Between the World Championships in Graechen in 2019 and those planned for 2025, the Valais will remain in mountain bike marathon mode next season with Raid Evolénard hosting the European Championships on the 20th of June. A great challenge for this race, which has already organized the Swiss championships twice in recent years.
Big ambitions for the 25th edition
Over the years, the Raid Evolénard has become an unmissable event, attracting the best marathon mountain bike specialists, as well as amateurs of all levels and young riders. Our European editor rode the event in 2019.
Among the ingredients that have contributed to the success of this race are a track that crosses one of the most beautiful valleys of the Valais, a demanding, technical and fun route, a registration fee that remains well below the standards of the marathon circuit, services that meet expectations and races that are entirely free for children. After hosting the Swiss Championships in 2016 for the 20th anniversary, the organizers have decided to set the bar even higher for the 25th edition. By winning the European championships, the organizers have a magnificent opportunity to promote both the Raid Evolénard and the Valais to mountain bike enthusiasts on a continental scale!
A mountain bike weekend open to all
To satisfy both the popular and the elite, the Raid Evolénard will take place exceptionally over an entire weekend. On Saturday, the popular riders will set off as in previous editions, as part of the Garmin Bike Cup, on the 62km, 35km and 24km courses. The youngsters will take the opportunity to inaugurate the new courses, set up for the 2020 edition, which unfortunately could not take place. In the evening, many activities will be planned in collaboration with Evolène-Région Tourisme, to give a festive character to the event. Very serious things will start on Sunday with the start of the different elite and masters races for both men and women.
New routes for Europeans
The organizers were keen to set up competitions worthy of the event, by proposing new courses specially created for the occasion. The course for all categories will begin with a loop around Evolène, which will give the public the opportunity to witness the start of hostilities up close. The course will then take the racers to higher points in altitude than usual on the first loop, and will introduce them to new, highly technical singles that will most likely require them to carry their bikes on different portions of the course. However, the final climb to Béplan, at almost 2500 m.a.s.l., will still be key to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the end, the track will spread on 77km for 3900m of difference in altitude, and almost all the descents will be on singles. For Arnaud Rapillard, the rider of Team Tschopp who has already had the opportunity to recognize the course, things are clear: “We have here a real mountain bike course, which will inevitably crown a beautiful winner. The race time will clearly go beyond 4 hours for the best and the choice of the mountain bike, a fully, will quickly become obvious “. The women’s course will be slightly less demanding, with 70km for a little more than 3400m of positive elevation gain. Older riders competing in these championships will be entitled to a lighter version, with “only” 65km for a little less than 3000m of difference in altitude. Registration for the open categories will open on Wednesday, December 16 at noon, while for the licensed categories they will start later!