The European Championship in Lead and Speed took place in Campitello di Fassa, Italy last weekend, kicking off the 2017 lead competition season. Great Britain's Molly Thompson-Smith qualified for the semi-final and finished a highly respectable 14th place. Romain Desgranges of France took his second European Champion title - after winning in Chamonix in 2013 - and Belgian climber Anak Verhoeven impressed with a stunning 15 move lead ahead of Mina Markovic (SLO). The competition was an IFSC Europe event, run by the European Council of the IFSC.
The women's line-up consisted of a mix of younger and older talent, with 16 year-old Laura Rogora - known for her outdoor ascents up to 9a - qualifying for the final on home turf, and 29 year-old Mina Markovic at opposite ends of the finalists' age spectrum. Despite dominating in the qualifying rounds, Slovenian Janja Garnbret suffered a surprising heel slip halfway up the final volume-ridden climb, leaving the door open for Mina Markovic and Jessica Pilz to take 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
In the men's event, 34 year old Frenchman Romain Desgranges ranked top in each round and continued his run of form in the final, making the most of the awkward rests and taking his second European Championship title. Domen Skofic of Slovenia timed out as he was nearing the podium place positions, missing out to Adam Ondra (CZE) and Jakob Schubert (AUT) who placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. Adam Ondra's showmanship perhaps tired him and prevented a higher score, as he enthusiastically waved to the crowd whilst in a kneebar rest.
The first round of the IFSC Lead World Cup takes place in Villars, Switzerland this weekend.
European Championship (L,S) - Campitello di Fassa (ITA) 2017