It feels like the action and excitement of the third Perskindol Swiss Epic has only just subsided, but already a clean edit of some of the action is online. For the 2016 edition, the Swiss Epic put the race into reverse, and created a stage plan that is as diverse as possible.
With a prologue starting well above 3000m to start the race, teams who could really get an advantage on the descents were given a gift – but the arrival of Stage One and over 3000m of climbing meant that teams who really wanted to fight for an overall position needed to be in top shape.
And in part, that is a perfect example of what mountain biking in Switzerland involves. You work for the downhills, but the scenery and trails fully deliver. The trails of the Valais in-particular have been worn in by use over centuries. These small trails are discovered by the route-setters, and in negotiations with land owners and committees, they are opened for the race. Riders in the Swiss Epic are not permitted to post their rides to Strava – some of the routes need to remain secret, a privilege just for those who came to race.
In the 2016 Swiss Epic, two teams really dominated. The BMC Mountainbike Team were never truly threatened in their lead of the men’s category, and the Stockli Pro team had a brilliant race, winning every stage in the women’s category.
But while the sun was warm and bright for the start of the race, the final day in Verbier was a reminder that summer is on the way out. Epic images showed the trails hiding in the mist in the mountains around Verbier, where the race’s final battles were played out.
If you missed any of our coverage from the 2016 Swiss Epic, you can catch up with it stage-by-stage right here: