Axelle Gachet-Mollaret won the women's event at Valtellina Orobie ©Getty Images

Axelle Gachet-Mollaret and Xavier Gachet triumphed for France at the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) World Cup in the 35th Valtellina Orobie event in Italy.

It was Italian Matteo Eydallin that crossed the finish line first but he was forced to give up the crown as a penalty relegated him to second place.

Gachet therefore took the win in 1hr 36min 49sec, 34 seconds quicker than Eydallin's time when his penalty was added on.

His compatriot Michele Boscacci made up the podium with a time of 1:37:30 in what was a thrilling fight between the trio.

Boscacci was leading for the majority of the race but lost ground in the latter stages due to challenging off-piste descents and couloirs.

The result means that Boscacci is in pole position in the men's overall standings with 700 points while his countryman Robert Antonioli and France's Thibault Anselmet occupy second and third with 646 and 582 points respectively.

Gachet's 528 points see him fourth, one position above Eydallin on 524 points.

In the women's event, Gachet-Mollaret achieved her fourth victory in the discipline this season after posting a time of 1:38:34.

Sweden's Tove Alexandersson pocketed the silver medal after a 1:39:42 finish while Emily Harrop of France claimed bronze in 1:41:39.

It leaves Andersson's overall lead looking slightly thinner.

She has 988 points while Gachet-Mollaret is now on 969 and Harrop has 849.

Austria's Paul Verbnjak won the men's under-23 category, followed by Italians Matteo Sostizzo and Giovanni Rossi.

Lisa Moreschini of Italy won the women's under-23 ahead of silver and bronze medallists Katia Mascheron, also of Italy, and Frenchwoman Mallauri Mattana, respectively.

Athletes will have a rest day tomorrow before embarking on the sprint race on Saturday (February 5) in the ski area of Caspoggio.