21st edition presented to the media



21st edition presented to the media

The organising committee of the Millet Tour du Rutor Extrême and volunteers f rom the Corrado Gex Ski Club raised the curtain on the 21st edition of Italy’s most technical and spectacular ski mountaineering race with a press conference held this morning at the Planibel Hotel & Residence in La Thuile.

The event, designed on the Aosta Valley peaks of La Thuile, Valgrisenche, and Arvier, will be staged from 22nd to 24th March in the usual format of teams of two for the overall sector and individually for the youth categories; for the latter, there will be ad hoc routes specially designed. Double validity for the TDR: it will be the only Italian stage of the prestigious La Grande Course circuit in 2024 and the final round of the FISI “Coppa Italia”. With only a few days to go before registration closes (deadline for the absolute sector Monday 11th March at midnight, Monday 18th for the youth category) over 130 teams from 14 different nations are registered.

At the conference table, moderated by the official voice of Italian ski mountaineering Silvano Gadin, speakers were in order: Renzo Testolin (President of the Autonomous Region of Aosta Valley), Giulio Grosjacques (Tourism and Sport Councillor of the Autonomous Region of Aosta Valley), Mathieu Ferraris (Mayor of La Thuile), Marco Mosso (President of the Asiva Committee). After the traditional greetings, the presentation got underway with race director Marco Camandona: “Barring any last-minute surprises, we will have excellent coverage of snow and extraordinary conditions for the three stages,” he began. “We are working to offer the athletes a technical, nervous, spectacular and mountaineering TDR with a first day that looks back to the past and partly recalls the historic crossing of the Rutor Glacier, one of the largest in Aosta Valley. For us, it will be a source of pride to follow in the footsteps of the 1933 edition, obviously with a race reviewed in a modern key. It will be an adventure for us organisers and an adventure for the athletes. We will venture into the ‘wild’ side of Mont Blanc. We will find huge unspoilt valleys with significant elevation gains that will take us over 3000 m of altitude. It will be a race for great champions, but also for well-trained and prepared amateurs. The desire is to bring as many pairs as possible to the finish line. This means that, weather permitting, the time barriers will be reset”. As always, in true ‘TDR Style’, the 21st edition will also have an eye on the young, the non-competitive and the environment “The youth one , for us, is not and will never be a side race. Youths are the future and that is why we have always offered them courses of different lengths and provided them with maximum dedication. Starting this year, with the support of the mountain guides, on Sunday we will also support non-competitive riders at high altitudes. “Team 85”, which nicely refers to the width of touring skis, is a lovely project to bring more and more people closer to our world, which is getting important feedback. Millet Tour du Rutor Extrême is not only sport, but also the enhancement and protection of our territory. Every year we propose a minimal and reusable grooming. When all the competitors pass through, all that will remain will be the trace left by their skis. Organising such a logistically complicated three-day event would obviously not be possible without the precious support of the more than 150 volunteers and without the sponsorship of public bodies and private companies: “The volunteers, with their passion and professionalism, have always been the added value of the TDR,” continued Camandona. I will never tire of thanking them and those who support us, first and foremost the main sponsor Millet. Having a world-famous brand by our side is a source of pride and satisfaction for us. My heartfelt thanks also go to the local public authorities and all the private companies. We are experiencing difficult times from an economic point of view, but nevertheless many people continue to believe in us. This means that in these years we have worked well and have built up confidence at an international level’.

On the other hand, Roger Bovard, route director, spoke of numbers and courses: “As Marco said, all the conditions are set for a sensational 21st edition. Awaiting the athletes will be 7000 metres of positive elevation gain, 30 set-up changes, 105 km of routes, 60 km of climbs, 45 km of free ride descents, 6 ridges and couloirs with sections over 3000 metres. We will have three ‘old style’ great stages presented under a modern touch”.

Day one, the great crossover: “The opening race will start from the slopes of La Thuile and finish in Valgrisenche. It will be a “great course” with no less than 2400 m of ascent that will, partially, retrace the route of 1933; a spectacular crossover on one of the largest glaciers in Aosta Valley and the Alps. Trust me, it’s going to be a memorable day with a real final plunge’.

Day two, into the wild: “Valgrisenche and Alpe Vielle are names that are now familiar even to Ski mountaineers outside our valley. This second stage, compared to the first one, will be more modern and nervous with lots of ascents, descents, couloirs, set-up changes and alpine ridge sections. All the ingredients for a great and memorable day in the real La Grande Course style”. Day Three, the grand finale: “The Planaval stage is a classic, the worthy finale that everyone expects with a spectacular loop around the Château-Blanc. Of course, the 2000m final descent is also planned.

Great ski mountaineering, high altitude, competitiveness, promotion of the territory and its enogastronomic excellence will be the mix of a memorable three days courses.