Today’s elevation gain of 3,333 metres was the biggest of the entire race, with the fourth-stage Grächen–Grächen circuit covering a distance of 74 kilometres. Daniel Geismayr and Jochen Käss of team CENTURION VAUDE won the day, putting their team in the overall lead. In the women’s event, Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans from the team Specialized II maintained a healthy lead.


Follow our editor’s Swiss Epic diary here:

Part 1 – Bringing a cannon to a gunfight

Part 2 – Chamois cream is like lip salve

The fourth stage of the six-day PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC mountain bike race covered the 74-kilometre circuit from Grächen back to Grächen. Today’s elevation gain of 3,333 metres was the biggest of the entire race, but it was also the crowning stage in terms of flow. First of all, the course followed a suone, a water channel typical of the Valais region, then down into Stalden. A long climb was followed by the longest single-trail descent of the whole race: 12 kilometres of exceptional flow with countless bermed corners and exciting stretches of roots. The course also took the riders past a bizarre landscape previously charred by a forest fire – before giving them their first sight of the world-famous Matterhorn. After another draining ascent, the riders finally arrived back in Grächen.


Team CENTURION VAUDE takes the overall lead

Things were shaken up a little today in the peloton in the SWISS EPIC Men category. Daniel Geismayr and Jochen Käss of team CENTURION VAUDE took the day’s win with a time of 3 hrs 50 mins, a good three and a half minutes ahead of Lukas Buchli and Mathias Flückiger of team Stöckli-BiXS in second place, therefore just snatching the overall lead. This means we can expect a full-throttle showdown in tomorrow’s final stage. Once again, third place went to Lukas Flückiger and Ralph Näf of BMC Mountainbike Racing Team.


Things remained unchanged in the SWISS EPIC Women category: Annika Langvad and Ariane Kleinhans of team Specialized II won with a time of 4 hrs 54 mins and now have a 52-minute lead over Esther Süss and Elferink Hielke, team Wheeler iXS, who are in second place in the overall rankings. The Mixed category was won once again by Milena Landtwing and Bärti Bucher, who built on their overall lead with a time of 4 hrs 56 mins. The same went for Pierre Bourquenoud and Serge Robadey in the Masters category after another victory, timed at 5 hrs 02 mins.


The SWISS EPIC FLOW race format featured new winners today with Marco Toniolo and Andy Benz in the men’s category, although the overall lead remains comfortably with Phil Meier and Florian Golay. The Mixed category continues to be dominated by Simon Ruchti and Monika Büchi.
For a complete rundown of the rankings, click here.


Schurter/Vogel and Sauser/Kulhavy pull out

After Florian Vogel’s fall, which resulted in a slight hand injury, team fa- vourites SCOTT-Odlo with Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel had to pull out today. Top team Specialized I with Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy also had to withdraw: following his fall the day before yesterday, Christoph Sauser’s knee pain became too much to handle. He could hardly hide his disappointment: „It’s a pity being forced to give up a stage race, espe- cially for Jaroslav Kulhavy who I’ve been riding in a team with. He will be doing the last stage on his own now, non-competitive, as training. It’s go- ing to be his first time in Zermatt – and I’m sure he will love it.”

Tomorrow will see the fifth and final stage of the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC race, covering a distance of 60 kilometres with an elevation gain of 2,400 metres from Grächen to Zermatt. The SWISS EPIC Men category in particular promises an exciting day. The riders are expected to start crossing the finish line in the late morning.

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Words & Pictures: Perskindol Swiss Epic PR

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