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Hammond and Gordon Amazed by Perskindol Swiss Epic Scenery

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Alex Buschor

Stage one on the 2018 Swiss Epic

The opening day of the 2018 Perskindol Swiss Epic saw 334 riders take on a 63 kilometre long route which started and finished in Bettmeralp. Among the 38 South Africans starters, the second largest nationality represented in the race after the host nation, were Timothy Hammond and Alan Gordon.

The pair are representing the race’s Official Tracking Partner SPOT and are racing in the colours of SPOT Africa/Insect Science. It is Hammond’s debut in the event and despite spending a few days in the Alps acclimatising beforehand the Botswana resident found the opening stage a bit of a shock to the system. “[I am] slowly starting to understand how riding works in the Alps ahead of the Perskindol Swiss Epic” he said four days before the race started.

Post stage one, he now has a much better idea having experienced racing conditions. He and Gordon completed the stage in twentieth position, 41 minutes and 15 seconds down on stage winners Noah Blöchlinger and Martin Fanger of BMC Fischer Price. “That was hectic” Hammond laughed; upon crossing the finish line in the village which is only accessible by mountain bike or on the cableway gondola. “It’s a lot more technical than the riding we’re used to. We quickly realised why everyone is riding dropper seat posts – it’s because of the rocky and steep descents. We were actually looking forward to the climbs” he recounted.

Hammond is a member of the Absa Cape Epic’s Amabubesi Finisher Club, of three time finishers, but had never experienced scenery like he did today during a mountain bike race before. “It was an absolutely beautiful day” he enthused, about the weather in a region which averages 300 days of sunshine per year. “The region is very sheer and mountainous, with snow caps on the peaks. It’s completely different for us from South Africa.”

Like many of the international riders the SPOT Africa/Insect Science team’s progress, at the Perskindol Swiss Epic, is being intently followed by their friends and family back home. “My family sent me a message yesterday. They’d been on the website and have favourited our team so they can watch our progress on the live tracker” Hammond revealed. “At home they like to be on the route, so this is the next best thing” he concluded.

To follow the action live from the canton of Valais, in Switzerland, throughout the Perskindol Swiss Epic visit www.epic-series.app/swissepic/tracking. There mountain biking fans will be able to select their favourite riders to track, as each team carries a SPOT tracking device. For more information about the race and the beautiful region it traverses visit www.swiss-epic.com.  

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