600 Riders Raring to Go at the 2019 Swiss Epic
300 teams, of two riders each, registered in Davos on Monday, the 19th of August, ahead of the 2019 Swiss Epic. The 5 day, 350 kilometre UCI S1 category stage race takes in a massive 12 000 meters of climbing in the Alps. A mix of purpose-built mountain bike trails and rugged mountain dual tracks make up the majority of the course which provides new challenges around every corner and breath-taking views at every turn.
With rain predicted to fall during the mid-morning hours of the opening stage, on Tuesday, the route has been updated slightly. This is to ensure the trails are not significantly damaged by the 1 200 tyres which will roll through them. The subtle route changes will not alter Stage 1's distance, it still totals 86 kilometres; but it does reduce the altitude gain, by 200 meters, to 2 800 meters of climbing. Starting in Davos and finishing in St Mortiz it takes in highlights of the area like the Zügen Gorge and the world-renowned Landwasser Viaduct. "We went out this morning at 08:20, in the rain, because we thought it was going to rain all day" the 2017 champion Jennie Stenerhag said at registration. "It was good though; the riding is going to be fantastic this week. The racing is also going to be really tough. With the strong last-minute women's teams entering – including Kathrin Stirnemann and Corina Gantenbein plus Adelheid Morath and Bettina Janas – we are in for a hard five days on the bike" the Swedish marathon champion predicted.
The elite men's race is sure to be as tightly contested, with ten highly competitive teams lining up with not much between them in terms of pre-race form. If it comes down to stage race pedigree and experience in the wet conditions, which are predicted for much of the week, then the Centurion Vaude and Trek Selle San Marco squads will be difficult to beat. Especially as Trek Selle San Marco have two cards to play with Samuele Porro and Damiano Ferraro being backed-up by Michele Casagrande and Fabian Rabensteiner.
Travelling into the Graubünden canton to reach registration, riders could be under no illusions as to what the next week would hold in store. With high alpine peaks towering above lush, green valleys; climbing and spectacular views, unfolding over endless ridgelines, will be the order of each stage.
Pre-race nerves were clearly evident as over 200 riders braved a late afternoon rain squall to make their way to a marquee, for race briefing. 41 nationalities are represented in the 2019 race and most of those cheered as their country's flag was highlighted. The host nation provides the majority of the field, as one might expect, but alongside the well-represented nations like South Africa and the USA there are also surprise turnouts by Costa Rica and Guernsey.
To follow the action from the 2019 Swiss Epic, as the multinational mountain biking field sets out from Davos to St Mortiz, fans can visit www.swiss-epic.com. The race will also feature extensive live coverage on social media, with regular updates and highlights from the event on Facebook, @SwissEpic; Instagram, @swiss_epic; and YouTube, Swiss Epic.