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Villars Lead World Cup and Canada’s Strength

The second Lead World Cup of the season is underway here in Villars and Team Canada's Victor Baudrand is climbing on form.

Photo by: Lena Drapella

After a week in Innsbruck, the IFSC came to Villars. The Swiss location will facilitate the second Lead World Cup of the season. With the Lead qualification round bringing Canadian Victor Baudrand to his second consecutive Semis, Canadians will want to stay up for this exciting Semi-Finals.

Unlike Boulder, Lead Semi-Finals take 26 people per category. The qualification round offers the climber two opportunities to climb high into the rankings. Although each competitor only climbs once on each route, their cumulative score provides their ultimate ranking for Semi-Final selection.

Alongside this weekend’s Lead World Cup, many athletes climbed and will continue to climb in the Villars Speed World Cup. With the qualification round yesterday, Speed Finals will take place at 3:00 pm EST.

Although every World Cup features many of the World’s strongest athletes, this Villars World Cup has a field featuring far fewer Olympians than spectators have become accustomed to. With that said, the Men’s and Women’s fields still offer many of the best in the world.

Heading first into the Semi-Final round, Italy’s Stefano Ghisolfi will look to secure Gold. He missed out on first by countbacks in Innsbruck. Although Ghisolfi has not qualified for the Olympic Games, he represents one of the strongest climbers on the World Cup circuit.

Alexey Rubstov – photo by Lena Drapella

Following Ghisolfi comes Germany’s Alex Megos. Although the conventionally described powerhouse needs little introduction, he has had a difficult season. With that said, he appears to climb closer to the top of the field with each World Cup. He will become a contender for Finals in Tokyo if he can manage a strong result in Villars.

One of the bigger surprises of the round comes from Team USA’s Colin Duffy. After a strong result on the first route and a top of the second route, the Olympian climbed his way into fourth position heading into Semi-Finals. Although Duffy has received limited attention in his first year on the World Cup Circuit, the young American has the potential to score well among his Olympic peers. His progression remains consistent. Duffy could become the darkhorse for Tokyo.

Japan’s Kokoro Fujii, despite his bouldering background, entered a four way tie for seventh position heading into Semi-Finals. He shares his position with Sean Bailey who has looked on form in these last months. After winning Gold in Salt Lake City, Bailey has jumped to the top of the American team in terms of consistency. He has the strength to win in Switzerland.

Although Canada’s Baudrand did not qualify in the top eight, Villars made his second consecutive Lead World Cup Semi-Finals. Baudrand had an unlucky start last week in the Innsbruck Semi-Final and will hope to place higher tomorrow morning. The Canadian certainly has this capability now that he has one World Cup Semi-Final under his belt.

Natalia Grossman – photo by Lena Drapella

The Women’s field offers a similarly scarce selection of Olympians as the Men’s. Janja Garnbret did decide to climb this weekend becoming the only athlete in either category to top both routes. Naturally, she has become the favourite for Gold both here and in Tokyo.

With that said, Japan’s Momoko Abe has climbed a strong competition as well. Abe topped the second route and came close on the first. A victory for Abe and those that follow her does rely on Garnbret making a mistake. This does not seem likely, however, even Ondra slipped in Finals last week.

In addition to Abe, Team USA’s Natalia Grossman has climbed well in both Boulder and Lead in each of these last competitions. Grossman beat Garnbret in Salt Lake in Boulder by attempts.

While this might not affect the result of tomorrow’s Lead Finals, it does show Grossman to be an extremely talented athlete that could, in future competitions offer steady and consistent competition to the dominating Slovenian. How Grossman competes in Lead tomorrow could show the difference in their abilities. Should Garnbret make a mistake, Grossman’s consistency offers the American an opportunity to achieve first position in the Villars Final.

The Lead Semi-Final round will begin at 3:55 am EST tomorrow morning. You can watch it here.

The Lead Final round will begin at 1:55 pm EST tomorrow afternoon. You can watch it here

The Speed Final round will begin today at 2:55 pm EST. You can watch it here.

Watch Semis

Men advancing to Semi-Finals:

1 : Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA)

2 : Alexander Megos (GER)

3 : Sascha Lehmann (SUI)

4 : Colin Duffy (USA)

5 : Martin Bergant : (SLO)

6 : Paul Jenft (FRA)

7 : Domen Skofic (SLO)

7 : Kokoro Fujii (JPN)

7 : Luka Potocar (SLO)

7 : Sean Bailey (USA)

11 : Satone Yoshida (JPN)

12 : Alberto Ginés López (ESP)

13 : Mathias Posch (AUT)

14 : Dmitrii Fakirianov (RUS)

15 : Hannes Puman (SWE)

15 : Zento Murashita (JPN)

17 : Nimrod Marcus (ISR)

18 : Sohta Amagasa (JPN)

19 : Alberto Gotta (ITA)

19 : Masahiro Higuchi (JPN)

19 : Shuta Tanaka (JPN)

19 : Sebastian Halenke (GER)

23 : Marcello Bombardi (ITA)

24 : Victor Baudrand (CAN)

25 : Nathaniel Coleman (USA)

26 : Nicolas Collin (BEL)

Women Advancing to Semi-Finals

1: Janja Garnbret (SLO)

2: Momoko Abe (JPN)

3: Lucka Rakovec (SLO)

4: Natalia Grossman (USA)

5: Mia Krampl (SLO)

6: Laura Rogara (ITA)

7: Aleksandra Totkova (BUL)

8: Dinara Fakhritdinova (RUS)

9: Salomé Romain (FRA)

10: Julia Chanourdie (FRA)

11: Vita Lukan (SLO)

11: Tjasa Slemensek (SLO)

13: Eva Hammelmüller (AUT)

14: Kyra Condie (USA)

15 : Fanny Gibert (FRA)

16 : Lana Skusek (SLO)

17 : Andrea Kümin (SUI)

18 : Futaba Ito (JPN)

19 : Miu Kakizaki (JPN)

19 : Oriane Bertone (FRA)

21 : Käthe Atkins (GER)

22 : Julia Duffy (USA)

23 : Julia Fiser (AUT)

24 : Martina Demmel (GER)

25 : Cloe Coscoy (USA)

26 : Lucija Tarkus (SLO)

Lead photo: Lena Drapella