Valsir World Cup 2022 Preview Part 14: KV Chiavenna-Lagunc
After 5 months, 17 races and 10 countries, on October the 8th we arrive in the Italian province of Sondrio for the final of the Valsir World Cup; K.V. Chiavenna-Lagunc.
Although the course has changed a little over the years, there has been an uphill race here since 1986. A town of just 7,000 people, Chaivenna is a distillation of the culture and tradition of Italian mountain running. With two local clubs, there are probably as many mountain runners per capita here as there are anywhere, and the race has long attracted the strongest Italian athletes, as well as big-hitters from further afield.
Valentina Belotti and Alessandra Valgoi, Marco de Gasperi and both Dematteis twins; all have multiple wins here, while Petro Mamu and Johan Bugge, Sarah McCormack and Andrea Mayr have also taken their turn on the top step of the podium.
Originally starting further up the hill in Pianazzola, the course was lengthened in 2000, before becoming the world's first officially measured vertical kilometre in 2008. Ascending exactly 1,000m in just 3.3km, this is the place to come for fast times. An individual time trial start, the course begins in narrow, cobbled streets on the north side of Chiavenna and immediately rises onto the mule tracks and rocky, stepped, single-track trails which take runners the whole way to the finish in Lagunc.
As it did in last year, this year Chiavenna-Lagunc serves as the last and potentially deciding round of the series, with 5 bonus World Cup points available for any athlete finishing in the top 15; a good run here can make all the difference.
Reigning World Cup champion Henri Aymonod thrives on the steepest courses and it's no surprise that he has made this race his own, taking three straight wins in the last three editions. Andrea Mayr added last year's crown to her 2 previous victories, coming up just 2 seconds short of her remarkable 2018 course record of 35:40.
The men's course record is no less impressive. Bernard Dematteis ran 30:27 in 2013 and in the eight editions since then no-one has been within a minute of that time! It will take a very special performance indeed to better either of those marks, but with a World Cup title on the line anything is possible!
Recent results are all available on the World Mountain Running Ranking.
If you're making the trip to Chiavenna and want a full weekend of racing, there are a pair of longer trail races on the Sunday after the vertical kilometre. The Val Bregaglia Trail starts and finishes in Chiavenna and covers 43.5km, climbing 2,758m, while the Val Bregaglia Half Trail begins in Promontogno and covers 23.5km, 1,032m+ on the way back to Chiavenna.
With the mountain running taken care of there are plenty reasons to extend your stay in the area. Those who still have the legs for it can cycle the 30km uphill to the top of the famous Splügen Pass, while for those who are feeling a bit weary there are more relaxing options available at Lake Como, just a 40 minute drive down the valley.