The fifth round of the IFSC Lead World Cup took place in Arco, Italy this weekend. In this historic climbing town, the event drew a large audience in sweltering temperatures. Anak Verhoeven achieved her long-awaited first World Cup win with an outstanding performance in the finals, and Romain Desgranges of France won his second ever Gold with consistent climbing over the two days.
The line-up for Saturday night's finals was fairly typical, although a surprise entry from Adam Ondra - his first event this year, in preparation for the upcoming Paris World Championships - added interest. Dmitrii Fakiryanov set an early lead, before Jakob Schubert reached two holds further and moved Dmitrii into second place. Slovenian Domen Skofic - the winner of three out of the four previous rounds - fell lower than expected, five moves below the leader. Despite a strong performance in the semis, Spain's Ramon Julian Puigblanque finished 8th after falling low on the route.
Last out to climb was Romain Desgranges, who qualified in 1st place for the finals and looked calm up until a tricky move below the headwall, which looked set to throw him off-sequence. An astonishing recovery saw Romain reach the same point as Jakob and win on countback to the previous round. This is only Romain's second World Cup win in over 13 years of competing in the senior World Cup circuit.
In the women's final, a lack of Austrian competitors in the final was notable, with three finishing just outside the top eight 8 cut-off, Magdalena Röck (Imst round winner last week) in 9th, Christine Schranz 10th and Katharina Posch 11th. Jain Kim of Korea was out early thanks to a low score in the semi-final round. She surpassed the crux boulder section halfway up the climb with ease and continued to a highpoint of 49+. The crux section saw five women fall in roughly the same area, with only four moves separating 3rd and 7th place. All eyes were once again on Janja Garnbret - winner of the first three rounds - whose 5th place performance in Imst last weekend was somewhat anomalous.
Once again she struggled to dominate in the semis, finishing in 4th place with Anak Verhoeven topping-out in style - a story which was repeated in the finals. Janja was close to the exit of the crux traverse, when she appeared to misjudge a move and fell. Anak was the final woman to climb and rounded off the event with a stunning top of a route which saw only Anak and Jain manage to unlock the crux low down. Despite the roar of the crowd indicating victory, Anak didn't let complacency ruin her chances - a smooth yet determined top-out ensued, earning her a well-deserved first World Cup win after years of consistency in finals.
There were five British competitors in the event. William Bosi placed 33rd, Jim Pope 41st, Connor Byrne 59th, Molly Thompson-Smith 38th and Jen Wood 42nd. The next round is in Xiamen, China from 22nd-22rd October, after the IFSC World Championships in Paris from 14th-18th September.
Watch the finals replay below:
IFSC Climbing Worldcup (L, S) - Arco (ITA) 2016