Canadian Cyclist


September 11/18 18:36 pm - Pendrel & Smith 2nd on Stage 1 of Swiss Epic

Posted by Editoress on 09/11/18

The 2018 Perskindol Swiss Epic kicked off five days of challenging yet rewarding mountain biking in Bettmeralp on Tuesday. This year's edition sees riders navigate some 50 municipalities in the fairytale-like Valais region, while surrounded by jagged Alpine peaks. Riders cover 50-80 km each day with 1800-2800m of climbing before arriving in Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn on Saturday. 334 athletes left the race village this morning under clear skies, setting off on a 63 km loop, culminating in the main obstacle of the day - a tough 10 km climb back up to the traditional Swiss village.

Dark horse team BMC Fischer Price struck the first blow in the men's category, snatching victory from team Scott-SRAM. Swiss riders Martin Fanger and Noah Blöchlinger crossed the line first on Stage 1, 55 seconds ahead of Matthias Stirnemann and Andri Frischknecht.  Canada's Sean Fincham and Andrew L'Esperance were tenth.

In the women's field, Team Canada's Catharine Pendrel and Haley Smith looked set to take the stage all morning, passing the checkpoints in the lead with a small margin over Team Thömus' Alessandra Keller and Katrin Stirnemann. But their ride was not without incident. "There was a moment of inattention and I hit a rock that knocked me off the track and into a cow fence," said the two-time world champion Pendrel at the finish line showing a scratched cheek.

The tumble did little to discourage the two-time world champion and Olympic medallist - it was the final climb that was the Canadian team's undoing. Locals Keller and Stirnemann set a steady pace, with Pendrel and Smith in their sights all the way up. With the hare ahead, Team Thömus moved up to the Canadians and gained contact with them in time for the final technical section, where they made their move.

The Swiss riders pressed home their advantage to gain 36 seconds and take the win and the overall lead. Keller was delighted. "I have never wore a leader's jersey before. For sure we want to keep it till the end and try our best but we want to enjoy ourselves too!" said the newly-crowned Under 23 world champion.

Still very much in touch of the leaders overall, losing the stage didn't seem to affect Pendrel's morale, clearly enjoying the Alpine scenery,  "It's like riding through a postcard here!"

Pendrel's enthusiasm must have been contagious. Spirits were high in the race village, with riders visibly inspired by the landscapes and the challenge of navigating the tight and narrow trails. "I have never ridden such incredible trails before in my life anywhere - we had a ball," says Heinrich Tait of master team Chocolate Block, from South Africa.

Tomorrow's stage is starts as spectacularly as the Stage 1 ended. Transitioning to Grächen, the 'high road' above the Rhone Valley sees a glimpse of the race's final destination - the Matterhorn. This marks the start of a glorious descent to Mörel, passing the only saffron cultivation in Switzerland. At the end of the day, riders will have worked hard for their dinners, having climbed 2700m in 77 km.


