Janja Garnbret and Jakob Schubert began the 2018 Lead season like they ended 2017, and Anouck Jaubert and Aleksandr Shikov improved their positioning in the Speed season rankings this weekend in Villars.
The 4th showdown of the 2018 Speed season took place under the lights on Friday in Villars, Switzerland. YiLing Song of China took advantage of a slip from Iuliia Kaplina (RUS) to enter the semi-final with Victoire Andrier, Jaubert and Mariia Krasavina of Russia. Jaubert bested the 17-year-old to face-off in the big final against French teammate Andrier, earning the best finish of her IFSC World Cup career. Holding the fastest time of the day (7.83s), Jaubert again stopped the clock in under 8 seconds to claim her second consecutive gold medal and third victory of the season. In the small final, Krasavina raced to her 26th podium.
In the men’s bracket, Russian teammates Shikov and Aleksandr Shilov also climbed side-by-side in the big final after knocking out former world record holder Danyil Boldyrev (UKR) and fastest man of the day (5.80s) Bassa Mawem of France. Shikov stumbled early, but he kept his composure and won the gold medal in an exciting big final after a misstep from Shilov. The victory improved Shikov’s positioning in the season rankings, now only 10 points behind Dmitrii Timofeev (RUS) who finished in 11th place in Villars. In the small final, Boldyrev held on for his 16th podium.
Garnbret of Slovenia and Austria’s Schubert closed out the 2017 Lead season in Kranj with gold medals, and both star athletes picked up where they left off on Saturday night. The men’s final route curved across the steep Lead wall, and most athletes took advantage of a heel-hook rest before attacking large pinches defending the headwall. 2017 runner-up Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA) began the round by climbing into the first technical moves of the final section for a provisional lead. Reigning Combined season champion Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) matched the mark for a Bronze medal on countback to qualifications. The men neither finalist could catch were 2017 season champion Romain Desgranges (FRA) and Schubert. Desgranges dominated the static moves preceding the final lunge, and Schubert fell leaping to the same high point to win the Lead debut of 2018 on countback to semi-finals.
The women’s Lead final featured dynamic moves halfway up the wall, followed by precise positioning on tiny crimps leading into the upper panel. Manon Hily (FRA) set the high point in her first IFSC World Cup final before three athletes improved the mark. Jain Kim (KOR) executed a figure four seen in her Bouldering to surpass the dynamic section and fall at the final crimp, controlled by Jessica Pilz (AUT) for Bronze. The final athlete to climb in Villars, Garnbret completed a 180-spin, dangling by one arm, followed by a pull-up without feet. The 2017 Lead and Combined season champion calmly chalked-up amidst the challenging crimps in the last section and fell at the Top for the victory.
Song’s 4th place matches the best result at an IFSC World Cup this season by a Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 qualified athlete. Vita Lukan (SLO) and Shuta Tanaka (JPN) excelled in Lead, finishing just short of the finals cut in 9th and 12th place. Combined world champion Elena Krasovskaia (RUS) also climbed.
Results, replays, highlights, photos and more can be found on the Villars event page.