The Queen Stage of the 2022 SPAR Swiss Epic saw just 3 seconds separating the top three teams, after 100 kilometres of racing from Laax to Davos; on Friday, 19 August.
Singer Racing’s Martin Frey and Simon Stiebjahn broke Wilier Pirelli’s run of stage wins, beating BUFF MEGAMO and the men in yellow in a sprint to the line. Davos Klosters Women were unrelenting in their bid to complete a clean sweep of victories, holding off MTB Pro Merchandising - Team Cingolani in a fiercely contested sprint.
Early overcast and misty conditions gave way to cold rain later in the stage as the route traversed the mountains, in an easterly direction from Laax to Davos. Fortunately for the teams the day never crested 2 000 metres, so the weather they were exposed to was less severe than it would have been among the high peaks. Still, it was a relentlessly challenging day.
“The first two hours were okay,” a visibly shivering Adelheid Morath recounted. “But then it really started pouring with rain. After the tunnel section, with 20 kilometres to go, I got really, really cold. At the Junkerboden tech zone I stopped to put my jacket on. I knew that when I stopped MTB Pro Merchandising - Team Cingolani would attack. Which they did and I had to close that gap. When I caught them, I attacked as well, because I wanted to get warm. But I just didn’t warm up. So I had to stop again and put a buff on. Janina [Wüst] and Debora [Piana] then attacked again and I had to chase again.”
“Then the last part was quite a fun race to Davos,” Morath smiled. “We were in the singletracks and having fun. But still if you were in the front of the group you had to work hard and really push the pedals to keep the pace high. In the end we won it in the sprint.”
For the first time in this year’s race Davos Klosters did not extend their overall lead though. Their time of 5 hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds was matched by MTB Pro Merchandising - Team Cingolani. The result means that Bettina Janas Morath’s general classification lead remains 13 minutes and 37 seconds over Janina Wüst and Debora Piana. Efficient Infiniti Insure / Rare Street Coffee’s Vera Looser and Kim le Court were third on the stage and remain in third overall, now 42 minutes down on the overall classification.
In the men’s race there were new stage winners for the first time in the race. After three second positions Singer Racing managed to cross the finish line first. “Winning a stage is always special,” Stiebjahn confessed. “Winning the Queen Stage, especially in these conditions, is great.”
Explaining how the day panned out, Stiebjahn added: “It was quite a tactical race today. The speed was not that high, especially on the flats. Towards the end it was an advantage to know the region. I was here for training, in Davos, to see some parts of the course and even though I didn’t know exactly where the route was going all the time it still helped to know where we were. Then at the end, when we had to walk up the stairs I knew exactly where we were and just went full gas. I managed to open up a little gap and then fortunately Martin [Frey] could bring home the victory in the sprint.”
Stiebjahn and Frey held off Hans Becking and José Dias to take line honours on the day. While Wilier Pirelli Factory’s Fabian Rabensteiner and Daniel Geismayr played it safer, opting not to contest the sprint but rather roll across the line behind Singer Racing and BUFF MEGAMO. Becking and Dias’s efforts on the day moved them up into fourth overall, ahead of their teammates Hugo Drechou and Enrique Morcillo Vergara. 6 minutes and 8 seconds separates them from the final podium position, which is held by Dario Cherchi and Martino Tronconi, of KTM ALCHEMIST & ATTITUDE.
A similar margin, of 6 minutes and 18 seconds, is Wilier Pirelli’s buffer over Singer Racing. To see if Frey and Stiebjahn can put Rabensteiner and Geismayr under pressure on the final stage, or if Becking and Dias can move up to third, tune in to www.epic-series.com/swissepic. Stage 5 takes in the trails of Singletrail Paradise Davos. It features 58 kilometres of racing and 1 850 metres of climbing, including highlights like Panorama, Gotschnaboden, Drusatscha, Flüela, Ischalp and Bolgen Trails.
2022 SPAR Swiss Epic Results:
Men’s Stage 4 Results
1. Singer Racing Team: Martin Frey & Simon Stiebjahn (4:09:48)
2. Buff Megamo: Hans Becking & José Dias (4:09:50 | +02)
3. Wilier Pirelli Factory: Fabian Rabensteiner & Daniel Geismayr (4:09:51 | +03)
4. KTM ALCHEMIST & ATTITUDE: Dario Cherchi & Martino Tronconi (4:10:42 | +54)
5. Laax: Andrin Beeli & Frans Claes (4:10:42 | +54)
Women’s Stage 4 Results
1. Davos Klosters Women: Bettina Janas & Adelheid Morath (5:14:32)
2. MTB Pro Merchandising - Team Cingolani: Janina Wüst & Debora Piana (5:14:32 | +00)
3. Efficient Infiniti Insure / Rare Street Coffee: Vera Looser & Kim le Court (5:37:43 | +23:11)
4. Velo Flütsch: Alessia Nay & Antonia Bünter (5:48:31 | +33:59)
5. MTBcamps: Maaris Meier & Liisa Ehrberg (6:00:02 | +45:30)
Men’s General Classification after Stage 4:
1. Wilier Pirelli Factory: Fabian Rabensteiner & Daniel Geismayr (13:42:23)
2. Singer Racing Team: Martin Frey & Simon Stiebjahn (13:48:41 | +6:18)
3. KTM ALCHEMIST & ATTITUDE: Dario Cherchi & Martino Tronconi (14:02:06 | +19:43)
4. Buff Megamo: Hans Becking & José Dias (14:09:14 | +25:51)
5. Buff Megamo 2: Hugo Drechou & Enrique Morcillo Vergara (14:09:14 | +26:51)
Women’s General Classification after Stage 4:
1. Davos Klosters Women: Bettina Janas & Adelheid Morath (17:23:29)
2. MTB Pro Merchandising - Team Cingolani: Janina Wüst & Debora Piana (17:37:06 | +13:37)
3. Efficient Infiniti Insure / Rare Street Coffee: Vera Looser & Kim le Court (18:05:45 | +42:16)
4. Velo Flütsch: Alessia Nay & Antonia Bünter (19:20:17 | +1:56:48)
5. MTBcamps: Maaris Meier & Liisa Ehrberg (19:54:20| +2:30:51)