SPAR Swiss Epic 2023

  • Switzerland (CHE)
  • Off-Road Cycling

The 2023 SPAR Swiss Epic Route is Announced

Press Release / 05.05.2023See All Event Posts Follow Event
/ © Nick Muzik

The 2023 SPAR Swiss Epic, taking place from 15-19 August, continues the tradition of forging a new route year upon year and will highlight the absolute best mountain passes, iconic flow trails, bike parks, valleys and more as teams from around the world race from Lenzerheide, the Bike Kingdom, to St. Moritz and on to the singletrail paradise that is Davos. 
In total, the 2023 SPAR Swiss Epic is 367 kilometres from start to finish and boasts 11 550 metres of climbing and 11 500 metres of descending – meaning that every metre climbed is rewarded in near equal measure on some of the world’s best mountain bike trails. 
Teams from around the world are set for an epic adventure in Graubünden’s alpine towns and trails wherein they will race the same route as the professional riders, be treated to Swiss hospitality in the amazing hotels, and forge memories that are sure to last a lifetime. 
It is time to #ConquerTheAlps! 
Stage 1: Lenzerheide 
Distance: 55km 
Climbing: 2 250m 
Descending: 2 250m 
Synopsis: Lenzerheide, the Bike Kingdom is the starting point for the 2023 SPAR Swiss Epic. With over 300 kilometres of dedicated MTB Trails and two bike parks, teams are guaranteed an action-packed opening first day that highlights trails and beauty from start to finish. 
Stage 1 begins in Lenzerheide and heads immediately, yet gradually upward on the lower slopes of the Parpan Schwarzhorn. along the trail Arsola where the burn in the legs is offset with incredible views of the valley below. Once teams reach Arsola the climbing truly begins as they head in the direction of the Panorama Trail to climb and descend the famous trail. At 20 kilometres into the stage, teams reach 2 317m above sea level where an amazing 4-kilometre-long descent called The Pipe directs them from Motta to Scharmoin. The Bikepark FLOWline arrives just before the halfway point and teams are treated to a trail that is packed with jumps and berms to get the excitement levels up before diving into the second half of the stage. 
The route then crosses itself and teams begin to understand why Lenzerheide is known as Bike Kingdom as they race through Nino’s Gold Trail by ÖKK – a trail that made history when Nino Schurter won the 2018 World Cup on it. The route then trends upwards for the next 13 kilometres as teams skirt alpine towns in search of the High Level Trail, from Alp Stätz to Alp Nova and on to Scalottas. Soak in the views of Bike Kingdom as it is not something that can be seen every day! 
Top Fops then arrives at the 41 kilometre-mark and delivers a pure fun and rock ‘n roll, natural flowing trail with rock gardens that is sure to delight every team in the race. The descending continues until teams reach Got da Lain where they will race through a larch forest and back to the finish. One stage down, four to go! 

Stage 2: Lenzerheide -> St. Moritz 
Distance: 80 km 
Climbing: 2 300 m 
Descending: 2 050m 
Synopsis: The first transition day of the 2023 SPAR Swiss Epic sees teams set off from Lenzerheide with St. Moritz in their sights. Stage 2 is no mean feat as teams are required to race through a route of 80 kilometres with 2 300 metres of climbing, including a trip to the top of the Albula Pass at 2 312 metres above sea level. 
Stage 2 waves goodbye to Lenzerheide, but not before a short jaunt across Lake Heidsee; from 4km to 23km, the route trends downhill and takes in the forest trail from Tschividains to Alvaschein which presents amazing views across the valley to Zorten and Muldain towards Alvaneu. Flat and fast kilometres along the river Albula follow and offer a chance for the legs to awaken before the day’s 22-kilometre-long climb arrives. 
The Albula Pass Strasse, along the UNESCO World Heritage section of the Rhaetian Railway, runs as near as possible to the Albula railway, regularly affording enchanting open views of a 100-plus-year-old artwork in stunning Alpine scenery and terrains. Teams pass the tanzenden Hexen von Bellaluna (dancing witches of Bellaluna), the unspoiled alpine village of Bergün, lavishly decorated with sgraffito, frescoes, and oriel windows and the 800-year-old Romanesque church and Roman tower that lie at the foot of the Albula Pass at the gateway to the Engadine. With these views, and the helical tunnels between Bergün and Preda, as well as the postcard-worthy view of the Lej da Palpuegna, the long climb to the summit of the Albula Pass never gets boring. 
Once atop Albula Pass, the hard work is rewarded in the form of the Albula Trail, a perfect mtb trail with flow, jumps, and incredible views. After 9 kilometres and 625 vertical metres of descending, flat and fast kilometres (provided there is no wind) from Bever to Pontresina along the Inn and Flaz rivers follow. This section is a real treat for the eyes as teams are surrounded by the majestic Engadin mountains and the wide valley. One final climb, the Moor Plateau Alp da Staz through 1000-year-old Swiss stone pine forests, arrives right at the end of the day to ensure no teams are not too relaxed when they cross the finish line in St. Moritz. 
Stage 3: St. Moritz 
Distance: 68km 
Climbing: 2 400m 
Descending: 2 400m 
Synopsis: St. Moritz has hosted the SPAR Swiss Epic on two previous occasions, and with over 400 kilometres of dedicated MTB trails, and many dual-purpose trails surrounding the town, it is easy to understand why. Stage 3 explores these trails like never before and includes all the flow trails of Corviglia in its 68 kilometres with 2 400 metres of climbing and descending. 
Stage 3 begins and gets into the climbing immediately. Teams leave St. Moritz and head directly into the mountains and up to the 2 472m above sea level mark within 10 kilometres. The Marmotta Flow Trail is the reward for the early efforts and gently winds down from Corviglia to Marguns with a few jumps – keep an eye out for the local Marmottas on the trail! The route continues its North-East trajectory towards Bever via Samedan. 
 Once in Val Bever, it is as if time has stood still as pristine nature and total tranquility abound, apart from the buzzing of freehubs from the teams racing through the center of the valley. Here the climbing begins and does not stop until teams reach the summit below Piz Nair at 45 kilometres. The climbs include ascents of the Pass Suvretta and Munt da San Murezzan trail with its incredible views of Bernina massif and the lakes of Engiadina. With the lion’s share of the climbing accounted for, the flow arrives in full force. 
First up is the WM Flow Trail; the WM flow trail passes along the legendary racing slope on which three World Ski Championships have been held since 1974. The trail offers a breathtaking panorama and numerous challenging bends – not least a tricky "looping" (360°) bend – note it as something special. After a short climb the Olympia Flow Trail awaits, which has been harmoniously integrated into the surrounding landscape and leads across the 1948 Olympic Ski Slope through rocky terrain, ruggedly romantic Alpine meadows, and fragrant pine forests. The trail was even described by Danny MacAskill as an endless ride on a magic carpet! Finally, the Foppetas Flow Trail ends the day on a trail-induced high through the forest above Champfèr before the finish line is crossed in St. Moritz. Next up, the Queen Stage. 

