Italy's Aosta Valley is the venue for the ISMF Team Long Distance World Championships ©Getty Images

Italian duo Alba De Silvestro and Giulia Murada are ready to defend their women's long-distance team ski mountaineering title at the Tour du Rutor.

The three-day event in Italy's Aosta Valley is acting as the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) Team Long Distance World Championships for 2022.

De Silvestro and Giulia Murada won the world title in the Arêches-Beaufort ski area in France last year.

Of the 15 women's teams entered for the event, five are Italian.

This includes 2021 runners-up Mara Martini and Ilaria Veronese.

French, Swiss, Spanish, Swedish, Slovakian and Croatian teams are also due to compete.

There are more entries in the men's event, but last year's champions will not defend the title.

Davide Magnini is paired with Matteo Eydallin this year, and leads the home hopes.

Eydallin came fifth in 2021, when Magnini was victorious alongside Michele Boscacci.

The Tour du Rutor has not been raced in four years, and inclement weather has led to a late route change for the first day.

The new route is approximately 24 kilometres and encompasses elevation gains of 2,400 metres.

The Tour du Rutor is part of La Grande Course - an international circuit of ski mountaineering competitions which has now partnered with the ISMF.

Ski mountaineering has been added to the Winter Olympic programme for Milan Cortina 2026.