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Austrian and Russian score victories in Ice Climbing World Cup
18 Jan 2009
The Ice Climbing World Cup season opened with a successful and adrenaline filled event in Daone, Italy between January 16 and 18. It was the first of four events on this year's World Cup calendar.
Both the men's and women's winners in the Lead discipline, Austria's Markus Bendler and Russia's Maria Tolokonina, proved they were a cut above their competitors.
Finishing second and third behind Bendler in the men's event were two Swiss, Patrick Aufdenblatten and Samuel Anthamatten.
Bendler, who competes for Romania's CAR team, took the lead after the semi-finals. "For me the main challenge is always the qualification, it makes me nervous," he said, adding that he can only relax once he has reached the final.
In the women's competition, Tolokonina showed both speed and strength. She was the only competitor to reach the top of both routes. Runners-up Stephanie Maureau of France and Lucile Horzova of the Czech Republic fell off at the same point on the second route. Maureau took second since she had a faster time on the first route.
The Daone competition walls were prepared by well known route setters Attilio Munari and Massimo da Pozzo. The ice structures offered challenges to all athletes, especially since spurs are no longer allowed and the competitors were required to climb two routes in a short space of time.
Asked how he thought the ice climbing World Cup circuit could be improved, Bendler said he wanted to see it become bigger, with more events and more federations taking part. "I think there should be at least five or six World Cup competitions, and if you ask the other athletes then you will see that they all think this way," he said.
The competitions in Daone kicked off on January 16 with a speed competition, which was held outside the UIAA World Cup. The winners were Maria Tolokonina (Russia) and Pavel Gulyaev (Russia).