The influx of some of France’s best speed skiers for the Downhill has raised the bar for the Delancey British Alpine Championships in Meribel. Led by top 15 World Cup racer Marie Marchand-Arvier, … twenty of the established and rising stars of the French women’s team took to the start for the first training run. Perfect conditions down the hill that will be used for the World Cup Finals in 2015 greeted the racers and it was slightly surprising that more established World Cup stars did not make the trip to race in these races.
Margot Baillot scored the fastest time in the Women’s training run but was frustrated with a great run and not managing to do the same on higher class races. The training run is just that – a training run. There are no prizes on offer and it is a chance for the racers to learn the course. Some racers choose to ski at full speed while others like to fine tune things.
Best of the British in the Women’s race was Chemmy Alcott in fifth place, just under two seconds off the pace set by Baillot. Alcott attacked the top of the course and then took things gentle through some of the big turns lower down to protect her legs. Cara Brown was second fastest, from starting second last, and Darcie Mead put her recent crashing exploits in downhill to bed with third fastest British racer in the training run.
The perfect conditions had a number of the coaches that have raced the Meribel course in the past chomping at the bit wanting to take part – none more so than Jack Gower’s coach Craig Branch!
With a number of racers, both in the men’s and women’s training run, missing some of the last few turns into the finish, the fastest three finishers in the men’s training run were Dougie Crawford, TJ Baldwin and Jack Gower.
The hard snow at the outset of the morning gave the racers plenty to think about and there was important advice given by Branch when he said that the run was not over until you have left the finish area. One racer, Abbie Macey, did crash spectacularly in the run in to the finish but apart from facial scratches was up and about after the run was completed.
With the weather holding all the aces, the programme for the next few days will be announced at the race meeting on Monday evening.
Action shots from the training run will be on www.racer-ready.ifp3.com
Picture: Marie Marchand-Arvier. Picture Copyright: RACER READY