- Robyn de Groot showed that Cape Epic experience matters, in the Alps
- At the Cape Epic’s Swiss equivalent, a women’s team with deep South African experience proved unbeatable
- The world of extreme endurance mountain biking now prepares to move to Cape Town, in October
With its vast mountains and committed outdoor culture, Switzerland is an epicentre of global mountain biking.
According to UCI classification, the Swiss Epic is a Helvetic equivalent of South Africa’s Cape Epic and qualifies as an extreme endurance mountain bike event.
Although shorter than the week-long Cape Epic, at only five days, the Swiss Epic takes in some of the world’s best mountain bike trails and features a collection of hors categorie climbs.
The total race distance across five days is 327km, which doesn’t appear like much. But riders also have to conquer 11 000m of elevation, which means climbing Table Mountain twice per day.
A noteworthy Swiss-South African team
South Africa had a strong presence at this year’s Swiss Epic. Robyn de Groot partnered with Ariane Lüthi, to form a powerful women’s team.
Although a seasonal Stellenbosch resident, Lüthi revels racing back at home in Switzerland.
After five days of hard racing, De Groot and Lüthi powered to victory at the Swiss Epic, winning the women’s category by nearly three minutes, with a margin of 02:45.
"We’re incredibly happy," smiled Lüthi. "Everything went super smoothly throughout the Swiss Epic, in Graubünden. We had an amazing support team – with our mechanic and soigneur – helping us along the way and after every stage."
Good preperation for the real Epic
Riders and organizes will now project their schedules towards October, the Southern Hemisphere – and South Africa’s world-famous mountain bike stage race.
The Cape Epic is part of a series of linked events, categorized as the toughest multi-day stage races. The Swiss Epic is a vital
Organizers have datelined the third week of October for the Cape Epic. The team of De Groot and Lüthi, which count multiple Cape Epic wins between them, will be favourites in the women’s category.