Crespi, Eiter Win 1st World Cup


Italian Flavio Crespi won the first lead-climbing World Cup of 2005, in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Crespi was third overall in last year's World Cup series, and he kicked off this season by beating most of the big stars of competition climbing, including the 2004 World Cup champion, the Czech Tomás Mrázek, who finished a distant ninth. Second on the podium was another fresh face: 19-year-old Jorg Verhoeven of the Netherlands, who won his age group in last year's Youth World Championships.As often happens in World Cups, a local favorite rose to the occasion: Bulgarian Ivailo Krastev, 28 years old and ranked 35th in the world, finished fourth on his home turf. American Vadim Vinokur, the lone North American competing, ended up 19th.The women's ranking looked a bit more familiar to World Cup fans, with the top spot occupied by 19-year-old Angela Eiter of Austria, who last year edged the longtime champion Muriel Sarkany of Belgium to take the 2004 World Cup title. Sarkany placed fourth in Bulgaria. This comp launched an unusually long and full schedule for elite lead climbers: There are 10 World Cups this year (all but one in Europe), as well as the biannual World Championships and quadrennial International World Games (a sort of alternative-sports Olympics), both in July in Germany.Women 1. Angela Eiter (AUT) 2. Caroline Ciavaldini (FRA) 2. Natalija Gros (SLO) 4. Muriel Sarkany (BEL) 5. Maja Vidmar (SLO) Men 1. Flavio Crespi (ITA) 2. Jorg Verhoeven (NED) 3. Cédric Lachat (SWI) 4. Ivailo Krastev (BUL) 5. Luca Zardini (ITA) 19. Vadim Vinokur (USA)