Urs Huber was the strong man of the day! And yet the five-times winner of the Grand Raid was taking part in his first MB Race, and not without apprehension. He set off in the leading group right from the beginning, and kept up the pace and resisted the pressure from the rider behind him, Arnaud Rapillard, a regular at the event.
A winner of the MB Race in 2013 and 2nd place in 2012, 2014 and 2016, Rapillard fought courageously till the very end for his second place. A number of mechanical problems brought him to a halt several times, putting an end to any hope for victory at the MB Race.
And in the last section of the race, after kilometre 100, he had to fight off the spectacular attacks of two Italians, Daniele Mensi and Luca Ronchi, who finished hand-in-hand just 17 seconds behind Arnaud.
Urs Huber: “I was well prepared, I was on form, but it was very tough! I didn’t look at the times or the kilometres, I just pedalled as hard as I could!” said the Swiss Bull of the MB Race.
Arnaud Rapillard: “I’m happy I managed to finish. I soon realised it would be tricky to catch Urs Huber. The end of the race was very tough, in the last few descents my eyes were full of mud. All I wanted to do was make it over the finishing line.”
MB Race podium of 140 km
1. Urs HUBER (SUI) – 09h57mn23
2. Arnaud RAPILLARD (SUI) – 10h19mn10
3. Daniele MENSI / Luca RONCHI (ITA) – 10h19h27
There were no women entered in the 140km event.