The third round of the IFSC Lead World Cup took place in Briançon, France last weekend. GB Team members Molly Thompson-Smith and Jim Pope both reached semi-finals and achieved their best ever World Cup result, finishing 11th and 16th respectively, in what was Jim's first semi-final at senior level. Slovenia's Janja Garnbret and Romain Desgranges of France repeated their performance in Villars to reign supreme once again in front a record-breaking crowd of spectators, despite heavy rain delaying the finals schedule.
Following the routesetting issues experienced in Chamonix, the team pulled out all the stops to ensure that the routes were hard and sustained in order to split the groups. In the men's event, a bouldery final route featuring spectacular jumps and a 'Rose' cross-through appealed to Canadian Sean McColl (CAN) and Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA). However, after dominating each earlier stage of the competition, it was Romain Desgranges who appeared most at ease on the multiple boulder cruxes, finishing two moves further than Sean and jumping with joy upon being told that he'd won.
Marcello Bombardi qualified for his second senior final after his win in Chamonix, showing newfound confidence after standing on the top step of the podium. German Sebastian Halenke qualified in 2nd place for the final, but nerves got the better of him and a tense climb up the first part of the route cost him energy and resulted in an 8th place.
In the women's final, concerns were raised that the three top climbers - Janja Garnbret (SLO), Anak Verhoeven (BEL) and Jain Kim (KOR) - were yet to be split after the two qualifier and semi-final routes. In response, the routesetters created an interesting line with powerful cruxes, which saw 9a+ climber Margo Hayes (USA) take an early lead in her first senior final. Julia Chanourdie (FRA) impressed by raising the bar a little higher, clearly confident after winning Bronze at the World Games in Poland just one week earlier.
The final three women lived up to their reputation as the ones to watch, as each climber gradually surpassed the highpoint of the previous competitor. A close-fought contest between Anak and Janja saw the Slovenian reach just one move further to take her third win of the season.
The next round takes place in Arco, Italy on 25th/26th August.
Watch the finals replay below:
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