In late August you could often be forgiven for thinking summer was well and truly over in the Swiss Alps. Last weekend, the Grand Raid was raced in clear but very cold conditions, and this weekend, the 13th National Park Bike Marathon, in the Graubunden region of Switzerland. The race gets it’s name as it circles around the Swiss National Park, which celebrates it’s 100th anniversary this year. You can;t stay overnight in the park, or ride in it either. It’s kept in a very pristine state. The route traces 137km around the park, taking in 4010m of climbing – with many great views into the park, of course.
Starting in Scuol for the full distance event, there are also shorter distances that start in Fulera, Livigno and S-Chanf. All races end in the pretty town of Scuol in the lower Engadine valley.
The men’s field was a star studded line up, with another show down between Swiss XCM Champion Urs Huber, Christophe Sauser and Lukas Buchli on the cards. And that’s pretty much how the front of the race looked by the time the field was in Livigno, but with young Jeremy Huguenin (3rd at Swiss XCM Champs) just hanging on, although he was distanced on the Chaschauna Pass out of Livigno. This climb is epic, rising over 2700m in pretty short order. It hurts, and makes gaps.
Just Sauser and Huber were together across the bridge to the finish line, with Sauser getting the better of Huber, in a reverse of the Grand Raid result.
Milena Landtwing rode away with the women’s race, with a clear lead from her competitors on the first climb. Nadia Walker and Cornelia Hug were very close until the climb to the Val Mora, where Walker edged away and staye away to take 2nd ahead of Hug in 3rd.
The weather that Switzerland has experienced this summer was in full force today, with drizzle and then rain up the first 22km climb to the Pas de Costainas. The strength increased in the Val Mustair, but abated through the Val Mora until a little more strength to dampen riders backs and spirits in Livigno before starting on the Chaschauna. The weather cleared back in the Engadine Valley though, but the grime of the previous valleys were obvious on bikes and riders as they triumphantly finished in Scuol.
Full results are available on Datasport, including those of the shorter distances and other categories.