Stage 4: St. Moritz -> Davos 
Distance: 99km 
Climbing: 2 450m 
Descending: 2 650m 
Synopsis: Stage 4, the second transition stage of the 2023 SPAR Swiss Epic, claims the title of Queen Stage not through distance alone, but also due its 2 450 metres of climbing and the demanding challenge that the figures and the terrain combine to produce. It is set to be a day of spectacular views, another ascent of the Albula Pass followed by the longest downhill of the race. 
The Queen Stage sees teams leave St. Moritz and head North in the direction of Davos. The stage begins with a short, sharp climb up Munt San Gian and then skirts the town of St. Moritz as the route heads towards the Flaz river via Lej da Staz at 1 809 metres above sea level and the Engadin Ski marathon route, which attracts thousands to the high Grisons valley. Seemingly endless flat kilometres then tick by as teams charge along the banks of the Inn River and eventually cross the flowing waters near Zuoz at 27 kilometres. The crossing of the river marks the beginning of the day’s first true demands, the climb up to Albula Pass along Via Engiadina – a panoramic trail in wild nature between Madulain and Alp Alesch. 
The climbing continues to the summit of the Albula Pass where the longest descent of the entire race waits. Teams will be treated to 25 kilometres of uninterrupted descending! Once safely navigated, the reality of what goes down must go up returns and the remaining kilometres of the stage trend mercilessly uphill via the Landwasser & Wiesner Viaduct on the Albula line of the Rhaetian Railway.  
Thereafter the Zügenschlucht trail provides the next highlight as it follows stunning cliffs and a bubbling blue mountain river that featured in Danny McAskill and Claudio Caluori’s Home of Trails video. Onwards and upwards, past Davos Glaris, past Davos Frauenkirch, past Davos Clavadel down the famous switchbacks of the Bolgen trail and over the finish line in Davos!  
The Queen has been conquered! 
Stage 5: Davos -> Davos 
Distance: 65km 
Climbing: 2 150m 
Descending: 2 150m 
Synopsis: The fifth and final stage of the 2023 SPAR Swiss Epic is set in singletrail paradise, Davos Klosters. Like the name suggests, Davos is renowned for its iconic trails and Stage 5 is a celebration of singletracks as it takes in the Alps Epic Trail, the Junkerboden, Ischalp Trail and the Bolgen trail before finisher medals are awarded and celebratory local beers are enjoyed. 
Stage 5 begins in the same manner as every stage preceding it – with a climb to get the legs burning one last time. The route climbs for the first 19 kilometres, through the tiny village of Sertig Dörfli at 1 861 metres above sea level in the glacial valley and the Alps Epic Trail, which has been crowned IMBA Epic and is part of the longest singletrack in the entire country! The climb summits at Äbirügg at 2 106m and offers uninterrupted panoramic views of Davos. 
The route then heads down to Jatzmeder towards Davos Monstein where the last beer stop before heaven brews local beers that will be cold and waiting at the finish line. A series of punchy climbs and descents then point teams in the direction of Rotsch and further on to Spina and the Junkerboden where a fairy tale forest trail thrills and delights with exciting lines and amazing views over Davos. Teams then cross the Sertigbach river and retrace their steps through Davos Clavadel before turning right and climbing the Clavadeleralp. At the summit, just 10 kilometres remain! 
Teams will race across the face of the Clavadeleralp in search of the Ischalp Trail which leads directly into the Bolgen Trail for a final singletrack thrill. Once safely down, all that is left to do is cross the final finish line in Davos, grab a SPAR Swiss Epic Finisher Medal and celebrate the fact that the Alps have been conquered. 

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