Well before dawn, in the middle of the night, the shore of the Livigno lake came to life, thanks to the enthusiasm of the participants in the toughest triathlon in the world, who arrived in Valtellina from every corner of the planet. A palpable tension, the result of the long approach path, accompanied the starters until the sound of the start siren, then leaving the group to get lost in the darkness of a lake with semi-prohibitive temperatures. Water at twelve degrees for a thrilling fraction, made unforgettable also by the light of the marker buoys attached to the body of each athlete, which in every strokes seemed almost to be swallowed by the darkness of the lake.
An hour later all the others, while the best completed their swimming fraction, started also Giulio Molinari. He is the home athlete, star of Hour Icon, a charity initiative in favor of the non-profit association "The smile of Carlotta", that transformed every overtaking of Giulio into a donation, for a comeback full of adrenaline and solidarity.
The first rays of the sun have finally made the lake water sparkle, accompanying the last swimming efforts of the competitors, and warming them in view of the first gearbox and the long road ahead by bike. 197 kilometers, over 5000 meters in altitude, seasoned with numerous steps and climbs to be completed, with the peak of the 100km/h touched downhill on the Stelvio, for a very technical and terribly demanding segment of the race. After overcoming 19 athletes already in the water fraction, Molinari set a very tight race even on two wheels, managing in the central part to rejoin the group of the best, led by Martin Hauf, Cristiano Tara, Thomas Vanhersecke and Jacco LanGermaniaak. The only missing athlete, the Italian Francesco Bartolini, left alone, in a solitary escape, at the head of the group, launched towards the Stelvio Pass.
But today nothing could have come between Giulio and the victory, with the final overtaking that took place in the Valdidentro area, which launched Molinari towards the second and last change of Trepalle and a final marathon lived in complete solitary. Suggestive passages in the town center where, while respecting the anti-covid rules, there was no lack of encouragement and support for the athletes by now exhausted by passers-by and fans.
The last effort, for Molinari and for the rest of the competitors, was the ascent to Carosello 3000: with the final kilometers, on a steep slope, which turned into a real undertaking. At the finish line, after passing under the arch of Icon, it is finally a party for the home athlete, who closes in 13:39:53 (from which to subtract the hour expected at the start) thus succeeding in the double goal of the eve: to win the race, repeating the success of 2019, and reach the maximum possible sum to be donated to charity. “This is my home, I didn't spare myself a single meter and I thank the partners who helped raise 9.000 euros for the Foundation” were his first words as soon as he crossed the finish line.
The final podium is completed by Langerack Jacco (Ned) and Hauf Martin (Ger).
First among women, however, the Austrian Wiestner Lisa who stops the clock at exactly 15 hours. But the compliments should be extended to all those who managed to finish the race, one of the most spectacular and demanding in the world, designed and conceived specifically to put athletes in front of an unparalleled inner journey. The appointment, for them and for all others, is at the 2022 edition.
News / 25.08.2021
Friday, September 3, before sunrise, from the waters of the lake of Livigno will start a route that has attracted athletes from all over the world. Molinari in the race with the Hour Icon project.