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Team USA Consistent in Villars World Cup

In Villars, the Men's field sees an upset on dynamic moves while the top eight women become more solidified with every passing World Cup.

The Semi-Final round of the Villars World Cup concluded early this morning. Although many Canadians rubbed their eyes as they awaited competitors’ attempts on route, the stimulating round gave back to those avid Lead fans.

Alberto Ginés López – photo by Lena Drapella

The round began with 17-year-old Lucija Tarkus from Slovenia and Nicolas Collin from Belgium. As the lowest qualified athletes from the qualifying round, they were to climb first. Soon to follow came America’s Nathaniel Coleman and Canada’s Victor Baudrand.

Baudrand climbed well moving through the first two low-0percentage moves of the round. Increasingly, route setting on Lead appears to offer not only the same shapes, but a similar style of climbing to the more conventional left-right sequences of lead climbing. Cruxes often revolve around technical hip movement and foot placements, but ultimately the lowest percentage movements for the route reflect competition bouldering.

Baudrand ultimately placed 19 in a field of 26 making Villars his best World Cup. Although the Canadian surely would have liked to make Finals, his steady progression toward the top of the field suggests that he has the capacity to improve even further. Baudrand appeared either tired or unlucky on his failed cross on the Men’s route where he ultimately fell.

As the competition progressed, more and more climbers made their way to the top of the field. Japan’s Masahiro Higuchi struggled to climb high in the qualification round, but managed an excellent performance the semi-final route. He took fourth, although he climbed just as high as Alex Megos.

Megos also had a strong Semi-Final round taking third position just behind front runners Alberto Ginés López and Sean Bailey. The Spanish and American climbers each brought with them enough moves to take them near the top of the route, but ultimately nobody topped.

Janja Garnbret – photo by Lena Drapella

Maintaining his consistency, American Colin Duffy qualified for his first Lead World Cup Finals and took seventh position. If Duffy can maintain over the next month, he will continue to put pressure on the top of the field. Still, Sean Bailey has become America’s most consistent Male competitor.

Perhaps one of the greater surprises of the round came from Italy’s Stefano Ghisolfi. The strong sport climber appeared somewhat uncomfortable by the number of dynamic moves featured on the route. He would ultimately fail to make Finals.

By contrast, the first-place-qualified athlete in the women’s field retained her position and became the only woman to top the route. Slovenian Janja Garnbret maintained focus through the resistance route that would ultimately take her to the top. Her extremely impressive performance is consistent for her ability, but it will become interesting to see how she does in Finals with Laura Rogora so close on her heels. The Italian Olympian fell only a move or two behind the top. She also might be the strongest female outdoor route climber in the world.

Unlike the Men’s field, many of the women that entered Semi-Finals in the top eight retained that position heading into Finals. In fact only Vita Lukan broke into the top eight in Semis, everyone else maintained a position near the top of the field.

With that said, Team USA’s Grossman only squeaked into Finals on countbacks, having tied with two other athletes on her Semi-Final route. With that said, countbacks at least show the American’s consistency and it will be interesting to see how she performs going forward.


Men advancing to Finals:

1 : Alberto Ginés López (ESP)

2 : Sean Bailey (USA)

3 : Alexander Megos (GER)

4 : Masahiro Higuchi (JPN)

5 : Sebastian Halenke : (GER)

6 : Zento Murashita (JPN)

7 : Colin Duffy (USA)

8 : Paul Jenft (FRA)


Women Advancing to Finals

1: Janja Garnbret (SLO)

2: Laura Rogora (ITA)

3: Lucka Rakovec (SLO)

4: Aleksandra Totkova (BUL)

5: Momoko Abe (JPN)

6: Vita Lukan

7: Mia Krampl (SLO)

8: Natalia Grossman (USA)

Featured image of Colin Duffy by Daniel Gajda.