Earlier this week, it was announced that Switzerland will finally have the MTB Stage Race to showcase the terrain that the country boasts. Switzerland’s new six-day mountain bike stage race from Verbier through Leukerbad and Grächen and ending in Zermatt will take place in 2014. This week’s test ride let the first riders experience the flowing singletrack route and was a brilliant premiere for the trail. More than 80 mountain bike enthusiasts took on the challenge. From September 15-20, 2014 around 600 professionals and ambitious amateur athletes in teams of two will take on the scenic tour. With a distance of 400 km and an elevation gain of 15,000 meters, the course will be a challenge to even professional riders. Downhill bikers can choose the somewhat shorter SWISS EPIC FLOW at 300 km and just 8000 meters of climb, with a shuttle service to transport bikes and riders.
The Valais region in Western Switzerland holds countless trails for the race on September 15- 20, 2014. With Verbier, Leukerbad, Grächen, and Zermatt among the destinations, some of Switzerland’s most beautiful regions are included in the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC. These communities are using this special opportunity to push mountain bike tourism in their regions.
“We’re really honoured and excited to be a destination in the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC. The event gives us the opportunity to work together with service providers in the region to establish a full range of mountain biking activities and routes as well as to make them known”, said Daniel Luggen, Director of Zermatt Tourism.
Only four locations are used for the race, which means less packing and unpacking, and more recovery. Or time for apertivo – depending on your racing goals and aspirations. Nino Schurter, reigning world champion in cross country believes in the race’s format, and looks forward to his participation in 2014:
“What I like about the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC besides its attractive route is that team spirit is also very important. In addition, Switzerland as a mountain bike country hasn’t yet had a world class race – this will surely soon change with the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC.”
The UCI has classified the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC as a S2 race, joining many other stage races around the globe that offer UCI points – this is a great way to attract top racers and increase the competitiveness of the race from the first iteration.
The race format in teams of two is unusual and one of a kind in Switzerland. PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC seeks to celebrate mountain biking as a sport with those who are enthusiastic about it. Three different all-inclusive packages are available to participants: SWISS EPIC Heaven, SWISS EPIC Comfort, and SWISS EPIC Camper, which differ in the comfort of the accommodations and food. Avid mountain bike enthusiasts can enrol as early as 13.10.2013 at 1:10 pm at www.swissepic.com for the chance to win a team starting-place. The number of places is limited to 300 teams.
There are four categories in the SWISS EPIC: Ladies, Men, Mixed, and Masters. Downhill riders or those who would prefer a shorter track can select the SWISS EPIC FLOW race of 300 km and 8000 meters of altitude in the categories of Ladies, Men, and Mixed. The climbs are partially bypassed thanks to a shuttle service that transports both bikes and bikers. Companies are invited to submit corporate teams of six. For these teams, three two-person teams will race and a cumulative rating – two teams will negotiate the SWISS EPIC, and one team the SWISS EPIC FLOW. In addition, the corporate teams will support the project Rwanda Cycling through the contribution included in the registration fee.
Visit the website www.swissepic.com for more details, and to sign up.