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Young Guns Maturing into Local Heroes

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Shannon Valstar (Grandstand)

Stage 3 of the 2018 Swiss Epic

At the 2017 Absa Cape Epic, Swiss mountain bikers, Andri Frischknecht and Matthias Stirnemann, despite not racing together, were two of the standout young stars. Fast forward a year and a half and the pair both suffered the heartache of a DNF at the 2018 Absa Cape Epic but are more than making amends with stellar rides at the Perskindol Swiss Epic.

The SCOTT SRAM riders started the race with the daunting honour of pinning the numbers 1-1 and 1-2 to their bikes and kit. They have however not let the pressure get to them, as they have ridden a perfectly measured race so far. Despite claiming their first stage victory of the 2018 Perskindol Swiss Epic on the penultimate stage, from Grächen to Zermatt on Friday, the pair has been in yellow since the conclusion of Stage 2.

Frischknecht and Stirnemann have finished second, third, second and finally first, on the four stages thus far – but their consistency has seen them carve out a commanding 15 minute lead over their Swiss compatriots; Hansueli Stauffer and Konny Looser, riding as BiXS Pro Team. Their rivals for stage honours over the last two stages meanwhile have been the USA Cycling combination of Christopher Blevins and Keegan Swenson. Blevins is a name now familiar to mountain biking fans as he entered the Perskindol Swiss Epic hot off his U23 World Championship silver medal – behind South African Alan Hatherly – on the Friday before the stage race started.

Showing a remarkable maturity for riders just 24 and 26 years of age, Frischknecht and Stirnemann did not let the lack of a stage win affect their tactics; rather they relied on the knowledge that placing themselves in the right positions would eventually pay dividends. “Today was nice with the stage win” a still puffing Frischknecht said from the finish line in Zermatt. “We were really trying hard the last few days, but today the luck was on our side. And more importantly we’re well positioned for the overall”

“Today the route was really nice. I think it had the most singletrack of all the stages. It was also very technical, towards the end of the stage. And slippery with the rain” the young Swiss star concluded, confirming once more just how technical the riding has been at the Perskindol Swiss Epic.

Many visiting riders, especially those from South Africa, have been amazed by the demanding technical nature of the routes and the skill of the Swiss riders. The preconceived notion of the race featuring just long alpine ascents and the riders being solely a group of skinny climbers has been radically shifted by the race. As it proved the value of expanding one’s riding horizons.

To see if Frischknecht and Stirnemann can maintain their lead and secure the 2018 Perskindol Swiss Epic on Saturday’s final Stage – which starts and finishes in Zermatt – log on to www.epic-series.app/swissepic/tracking. While for more information about the race and to view the full results board please visit www.swiss-epic.com

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