Under perfect sunny skies, Switzerland’s spectacular Gstaad was once again home of the start to the third and final stage of the Snow Bike Festival. This stage took the riders from the town’s Promenade through the picturesque Chalet area of Gstaad, deep into the Turbachtal and then down the stunning Lauenental, before turning down the ski slopes of Wispile to the finish line.
Men’s Snow Bike
Will Nicola Rohrbach be able to defend his Qloom leader jersey? His advantage on the very strong Florian Chenaux sits at just around 45 seconds?
Nicola Rohrbach quickly took a commanding lead and race ahead to secure himself the Land Rover Mountain Prize, leaving his closest rivals over one minute behind him. Rohrbach defended his lead down past the stunning village of Lauenen, securing his lead on the way back to the Land Rover Finish Village, crossing the finish line first, after 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Chenaux secured second place, after a hard fight with Sascha Weber and Joris Ryf, resulting in another 3rd place for Germany’s Weber and an excellent 4th place for the young Swiss Joris Ryf.
Women’s snow bike
A surprise in the women’s race. Hielke Elferink, the winner of the 2016 Snow Bike Festival, raced ahead shortly after the start and defended her lead all the way to the Land Rover Finish Village, maintaining a four-minute gap. Why this sudden change of fortune? Elferink struggled a lot with the setup of her fat bike, and for today’s stage she chose a normal mountain bike and showed a solid performance. “I felt something was wrong. I had a good season and I trained a lot, not too intensive, but even so. I could not explain why I couldn’t compete with Leumann and Süss. I just tried using another bike, and it felt so much better!”, she said.
Elferink is the only woman who has been able to beat Katrin Leumann who led from the first stage. Leumann finished second, with Süss in third. It was another close race between Leumann and Süss. Cornelia Hug finishes in 4th and Nathalie Schneitter 5th.
In the GC Nicola Rohrbach and Katrin Leumann secured victories at the first UCI stage race on snow. Florian Chenaux and Markus Bauer finished 2nd and 3rd. The women’s podium was completed by Esther Süss (2nd) and Cornelia Hug (3rd).