Wrap-Up Swiss Epic Title in Style
Nino Schurter and Lars Forster wrapped up the 2020 Swiss Epic title in fine style. The SCOTT-SRAM combination had no need to win the final stage, in Davos, but they did so regardless; ensuring that they put an exclamation point on an emphatic victory.
Nino Schurter’s hunger for victories has clearly not been dampened by an absence from racing. The SCOTT-SRAM star and his teammate, Lars Forster, raced to their fourth stage win of the 2020 Swiss Epic; in Davos on Saturday, 22 August. In so doing they wrapped-up the title, securing the crown by an emphatic 10 minutes and 32 seconds.
Right from the off, on the 61-kilometre-long final stage, Schurter was eager to drive the pace. The multiple World Champion was in no mood to let his rivals make the racing close. His relentless approach, which he was unable to channel into races due to the Covid-19 enforced cancellation or postponement of most mountain biking events in 2020, led to the men’s field being whittled down on the opening climb.
The route aided Schurter in his bid to make the day a tough one for everyone else in the Swiss Epic. From the gun, the course climbed; rising from Davos, at 1 500 metres above sea level, to the highest point of the day, at 2 321 metres, within 10 kilometres. Only Trek Pirelli 1 and TEXPA-SIMPLON could match SCOTT-SRAM initially.
BMC Fischer’s Casey South and Noah Blöchlinger used the magnificent Panorama Trail to bridge across to the leaders, swelling the group to four teams. For a while thereafter, Schurter was content to let the pace drop as Fabian Rabensteiner and Samuele Porro took over control, of the quartet of teams. The Italians did not allow it to become too easy, however; under their watch, Andreas Seewald and Markus Kaufmann were shed from the group. Followed soon after by South and Blöchlinger.
On the climb to the trail head of the Ischalp Trail, the final spectacular singletrack of the 2020 Swiss Epic, Schurter sent Forster to the front. Though the junior partner in the SCOTT-SRAM team looked all but spent, he managed to hold off Rabensteiner and Porro enough to ensure that he and Schurter led into the final singletrack.
The 5-kilometre-long Ischalp Trail winds its way down towards Davos from nearly 2 000 metres above sea level. This gave SCOTT-SRAM the opportunity to rely upon their superb technical skills. Berm after berm, root and rock after root and rock they edged away from Trek Pirelli 1. By the foot of the trail, they held a lead of over 40 seconds.
With that, the Stage 5 victory was sealed and along with it the overall Swiss Epic crown. “It’s a beautiful victory. It’s different to winning a cross country race or even the Absa Cape Epic, because of all the climbing” Schurter reflected. “I’m really happy to have the Swiss Epic victory on my palmarès. The entire week went almost perfectly,…