Stage 9 – Les 7 Laux presented by Aésio Mutuelle

The sun returned for the 9th stage of the Grande Odyssée VVF presented by Aésio Mutuelle from Les 7 Laux on the Communauté de Commune du Grésivaudan, with a long climb to the Plateau des Violettes and the Col du Merdaret.

After a double loop on the Nordic area, they came back down to the resort for a 24 km trail with 910 m of positive altitude difference. The day’s race was won by Spain’s Iker Ozkoidi in 1h 3′ 51” at an average speed of 22.5 km/h, ahead of France’s Elsa Borgey and Poland’s Lukas Paczynski. The overall classification remains unchanged, with Norway’s Hans Lindahl holding the leader’s jersey sponsored by Crédit Mutuel.

In the Nordic category, the hierarchy is maintained with Jean Combazard, winner of the stage and still leader of the event sponsored by Crédit Mutuel, ahead of the day’s 2nd-placed finisher, Philippe Desmurger, while Gael Brossette completes the Grande Odyssée VVF podium.

The start on the snow front in the heart of the Belledonne massif, with the splendid Chartreuse massif in the background, was cheered on by a large crowd, many of them children with infectious enthusiasm. The EBRA Trophy participants were the first to set off, and received a standing ovation. In this category, the Spanish competitors, who had come in large numbers, pulled out all the stops, taking the top 3 steps of the podium, with Carlos Franch claiming the leader’s jersey in 1h 3’51”.

In the morning, the teams received an unannounced visit from the French Anti-Doping Agency. Damien Philipot, a veterinary surgeon appointed by the agency, took blood and urine samples from 4 different breeds and categories of competing dog, to check that none of the 500 furry athletes had received any prohibited products. These samples will be analyzed in one of the 5 specialized laboratories worldwide. This type of control guarantees the regularity of the race.

Spain’s Carlos Calico wore the Royal Canin-sponsored Dog Care Chasuble of the Day today, in recognition of his regular management of his increasingly calm dogs, who remain in good shape after all these days of racing.