Swiss superstars start at the Swiss Epic in Graubünden
The Olympic and multiple World Champion Nino Schurter starts with the SCOTT-SRAM Team for the late season opener at this year's Swiss Epic in Graubünden. Schurter will compete in the race together with Lars Forster. The two Swiss are among the top favourites, having already won the legendary Absa Cape Epic in South Africa in 2019. But there are two more Swiss drivers who will be competing for the victory in Graubünden: Andri Frischknecht and Matthias Stirnemann won the Swiss Epic 2018 and will do everything they can to repeat their triumph. With Thomas Frischknecht and his team mate SCOTT-SRAM will provide another team that will fight beside the pros for the Grand Masters title at the most important international MTB stage race of the year.
"I am very happy to finally return to the racing scene", says Nino Schurter. "After the cancellation of the Absa Cape Epic, it's great that we can now use the Swiss Epic as a season opener for the World Cup season that will start afterwards. But for me the Swiss Epic is more than just a preparation race: I want to win in Graubünden. The fact that I can fight for victory on the trails in my home country makes it all the more special - because a success at the Swiss Epic is still missing in my Palmarès. I will do everything I can to change this."
Matthias Stirnemann and Andri Frischknecht would have originally supported the Schurter/Forster duo at the Absa Cape Epic in March. About six months later, their role at the Swiss Epic in Graubünden could be a little different, because in addition to supporting the team leaders, they too are looking forward to overall victory. Stirnemann knows his most prominent opponent very well: He won the Absa Cape Epic in 2017 with Nino Schurter.
"Swiss Epic in Graubünden is actually more strenuous than the Cape Epic in South Africa because of the many climbs", says Andri Frischknecht about the comparison between the two races of the worldwide Epic Series event series. "However, it is shorter and has the advantage that we know the terrain in Switzerland a little better than in South Africa." The long break from competition wasn't an easy time even for experienced professionals like Frischknecht. "Fortunately, we were able to train in Switzerland, outdoors at all times. Therefore the break was rather psychologically demanding. With the Swiss Epic in Graubünden we now have a clear goal in mind. This has given me additional motivation to train even harder."
Andris Vater, the SCOTT-SRAM team manager Thomas "Frischi" Frischknecht is also taking part in the five-day stage race again. However, the 1996 Olympic silver medallist will approach the race differently than before. "For me nowadays the fun factor is much more important than the performance aspect", explains Frischknecht. "I enjoy being part of the field and feeling the race atmosphere." As a co-founder of the race, he also observes its development: "I am delighted to see the Swiss Epic growing," he says. "Founded as a start-up in 2014, it is now well on its way to becoming the best stage race in Europe. Even under the difficult circumstances this year, I am convinced that we will have an exceptionally strong professional field at the start".
The organizers expect more than 250 teams of two at the start of the Swiss Epic in Graubünden. In addition to the SCOTT SRAM Team, numerous other top riders are interested in participating and are expected to provide the strongest field in the history of the Swiss Epic. Their announcement will be made as soon as the participation is confirmed.
Arosa Horizons Teams
The Swiss Epic 2020 will take place from 18 - 22 August and the 2-man race teams will be in Arosa from Wednesday to Friday, 19 - 21 August. In addition to the licensed pros, three teams will also be riding for Arosa under the name "Arosa Horizonte": Christoph Sauser and Silvio Bundi, the two former mountain bike pros and winners of the Cape Epic in 2006, the brothers Thomas and Volker Martins from the Chaostheater Oropax and the locals Markus Thommen and Daniel Wohlgensinger.