, Schubert would take first from the Italian.
After Schubert fell, there remained two climbers that had yet to take the field. Spanish climber Alberto Ginés López would climb well but fell within two moves over the field’s majority. The audience awaited Ondra.
Czech climber Adam Ondra took to the field having qualified for Semis and Finals in first position. Although he started off well, Ondra quickly ran into complications. After nearly dropping the move to the jug, Ondra appeared unsteady. While he tried to rest and get back his strength, it appeared that the mistake shook his confidence.
The Czech Champion would have another footslip at move 17, well below the rest of the field. His fall landed him in eighth position in Innsbruck.
This surprising result goes to show that even the strongest Lead climber can make mistakes. It will be interesting to see how things play out in Tokyo when everyone has their mind on the prize.
Women: Final Result
1 : Janja Garnbret (SLO)
2 : Brooke Raboutou (USA)
3 : Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
4 : Viktoriia Meshkova (RUS)
5 : Miho Nonaka (JPN)
6 : Vita Lukan (SLO)
7 : Laura Rogara (ITA)
8 : Lucka Rakovec (SLO)
Men: Final Result
1 : Jakob Schubert (AUT)
2 : Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA)
3 : Sascha Lehmann (SUI)
4 : Masahiro Higuchi (JPN)
5 : Alberto Ginés López (ESP)
6 : Alex Megos (GER)
7 : Luka Potocar (SLO)
8 : Adam Ondra (CZE)
Featured Image of Jakob Schubert by Jan Virt