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Andorra and Saint-Jacques; a double UTMB weekend

It’s UTMB World Series time, with the Trail 100 Andorra and the trail du Saint-Jacques. The last one, we’ll be running ourselves.

The Grand Trail du Saint-Jacques, the classic among the races in Le Puy-en-Velay, is the first race Thomas Cardin will start as the new European Champion trail running. That race was only two weeks ago, so the question is; how fresh are the legs of Cardin?

RELATED: Resting my legs before Grand Trail du Saint-Jacques

French victory ahead

On paper the French Kiprun athlete is the big favourite to win the 80 kilometres (3.200m+) race, which starts in Monistrol d’Allier and finishes in Le Puy-en-Velay. Cardin is the only one on the startline with a UTMB Index above 900 (904). Adrien Michaud, Yoann Stuck, Clément Christen and Frédéric Poumerol (all French) are the other potential winners. The only one that can prevent a French victory looks to be Asmund Skatvedt from Norway.

His compatriot Anna Louise Astad Sorlie is one of the challengers of Anais Dachet (France) in the women’s race. Other contenders for the victory are Melanie Egalon, Caroline Chaverot and Aurore Canino Hemon (all French).

Ultra Trail du Saint-Jacques

The longest race, the ultra, at Trail du Saint-Jacques has also mainly French favourites: Sylvian Court, Alexandre Beraud, Romain Lieux, Samir Tazi, Ivan Scheckler and Jeremie Marin. Fabrice Fauser (Switzerland) is an outsider.

The women’s field of the ultra is more diverse. Laure Paradan (France, Team Sidas Matryx/CAA) is the big favourite. Last year she finished second at the 46k race.

Hannah Derksen (Netherlands, Aucun), Bethan Male (Great Britain, Team Hour 7), Basilia Forster (Italy, XC-run) and Manon Gras (France, AMSL Frejus Athletisme) will be eyeing Paradan and snap the victory away from her as soon as she shows signs of weakness.

d’Haene runs Trail 100 Andorra

The longest race in Andorra is the 105 kilometres race, with 6.375 metres of altitude. Which is slightly less than the planned 6.700 metres of altitude, due to a last minute rerouting. The high level of snow and freezing temperatures in the Pyrenees make it impossible for the athletes to go over the top of Comapedrosa.

Francois d’Haene (France) is the big favourite to win the Trail 100. The French superman, who won UTMB four times, is back after he broke his ankle in 2022 and was diagnosed with two stress fractures in his sacrum in 2023.

With Ben Dhiman (United States), winner of the 100 miles at the Madeira Island Ultra Trail this year, Daniel Jung (Italy), winner of the Ultra Trail Snowdonia 100k, d’Haene will have to fight for his victory.

All eyes on Hartmuth

In the women’s race all eyes will be on Katharina Hartmuth (Germany), the number two of last year’s UTMB and World Mountain and Trail Running Championships. She is up against Claudia Tremps (Spain), Lucie Jasmin (France) and the Chinese ultra runners Yuanyuan Wu and Wenfei Xie.

Tremps showed her good form this year already in Transgrancanaria, where she finished second in the 100 miles race, and at Istria 100, where she finished second in the marathon. Xie won this year’s Mount Yun 100 miles race and finished second in the 9 Dragons Ultra.

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