2013 Transroller: From Pontarlier to Mouthe with the leading packs
A shortened format
Because of the rollerski world cup, the route of the 2013 edition of the Transroller was shortened out of security. The start was at Place d'Arçon, in front of Pontarlier's townhall. As for the arrival, it truncated the intinerary of 3 km, situated at the entrance of Mouthe. No more bucolic loop before the ultimate straight line, the way was too narrow for the skiers to express themselves in optimal conditions. The 700 skating and rollerskiing competitors rushed for a little less that 30 km in total.
The kick-off is given in the shopping street of Pontarlier, in-between clothing shops and Napoleonic buildings. K-ways and umbrellas are out. It is mid-September and the temperatures are around 12-15 °C... Which is not that cold compared to other freezing years of the Transroller, but the light rain is continuous. Rain and drizzle alternate all through the morning, so that some skaters may be glad that the distance is shortened a bit.
Men's race: Beddiaf succeeds Guyader
Nolan Beddiaf (EOSkates) succeeds his team mate Yann Guyader on the highest step of the 2013 Transroller podium. We were expecting the Swiss Skate Team skaters to lay down their terms... and yet they were given a hard time by French skaters, punchier that the previous years! Let's recall that the French had already skated on the previous day. The French takeover in long distance races becomes confirmed with the sharp performance of Chément Chaduc at the uphill slope of Brey...
The attacks are uninterrupted this year despite the slippery ground. One skater's loss is another skater's gain! Some experts at hard races have a field day. As soon as they are out of town, the Swiss Skate Team set the tone in throwing out Nicolas Iten, then Michael Achermann.
Clément Chaduc (Rage Skating) will prove to be the toughest. He breaks away at half race distance with Quentin Giraudeau in his stream. The latter will not manage to keep the pace, and will find himself alone in between the breakaway and the followers. Clément Chadus strongly attacks in the Brey slope, and takes the lead 8 km before the finish line. Behind him, Nolan Beddiaf and all the skaters of the Swiss Skate Team will need to gather all their energy to catch up. Clément had kept a little power in stock and manages to follow the pace when the pack counter attacks. Two kilometers from the arrival, remain in the race: Severin Widmer (Swiss Skate Team), Nicolas Iten (Swiss Skate Team), Nolan Beddiaf (EOSkates), Clément Chaduc (Rage Skating), Aurélien Roumagnac (RPM) and Elton de Souza (RPM).
Nolan Beddiaf takes the initiative to sprint in order not to get trapped on such a wet ground. He manages to keep the lead in front of Nicolas Iten (Swiss Skate Team), the title holder of the two previous editions. Clément Chaduc completes the podium and gets the 1st place in the U20 category. The race is won in 54'08.
“One kilometer from the line I decided to speed up not to get trapped at the arrival. With the wet ground, it was very difficult to get any traction, but I held on. I was in high spirits. I'm just back from the World Championships and I hope that I will be in peak form until my last objective of the season, the Berlin Marathon.”
Women's race: Clémence Halbout at the sprint
5 minutes after the men, let's make way to the women! Long suits and sleeves are welcome. The start signal resonates in Pontarlier and wakes up the onlookers. Downtown, the slippery road is bordered by cobblestone sections. Facing such a demanding weather, 28 out of the 70 registered women give up before the start. The remaining skaters opt for rain wheels.
The pace is quite steady and already sustained. Two packs take shape at the exit of Pontarlier: The Elites take the front with a few speeding ups, leaving the group of the best regional skaters behind.
At Oye-et-Palet, a speeding up of Jessica Gaudesaboos (EOSkates) sets the pack on fire. The first difficulty quickly makes Karine Malle-Urvoy (LOU Roller) and another skater drop back. The relays between the skaters are getting organized and there is a good atmosphere of understanding within the pack.
At Malbuisson, Jessica Gaudesaboos wins the intermediary sprint. Hidden behind a men's pack, she crosses the 17 km line hurtling at high speed.
A roadwork zone spices up the race at the end of the lake: two bumps have been set up in order to diminish speed in the risk area. The zone was highly secured with the blue lights of the police at full blast. No split within the pack. The downhill slope toward Labergement-Sainte-Marie enables some skaters to rest before the Brey uphill slope.
They are only 5 left to tuck into it. The uneven quality of the ground forces the skaters to anticipate their lines. After a few accelerations within the pack, the women turn to three at the top of the slope. There are 8 km remaining to reach the finish line. Cramps get the better of some skaters... While they skate out of the Brey, the sun makes a timid appearance, unveiling the hills and grazing fields. A sign that the race comes to an end soon!
The good understanding in the leading group enables to widen the gap even more. The hilly valley and a few downhill slopes hasten the arrival to Mouthe. At the entrance of the town, Swiss skater Mélanie Rothlisberger (Swiss Skate Team) gets ready for the sprint in getting rid of her flask, Clémence Halbout is there together with Jessica Gaudesaboos. Clémence Halbout (1st) leads the sprint in front of Jessica Gaudesaboos (2nd), the two women skate away in front of Mélanie Rotlisberger (3rd). Clémence Halbout (Windress) wins her first Transroller, two weeks after the World Championships. A new victory for the Avon Club skater (77, France), who has also won multiple national titles this year, in long distance and speed skating.
The French keeps her status of leader of the Marathon French Cup. Jessica Gaudesaboos (EOSkates), the winner of last year's edition, doesn't hide her disappointment, she finishes 2nd in 1:05'42''. On the other hand Swiss Mélanie Rothlisberger gets a great revenge over last year where she was only a whisker away from the podium, she gets the 3rd place in 1:05'44''.Clémence Halbout (Windress)
“I was hoping to win, even if I'm not much good at
hilly courses and with such a rain, it was quite difficult.”
Despite the weather conditions, the 2013 Transroller was another great edition of the event. The only (big) fly in the ointment: the organization mentioned once more the question of the continuation of the event for 2014. The number of participants would have gone on dropping, less than for the other stages of the French Cup indeed, but there is no certainty that the board will accept to repeat the event next year. Once again, hats off to the trans'organization for their involvement into skating. Setting a town-to-town course is always a challenge. The Trans' is a unique stage that should be made durable at all costs.
Women's scratch ranking
|3||Melanie||ROTHLISBERGER||20F||Swiss Skate Team||1:05:44|
|8||Jeanine||ACKERET||SF||Swiss Skate Team||1:11:56|
Men's scratch ranking
|2||Nicolas||ITEN||SH||Swiss Skate Team||0:54:08|
|4||Severin||WIDMER||SH||Swiss Skate Team||0:54:10|
|8||Michael||ACHERMANN||SH||Swiss Skate Team||0:55:06|
LinksBy Vincent Buin et Alfathor
Translation: Chloé Seyres
Photos : rollerenligne.com