POSTED: June 13th 2011

Annecy 2018: SNCF athletes climb Mont Blanc to support the bid

The Mont-Blanc massif, straddling Italy, France and Switzerland, attracts climbers and skiers from all over the world / ATOUT FRANCE - R-Cast
The Mont-Blanc massif, straddling Italy, France and Switzerland, attracts climbers and skiers from all over the world / ATOUT FRANCE - R-Cast

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA/ANNECY, Jun 13: The SNCF French railway company and official supporter of Annecy 2018, has renewed its support for the bid to host the winter Olympic Games.

To commemorate the support, the SNCF is sending an expedition of SNCF athletes on a mountain climbing weekend June 18-19 to the iconic Mont-Blanc and they will be joined by representatives from the Annecy 2018 campaign.

The expedition will be led by members of the French Skiing and Mountaineering School (ENSA) together with guides from Chamonix and Saint-Gervais and include three SNCF snowboarders – Olympian Paul-Henri De Le Rue, world-champion Xavier De Le Rue and Sylvain Dufour (world medal winner), as well as cyclist Cathy Moncassin-Prime.

Annecy 2018 leader Charles Beigbeder and Jean-Luc Rigaut, who is mayor of Annecy and a former SNCF athlete himself, will accompany the group and use the experience for a final planning session before they travel to Durban, South Africa for the final bid presentation to the IOC.

The expedition will take off for the endeavor on Wednesday June 15th from the Paris Gare de Lyon station and travel first to Lyon then on to Chamonix. Promotions will take place on the train ride as passengers will have a chance to interact with the team and get autographs and souvenir handouts.  

The team will undergo two days of acclimatization and altitude training and then set off on Saturday June 18th to scale Mont-Blanc, the highest peak in France and Europe. Once they arrive at the summit they will unfurl an Annecy 2018 banner to commemorate the desire to bring the Games back to the mountain. They are expected to reach an altitude of 4,810 meters.

In a thrilling exit the three SNCF champions will snowboard back down the mountain and the rest of the team will return on foot.

SNCF has been supporting French athletes since 1982 when it first began its athlete sponsor program. At the present 29 French athletes are benefitting from the SNCF Athletes program, including snowboarders Paul-Henri and Xavier De Le Rue, gymnast Thomas Bouhail and foil fencer Brice Guyart.

Annecy 2018 has more than 500 athletes supporting the bid including Zinédine Zidane, Tony Parker, Arsène Wenger, Marie-José Perec to name a few.

Annecy is vying to host the 2018 winter Olympics and Paralympics against PyeongChang and Munich. The final decision will be voted on July 6th at the IOC session in Durban, South Africa.

Keywords · Annecy 2018 · SNCF · Mont Blanc · Charles Beigbeder · Jean Luc Rigaut

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Laura Walden ()

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