Stage 1: Bettmeralp to Bettmeralp, 63 km - 2700m of climbing
1 Thömus / RN Racing Team (Kathrin Stirnemann/Alessandra Keller) 4:03:56.5
2 Team Canada (Haley Smith/Catharine Pendrel) at 0:36.6
3 GHOST FACTORY RACING (Barbara Benko/Anne Terpstra) 0:10:12.6
4 BikeFreak-Magazine - Merida-Scott (Alice Pirard/Cornelia Hug) 0:18:54.7
5 jb BRUNEX Felt Factory Team women (Ramona Forchini/Lara Krähemann) 0:28:36.2
6 Hammer Nutrition (Nina Brenn/Tamara Burkhardt) 0:36:10.0
7 Maloja - Rocky Mountain Team (Angela Siller/Simone Kießling) 2:53:49.5
8 Redhotchillipedlars (Heidi Kornmuller/Wilna Marais) 3:17:51.8
1 BMC Fischer Price (Noah Blöchlinger/Martin Fanger) 3:16:46.2
2 SCOTT-SRAM MTB RACING (Matthias Stirnemann/Andri Frischknecht) at 0:55.5
3 BiXS Pro Team (Hansueli Stauffer/Konny Looser) 3:55.9
4 Team USA Red (Christopher Blevins/Keegan Swenson) 8:41.3
5 Texpa-Simplon (Michael Stünzi/Franz Hofer) 9:57.1
6 SCOTT development MTB Team (Andrin Beeli/Reece Tucknott) 10:14.1
7 BUFF SCOTT MTB TEAM (Francesc Guerra/Enrique Morcillo) 13:02.9
8 Team USA White (Lukas Vrouwenvelder/Jerry Dufour) 15:27.9
9 Team Papival Bergamont - Dom Cycle (Rémy Dénervaud/Gilles Mottiez) 17:51.8
10 Forward Racing-Norco (Andrew L'Esperance/Sean Fincham) 19:20.8
11 Tropical/Ski&Velo-Center (Jan Schär/Lukas Bucher) 20:14.4
12 SCOTT development MTB Team 2 (Timon Rüegg/Kevin Kuhn) 21:59.1
13 BRUNEX Felt Factory Team III (Fabio Spena/Fabio Püntener) 24:08.9
14 ROSEbikes RACINGTEAM (Steffen Thum/Rob Vanden Haesevelde) 28:49.9
15 Team HiQ (Henrik Sparr/Calle Friberg) 34:24.4
16 #suimtbo racing (Simon Brändli/Adrian Jäggi) 35:46.2
17 World of MTB (Holger Schaarschmidt/Sönke Wegner) 37:02.7
18 WOO Nutrition Racing Team (Fadri Barandun/Lars Zumstein) 37:39.6
19 Team Greenhope / Cornercard (Ralph Näf/Gregory Rast) 40:18.7
20 SPOT Africa/Insect Science (Timothy Hammond/Alan Gordon) 41:15.1
21 Kolmården MTB (Fredrik Lagercrantz/Stefan Carlsson) 1:03:19.8
22 - Multitask Industries (Michiel Van Aelbroeck/Kris De Nef) 1:03:38.6
23 GAMAIA SPORTS SINCAL (Enrico Julio/Rodrigo Jean) 1:12:50.4
24 (David Zysset/Andreas Dähler) 1:19:07.7
25 jb BRUNEX Felt Factory Team (Thomas Litscher/Max Foidl) 1:20.39.2
26 / HP Architekten (Curdin Lüthi/Carlo Siefermann) 1:24.16.7
27 Team GRENZBEREICH (Thomas Rückel/Matthew Gribbin) 1:34.13.3
28 Engadin Express Stöckli/Cube (Markus Enzler/Rico Zanchetti) 1:38.18.7
29 Sarto (David Grenier/Sidney Boisvert) 1:43.03.7
30 Vallemaggia's Rock Team (Paolo Bettazza/Daniele Zanini) 1:43.28.3
31 Pipe et Juju (Julien Gavillet/David Giller) 1:43.34.3
32 GranMyhr (Daniel Myhr/Stefan Granström) 1:49.27.9
33 Steffi Velosport Chur (Bernhard Aebli/Björn Tschenett) 1:54.09.7
34 Proneuch bike (Steve Probst/Frederic Monard) 1:54.57.8
35 Team SSS Norway (Arne Rettedal/Staale Josdal) 1:56.00.8
36 Rheinlandauswahl A (Andreas Frey/Bastian Plag) 2:00.24.1
37 Perskindol-ANS-R3 (Chak Shing, Ken Cheng/Ho Wai, Kevin Yim) 2:02.09.6
38 Two random dudes (Bart Houben/Steven Claes) 2:04.17.8
39 Bassie en Adriaan (Jasper Van Heeswijk/Daan Van Der Steen) 2:04.47.0
40 Meier/Kälin (Peter Meier/Sebastian Kälin) 2:06.35.4
41 Pyromaniacs 2 (Herbert De Praetere/Gregory Sergeant) 2:09.00.8
42 Wolfpack (John Wakefield/Nelson Ferriera) 2:12.34.2
43 Maloja-Rocky Mountain (Nils Friedrich/Artur Wall) 2:35.03.3
44 Shake n Bake (Dane Coppin/Matt Eagar) 2:37.29.3
45 La Carrera Radpiraten (Thomas Bittl/Michael Fuchs) 2:42.45.1
46 PYROMANIACS 1 (Luk Verhelst/Peter Ruette) 2:43.19.0
47 Kohler Seeland (Daniel Gosteli/Martin Streit) 2:44.51.0
48 Rock Knockers (Simon Mann/Sito Busman) 2:46.14.7
49 VC Keystone Kops (Glenn Chamberlin/Andrew Bye) 2:49.53.2
50 Asterix und Obelix (Arne Fischer/Lutz Zimmer) 2:53.42.1
51 2 Radsurfer (Claudio Parietti/Jürgen Pichler) 3:31.59.2
52 THE PACOS (Víctor Joana/Sergi Meseguer) 3:50.35.6
53 Team Aktivitus (Johan Liedberg/Joakim Pålsson) 3:57.26.6
54 Legend Chx (Christophe Villemin/Florentin Matteudi) 3:59.53.7
55 Hotel Tropic Park Malgrat de Mar (Eusebi Vasquez/Antoni Lopez) 4:11.55.6
56 XIWU-BIKETO (Zhenjiang Sha/Jiayu He) 4:39.56.7


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