Stage 11 – Villard de Lans
Stage 11 – Villard de Lans presented by Flexadin Advanced
The 11th and final stage of La Grande Odyssée VVF started today, Thursday 19 January, in Villard de Lans. The 27 teams set off on a 16 km trail with 800 m of positive altitude difference at 9 am on the Côte 2000 site.
The conditions were ideal for this last stage of La Grande Odyssée VVF. A fresh and hard snow, a clear sky and the morning freshness allowed the mushers and the dogs to achieve great performances for the 11th stage of this 19th edition. They started on the alpine site of Villard-de-Lans for a 16 km loop and 800 m of positive difference in altitude. A 6 km climb on the green Salamander trail got the teams in shape. They then continued their loop up to the Lac du Pré to come back down on the green trail of the Marmottons.
It was the Frenchman Rémy Coste who won this last stage in the OPEN category with his team of hounds. He is ahead of the Norwegians Sissel Wolf Molmen (2nd) and Hans Lindahl (3rd). Rémy Coste becomes the winner of La Grande Odyssée VVF for the 7th time.
In the LIMITED category, the French are once again the best on this stage. Aurélie Delattre finishes on the 1st step of the podium followed by Thibault Cayroche and Elsa Borgey. The leader thus wins her second consecutive title.
The Trophy also ended on this 11th stage in Villard-de-Lans. Julien Chatelain (FRA.) won the stage. He is followed by his compatriot Pierre Chaplain and the Swiss Christian Moser. This podium is also the reflection of the general ranking where each of the mushers arrived respectively at this place.
Thibault Cayroche, musher in the LIMITED category, was awarded the last Wamine Best Dog Care chasuble of this 19th edition. Lexa, his lead dog, was suffering from severe triceps, biceps and pectoral contractures which would have prevented him from continuing the race. However, Thibault spent half the night massaging his dog and by morning his contractures were resolved. Thanks to his care, he was able to get back into the race.
The 19th edition closed in Villard-de-Lans on the Place de l’Ours today, Thursday 19 January, at 5pm with a ceremony. The teams and winners of La Grande Odyssée VVF were rewarded and acclaimed.
The Best Nordic, a ranking that rewards pure Nordic carriages, was unveiled during the ceremony. The French Jean Combazard, OPEN category, and Romain Da Fonseca, LIMITED category, respectively took the first step of the podium. They are followed by Phillipe Desmurger in OPEN and Anthony Kalisch in LIMITED. Rodolphe Lardet was rewarded for his very good performance by being 3rd best Best Nordic carriage in the OPEN category.
The Wamine Best Dog Care award was given to Cindy Duport from France by the veterinary team.
Cédric Bellaud was chosen by all the other mushers as the musher with the best spirit. He wins the Fair Play award.
The Suzuki Combativeness Award was won by Thibault Cayroche. This prize rewards a remarkable fact over time or at a specific moment, which testifies to energy, resistance and the will to never be discouraged in order to reach his goal.
The Henry Kam prize, which is awarded to the winner of the Val Cenis stage (a two-day stage including a night in a bivouac), in homage to the race’s creator, was awarded to the Frenchwoman Aurélie Delattre.
Each year, the rookies, i.e. the mushers who participate for the first time in La Grande Odyssée VVF in its entirety are rewarded. In the LIMITED category, Thibault Cayroche is named Rookie of the year. In the OPEN category, it is the Norwegian Hans Lindahl who won the prize.
Philippe Desmurger’s handlers were rewarded with the Handler prize, awarded to the best handlers over the course of the race.
Every year the Red Lantern prize is awarded to the last musher in each category who has started and completed all the stages of the race. Anthony Kalisch won in the LIMITED category and Frank Bonnet Gonnet in the OPEN category.
The two winners of the two categories have to award the Golden Harness, the prize for the dog that was the most impressive in the team. Rémy Coste chose his dog Aragorn and Aurélie Delattre chose Arwen, her lead dog.
After a very nice edition in 2023, La Grande Odyssée VVF will start its 20th edition from 6 to 18 January 2024 !