Following yesterday’s longest daily stage, which stretched from Verbier to Leukerbad, today was the day for PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC to embark on the second, somewhat-more-moderate-yet-no-less-thrilling daily stage: a 63-kilometre-long circuit beginning and ending in Leukerbad, containing an elevation gain of 3,000 metres.
The BiXS STÖCKLI team were the day’s tight winners: Lukas Buchli and Mathias Flückiger. And in the women’s event, Adelheid Morath and Sally Bigham from the Topeak Ergon Racing Team came out on top.
The second stage of the six-day PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC mountain bike race consisted of a circuit covering 63 kilometres, containing an elevation gain of 3,000 metres; beginning and ending in Leukerbad. The weather was a huge factor in today’s race. A warm wind (föhn) storm came through with gusts of more than 70km/h in the mountains, and contrary to the forecast, there was already some rain around midday.
Tight win for BIXS STÖCKLI
The head to head race between the top teams in the SWISS EPIC Men’s category continued today. With 3h 24min the team BiXS STÖCKLI of Lukas Buchli and Mathias Flückiger took the win, only 15 seconds in front of the second place Jochen Käss and Daniel Geismayr of team CENTURION VAUDE. Only 13 seconds behind was the Topeak Ergon Racing Team of Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek, who were able to hold onto the overall lead.
In the Women’s category Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans of Team Specialized RECM weren’t able to hold onto the top position for the first time since the beginning of the SWISS EPIC last year. Adelheid Morath and Sally Bigham of Topeak Ergon Racing Team crossed the finish line over 8 minutes in front after 4h 15min, and took the overall lead. That puts the Topeak Ergon Racing Teams in both categories at the front of the pack. In the Mixed category the Australians Imogen Smith and Mike Blewitt defended their clear lead, as did Dani Schnider and Oliver Imfeld in the Masters category.
Turbulence in the FLOW category
The wind storm took a bite out of the SWISS EPIC FLOW format today. As a result of the strong gusts the gondola had to be shut down around midday, creating a sudden change of the race course. The ascent had to be done with shuttle busses, causing the decent to be shorter and less spectacular. The Men’s team from world of mtb Sönke Wegner and Daniel Eiermann received a time penalty of 60 minutes because of a wrong trail choice that caused their loss of the overall lead. Today’s winners were Valentin Ritz and Rudolf Biedermann of Team Moustache. In the Mixed category Balz Weber and Anita Gehrig of Team Ride Flow Trail took the win again. The fastest Women were the team from Fusion World of Chrigi Bünter and Nadege Vetterli.
For a complete rundown of the rankings, please click here.
The third stage of PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC, which will take place tomorrow, will go from Leukerbad to Grächen, covering a distance of 88 kilometres and containing an elevation gain of 3,100 metres. The first riders are expected to start crossing the finish line around noon.
Words & Pictures: Swiss Epic
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