Goldwurst Power-Infinity and the Gabriel Technologie teams both made it two-from-two in the 2021 Swiss Epic. The men’s and women’s race leaders extended their general classification advantages with stage victories on Stage 2, from St. Moritz to Valposchiavo, though the racing was not without drama.
Nicola Rohrbach and Lukas Flückiger extended their Swiss Epic lead with their second successive stage victory, on Stage 2 from St. Moritz to Valposchiavo. The leading women’s team, Gabriel Technologie, followed suit; also doubling up, on Wednesday 18 August. With descending dominating the day, the route played to the strengths of Ariane Lüthi and Robyn de Groot, as well as the Goldwurst Power-Infinity team. Though there was drama in the men’s race as Trek Pirelli and Showpad-Soudal crashed out while battling for the stage honours.
Samuele Porro, Fabian Rabensteiner, Frans Claes and Daniele Mensi had been leading the stage; as they sought to claw back time on the men in yellow, Rohrbach and Flückiger. In a bizarre turn of events Claes and Porro collided, resulting in both riders withdrawing from the race due to injury.
Elaborating on how the race unfolded, stage winner, Flückiger stated: “I had really good legs today actually. We climbed to the top of the Bernina Pass with a big group and then fought to start the long singletrack descent in second position. We controlled the pace well and were comfortable until Nicola [Rohrbach] punctured. That allowed Trek Pirelli and Showpad-Soudal to get a bit of a gap on us, but it was no more than 45 seconds or so.”
“Then in Valposchiavo Trek Pirelli and Showpad-Soudal had a big crash” Flückiger added. “Because of that and our advantage over Buff Scott, behind us, we had a fairly easy ride in to the finish to be honest.”
Goldwurst Power-Infinity’s winning time for the 61-kilometre-long stage was 2 hours, 43 minutes and 18 seconds. Buff Scott MTB Racing’s Hans Becking and Francesc Guerra Carretero were second 1 minute and 45 seconds back, while Konny Looser and Sören Nissen, of STOLL & Stevens Racing, rounded out the podium places on the day. Those three teams hold the top three general classification places too, with Rohrbach and Flückiger leading by 5 minutes and 40 seconds.
The women’s race, fortunately, had none of the drama of the men’s. Similarly, a large group summited the Bernina Pass together and Gabriel Technologie were again able to utilise their superior technical skills to establish an advantage on the 17-kilometre long, 1 300-metre, descent. “We’re definitely happy to have consolidated our lead by taking the win today” De Groot smiled. “But it was a tough stage! When people look at a profile and see that the descent outweighs the ascent, they think it will be easy. Today was anything but easy. The downhills were tricky and you have to stay super focused. It was pretty tiring and technical to be honest.”
“From a racing perspective, it was a bit of cat and mouse battle between the Davos Klosters Women and ourselves” the South African stated. “But we just stayed patient and rode consistently, which paid off in the end.”
Lüthi and De Groot’s consistency paid off to the tune of a 1 minute and 40 second addition to their overall advantage over Adelheid Morath and Angelika Tazreiter. The Olympia – Rdr Italy Team, of Costanza Fasolis and Claudia Peretti, were third on the stage 4 minutes and 42 seconds down on the Gabriel Technologie team. As a result, the Swiss/South African combination now lead the 2021 Swiss Epic by 5 minutes and 5 seconds over the Davos Klosters Women. Olympia – Rdr Italy are third on the general classification, a further 5 minutes and 15 seconds back.
Stage 3 is the Queen Stage of the 2021 Swiss Epic. The route from St. Moritz to Davos traverses some of Graubünden’s most iconic landscapes and includes the highest point of the race, the 2 606-metre high Scaletta Pass. Just 15-kilometres from the finish line, the first teams over the summit are likely to be the stage winners; barring punctures or crashes.
Mountain biking fans can follow the action, live. Visit www.swiss-epic.com or the race’s social media handles to see how the race unfolds. Like the Swiss Epic Facebook page, follow @swiss_epic on Instagram or follow @EpicMTBSeries on Twitter.
Results: Swiss Epic, in Graubünden
Stage 2 | Elite Men
1. Goldwurst Power- Infinity: Nicola Rohrbach and Lukas Flückiger (2:43:18)
2. Buff Scott MTB Racing: Hans Becking and Francesc Guerra Carretero (2:45:03 | +1:45)
3. STOLL & Stevens Racing: Konny Looser and Sören Nissen (2:45:20 | +2:02)
4. Buff Scott MTB Team 2: Enrique Morcillo and José Dias (2:45:37 | +2:19)
5. New Bike 2008 Racing Team 1: Franz Hofer and Domenico Valerio (2:47:00 | +3:42)
Stage 2 | Elite Women
1. Gabriel Technologie: Ariane Lüthi and Robyn de Groot (3:17:53)
2. Davos Klosters Women: Adelheid Morath and Angelika Tazreiter (3:19:33 | +1:40)
3. Olympia – Rdr Italy Team: Costanza Fasolis and Claudia Peretti (3:22:35 | +4:42)
4. EG – Lapierre: Vera Looser and Chiara Beer (3:27:57 | +10:04)
5. MTB Pro Merchandising: Alice Pirard and Greete Steinburg (3:44:30 | +26:37)
General Classification after Stage 2 | Elite Men
1. Goldwurst Power- Infinity: Nicola Rohrbach and Lukas Flückiger (5:54:40)
2. Buff Scott MTB Racing: Hans Becking and Francesc Guerra Carretero (6:00:20 | +5:40)
3. STOLL & Stevens Racing: Konny Looser and Sören Nissen (6:04:38 | +09:58)
4. KTM Brenta Brakes: Nicolas and Lorenzo Samparisi (6:05:59 | +11:19)
5. Trek-Pirelli 2: Daniel Geismayr and Gioele De Cosmo (6:07:40 | +13:00)
General Classification after Stage 2 | Elite Women
1. Gabriel Technologie: Ariane Lüthi and Robyn de Groot (7:16:48)
2. Davos Klosters Women: Adelheid Morath and Angelika Tazreiter (7:21:53 | +5:05)
3. Olympia – Rdr Italy Team: Costanza Fasolis and Claudia Peretti (7:27:08 | +10:20)
4. EG – Lapierre: Vera Looser and Chiara Beer (7:37:48 | +21:00)
5. MTB Pro Merchandising: Alice Pirard and Greete Steinburg (8:01:50 | +45:02)
To view the full results from the 2021 Swiss Epic, in Graubünden, click here