After yesterday’s prologue in Verbier, today the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC finally kicked off with the first real day’s stage of the program. And what a stage it was, racers traveled from Verbier to Leukerbad, an epic 95 kilometers and 3050 vertical meters – a day that would be the longest of the race. In the end the victory was won by team Stöckli BiXS racers Lukas Buchli and Mathias Flückiger. In the women’s category Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans prevailed from Team Specialized.
The first stage of the six-day mountain bike race PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC was a true test of body and mind. Covering 95 km, the route climbed out of Verbier in the French speaking Switzerland to Leukerbad in the German – speaking part of the Valais – the longest stage of the race. After a long climb, the route dropped down over the pass Croix de Coeur into the warm Rhone Valley, then climbed back up through the Valais vineyards. The racinf was fast and fierce down the rough singletrack, fireroad climbs and over the long, rooty irrigation channels. Finally, the sting in the tail, athletes had to overcome the long climb from the main valley back up to Leukerbad at 1411m. Elegant thermal baths and wellness resorts stood under the imposing backdrop, in a valley of spectacular vertical cliffs below the Daubenhorn.
On this long , first stage it was Lukas Buchli and Mathias Wing from Team Stöckli – BiXS who had the legs and lungs. They crossed the line after an incredible 4h 16mins, taking the lead in the category SWISS EPIC Men. In second were Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy from Team Specialized closely followed by CENTURION VAUDE team racers Daniel Geismayr and Jochen Kass with 4h 18min.
In the category SWISS EPIC Women it was Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans who prevailed from Team Specialized, with 5h 26min , followed by Esther Süss and Elferink Hielke from iXS team Wheeler, and in third was team Mountain Heroes with Andrea Kuster and Kristin Aamodt. In the mixed category Bärti Bucher and Milena Landtwing take a stage one win, while in the Master’s Robadey Serge and Pierre Bourquenoud now wear the leaders Journey.
Full results from Stage One can be found here.
ENDURO Magazine has an editor racing in the event, find out tomorrow what an enduro racer would make of a 6 day marathon race.
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