Race Report | Perskindol Swiss Epic off to a Successful Start
PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC, the six-day mountain bike stage race through the Valais, kicked off with its prologue in Verbier on Monday 14 September 2015. The first day’s champions in the men’s category were Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek of the Topeak Ergon Racing Team, who completed the 13 km track in the fastest time of 46:39 minutes. For the women, it was Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans of the Specialized RECM Team who came out on top with a time of 57:44 minutes. Special Guest Cadel Evans confirms with his exclusive participation in the first race that, even though he retired his pro status 7 months ago, he can still produce top results.
On Monday, set against a magnificent natural backdrop, the starting signal was given for the six-day mountain bike stage race PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC. The prologue took place around Verbier and covered a distance of 13 kilometres with an elevation gain of 840 metres. Although effectively just a warm-up race for the stages to follow, the prologue already gave the nearly 300 two-person teams a first impression of the breathtaking panoramic views and flowing single tracks they will be experiencing over the next week.
Category SWISS EPIC: Favourite riders deliver
On the prologue the favourite teams delivered an exciting head to head race: The top 5 teams were all across the finish line within a minute – so it promises to be an interesting race. Marathon champion Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek from the Topeak Ergon Racing Team won the category SWISS EPIC Men with 46:39 minutes. Defending champions Lukas Buchli and Mathias Flückiger, Team Stöckli-BiXS, took second with 46:42 minutes, followed by Team Thömus / Grächen, Sepp Freiburghaus and Marc Stutzmann, with 47:02 minutes to secure third place. Fourth place went to Reto Indergand and Martin Fanger from the BMC Mountainbike Racing Team with 47:07 minutes, with last year’s second place team from CENTURION VAUDE, Daniel Geismayr und Jochen Käss not far behind with 47:36 minutes.
Unfortunately the BMC Team of Lukas Flückiger and Ralph Näf, one of the favourites, had to end the race early after Ralph Näf injured his shoulder in a crash.
In the category SWISS EPIC Women, Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans from Team Specialized RECM took the win with 57:44 minutes, followed by Adelheid Morath and Sally Bigham from the Topeak Ergon Racing Team, who were only 3 minutes behind, and the Team Rent a Plant – Habitat of Hielke Elferink and Anne Terpstra. SWISS EPIC AG │Jenatschstrasse 5 │CH-8002 Zurich │Tel.: +41 (0)44 545 65 65│www.swissepic.com
In the category Mixed the Australian Team Subaru MarathonMTB.com of Imogen Smith and Mike Blewitt secured the win with 64:04 minutes. In the Over 40 Masters the team of Dani Schnider and Oliver Imfeld from DANI SCHNIDER RADSPORT were the first over the finish line with 56:29 minutes.
SWISS EPIC FLOW: World of MTB dominated
Today, the 53 teams competing in the SWISS EPIC FLOW race format tackled the same track as SWISS EPIC participants. The media teams dominated the Men’s category today. The first win went to Sönke Wegner and Daniel Eiermann from team world of mtb with a sensational time of 54:08 minutes, who were 9 minutes ahead of Andy Benz and Andrea Chiesa, Team MTB-MAG.COM, who took second. In third was the team of Matt Page and Stewart Spiess from AMB-Magazine.
In the Mixed category, the first to cross the finish line with 69:34 minutes were Tanja Erzinger and Nicolas Niffeler from Team Lucky Star Sargans. Second place went to Anita Gehrig and Balz Weber, Team Ride Flow Trail, with Jeanette Mayr und Mark Seisun, Team Aussie Express taking third.
Chrigi Bünter and Nadege Vetterli from Team Fusion World captured the Women’s category top spot with 80:53 minutes, followed by SCOTT’s Chicken Club with Sarah Merminod and Daniela Michel, and the Prinzessinnen der Berge Veronika Marreck und Claudia Gottschlich.
Off to a successful start
The prologue in Verbier was a successful start to the second edition of the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC six-day mountain bike race. “Everything ran smoothly today and the competitors were happy to be here”, says organiser Joko Vogel. “We are especially excited as organizer, that with Cadel Evans as Special Guest we had first class bike prominence at the start of the event. He was impressed with the event, and could even imagine participating in the full race format in the near future. With a time of 52:36 minutes he proved that he would still be within the top contenders. Moreover, the weather was much better than predicted, and we hope we can interpret that as a good omen for the rest of the week.”
PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC is running until next Saturday, during which time it will visit Leukerbad, Grächen and Zermatt.
The next stages
Di, 15.09.2015 / Stage 1 / Verbier – Leukerbad / 95km & 3100hm
Mi, 16.09.2015 / Stage 2 / Leukerbad – Leukerbad / 63km & 3000hm
Do, 17.09.2015 / Stage 3 / Leukerbad – Grächen / 93km & 3100hm
Fr, 18.09.2015 / Stage 4 / Grächen – Grächen / 88km & 3300hm
Sa, 19.09.2015 / Stage 5 / Grächen – Zermatt / 60km & 2400hm
More information: swissepic.com
Words & Photos: PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC