After rain in 2016 in the mountain village of Villars, Switzerland, the sun shone bright in 2017 for the world’s best Sport Climbing athletes.
It was the third Speed and first Lead events of the 2017 season and familiar faces were smiling on the podiums at the end of each day.
The Lead finals on the second day again gave the crowd in Switzerland a thrilling show. Slovenian Domen Skofic set the bar high at the start, coolly working through the steep section of the Lead wall and collecting a few holds on the upper panel. Romain Desgranges changed the standard moments later, falling just two holds from the top.
It was smart climbing from the veteran Frenchman, who at one point lowered himself to regroup with a rest and executed technical movements on the last section of the finals route. Ending the round was Fedir Samoilov of Ukraine, competing in his first IFSC World Cup final. No athlete found the top, but Samoilov followed up his inspiring semi-finals performance with another hard effort, edging German star Jan Hojer for Bronze due to countback.
More familiar faces from 2016 stepped onto the stage in the women’s final. Janja Garnbret, Mina Markovic and Anak Verhoeven separated themselves from the field as the only finalists to reach the last volume before the top.
A slopey first hold on the volume kept Verhoeven at bay, while Garnbret and Markovic took a more static approach. Markovic smiled after sticking the move and continued on to slap the final hold. As so often last year, Garnbret shook-out where other athletes struggled and completed the lunge to the final hold, facing the crowd for a crowd-pleasing celebration.
After setting the high point in semi-finals alongside veteran Jain Kim, 16-year-old Laura Rogora of Italy also competed in finals at the first IFSC World Cup of her career.
Watch highlights to the 2017 Villars Lead World Cup below and for a pre-comp report on 2018 visit here.