Once again, L’Echappée Belle kept all its promises and provided the 1718 starters and 600 volunteers a great celebration in the heart of Belledonne.
Departure from L’Echappée Belle Intégrale du Domaine de Vizille – Photo: Bruno Lavit
531 runners set off on Friday August 20 from the Domaine de Vizille by the light of their headlamps, ready to do battle with the 149km and 11400m elevation gain of this full crossing of the Belledonne massif. They were joined on Saturday by the competitors of the Traversée Nord (84km / 6140m vertical gain) and the Parcours des Crêtes (62km / 4700m vertical gain). Only half of them managed to reach the finish line at Aiguebelle and were able to ring the now legendary bell. Like every year, the Echappée Belle, a difficult and extraordinary race, has not failed in its reputation. Very tough but also very beautiful, the course described as spectacular by the participants offered them incredible panoramas over the magnificent landscapes of Belledonne during this particularly sunny 9th edition. The race took place in a warm and friendly atmosphere with volunteers competing in energy and creativity to welcome and support the runners at the refreshments and mountain stations.
This Echappée Belle 2021 was also marked by a new event: the Skyrace du Rocher Blanc, 21km and 2000m Vertical gain, which knew how to find and conquer its participants on the first edition. “It’s a great course, you really have to do it, this race!” said winner Lucas Dupuy on the finish line in Fond-de-France.
Thibault Marquet winner of the Échappée Belle Integral 2021 in 25h12’03
Thibault Marquet, Echappée Belle Intégrale winner – Photo: Pierre Jayet
It is with visible emotion that Thibault Marquet crossed the finish line at Aiguebelle on Saturday morning after 25:12:03 of racing. He thus posted the second fastest time in the history of L’Echappée Belle, just behind François d’Haene (23:55:11 in 2019). From the start, Thibault Marquet took the lead of the race with Sangé Sherpa and never let go, widening the gap with his pursuers. Unfortunately, his traveling companion was forced to give up at Val Palouse “I managed the race from start to finish without much slack. It went really well ”he admitted on arrival. More than 2 hours behind him, Edouard Laudier, winner of the Parcours des crêtes in 2019 (57km) and the Traversée Nord in 2020 (87km), took second place in 27:31:17. A great performance for his first ultra experience. Although he was dreaming of a victory, his goal was to finish first, so finishing 2nd is a great victory for him. The Portuguese Guilherme Lourenço completes this beautiful podium, happy with his race and his performance on an unprecedented course for him: “I did not expect to finish on the podium because it was difficult to prepare for L’Echappée Belle, we don’t have this type of mountains in Portugal. ”
It was a very good field for the women too with the Spaniard Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros Garrote, double winner of the Tor des Géants who flew over the race and completed this Escape in 32h33’07 ”(16th overall). Sandrine Beranger, double winner of L’Echappée Belle (2013 and 2018) is this time on the second step of the podium, very happy with her race given the high level of this edition. She crossed the finish line in 33:12:33 followed by Irina Malejonock (36:43:05) satisfied to have get to the end herself to ring the bell in Aiguebelle.
An emotional finish for the first duo to complete the 149km in 32h39’15. Florian Passaquay and “his ultra big brother” Jean-Marc Billet cross the line with their children, happy to have shared this adventure together.
Nicolas Gourdon wins on the new route of the Traversée Nord
The new route of the Traversée Nord dazzled the 511 participants who started from Fond-de-France. An even more beautiful course with the succession of lakes, white, black and icy, and even harder with the series of passes of Valloire (2751m), Comberousse (2669m) and Morétan (2503m).
After leading the race, Nicolas Gourdon climbed to the top step of the podium followed by Ludovic Chevallier and Arnaud Lesprillier. In the female category, it was Charlotte Taquet who won in 17:11:40 just ahead of Caroline Holveck (17:14:53) and Caroline Paulus (17:56:15).
The Parcours des crêtes, a very demanding course
The smaller format of L’Échappée Belle once again surprised its participants with its technicality and commitment. Lots of scree on this 62km, but a reward worthy of the effort with the ascent of Pointe Rognier and its breathtaking panorama.
The runners set off from the heart of the village of Allevard to the sound of the Mister New Orleans marching band in the early morning. 8:30 a.m., that’s how long it took for Robin Guillermou to rally Aiguebelle ahead of Maxime Mlynarski (9:24:33) and Ludovic Collomb (9:31:39).
On the women’s side, Esther Eustache crossed the line after 10:17:12 in the race in first position (9th overall) ahead of Anaïs Macian (10:32:43). 30th at Pointe Rognier Mathilde Talou-Derible turned back the race to finish on the 3rd step of the podium in 10:53:51.
Pointe Rognier – Photo : Matthieu Rieux
Great success for this first edition of the Skyrace du Rocher Blanc
Great novelty for this 2021 edition, the Skyrace du Rocher Blanc has found its audience and won over its participants. Very strong, a concentrate of Belledonne, for this race which remains in the DNA of the Echappée Belle events.
135 runners including 35 women, selected on file for their mountain experience and their motivation, set off on Friday August 20 at 9 a.m. from Fond-de-France for the ascent of the Rocher Blanc: 21 km with 2000 meters of elevation gain, a summit at over 2900m and pebbles! For the men, the battle was close between Lucas Dupuy and Nicolas Martin, who finished respectively first (2h38’00) and second (2h38’06) with barely 6 seconds! Paul Burette completed the podium with a time of 2:44:57.
Among the women, it is Manon Benoît who adds to her fine track record a victory in this first edition of the Skyrace and crosses the finish line in 3:07:06, ahead of Léna Bonnel (3:14:03) of the Dynafit team and Anne -Cécile Thévenot (3h21’57).
The large Echappée Belle family once again delighted the runners
“L’Echappée Belle”, a concentrate of pebbles, lakes, breathtaking landscapes but also happiness. The secret that makes this race unique: the volunteers! “I loved the night, it was party everywhere.” explains Irina (3rd 149km). A mirror ball at the Gleyzin, songs at the Col Morétan, a welcome by the alphorn at the Col de la Valloire, encouragement and little attentions … in the heart of Belledonne for the most great pleasure for runners!
For 9 years now, the Belledonne massif has lived to the rhythm of L’Echappée Belle for a weekend. See you next year to celebrate this first decade!
The alphorn at the Valloire pass – Photo: Matthieu Rieux
2- Nicolas MARTIN 02:38:06
3- Paul BURETTE 02:44:57
Femme1- Manon BENOIT 03:07:06
2- Léna BONNEL 03:14:03
3- Anne Cécile THÉVENOT 03:21:57
2050 inscrits 1718 partants : – 531 Intégrale – 41 duos – 511 Traversée Nord – 500 Parcours des crêtes – 135 Skyrace
– Intégrale 51%
– Traversée Nord 64%
– Parcours des Crêtes 72%