The German Team BULLS combination, of Martin Frey and Simon Schneller, rode home as the champions of the inaugural Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees; with two stage wins. In the women’s race, Sandra Mairhofer and Costanza Fasolis, of RDR Italy Leynicese Racing Team, notched up a perfect four from four, stage victories, on their way to the 2021 title.
The final stage of the inaugural Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees saw Team BULLS and RDR Italy Leynicese Racing Team wrap up the 2021 titles. Having led on the general classification going into Stage 3, on Saturday 3 July, Martin Frey and Simon Schneller were able to secure the title by finishing fourth on the day. In the women’s race, Sandra Mairhofer and Costanza Fasolis rode to their fourth successive stage win, ensuring a clean sweep of stage and general classification honours.
Stage 3, after Friday’s Queen Stage, was another short but intense test. It measured just 49 kilometres long and included 1 300 metres of climbing. A long descent, which dropped 1 200 metres in elevation, over 15 kilometres, provided a fitting end to a spectacular four days of riding. It also ensured that the most technically adept teams were, once again, the most successful on the day.
On the day this proved to be Wilier 7C Force 1. Johnny Cattaneo and Martino Tronconi had come close to a stage win on the Prologue, where they finished just 8 seconds behind Team BULLS, but their persistence never wavered, and their efforts were eventually rewarded with line honours on the final day of the race. They were followed across the finish line, in La Massana, by JBG2 CryoSpace and the BUFF Scott MTB Team. Team BULLS finished fourth, 1 minute and 53 seconds down on the stage winners; but that was good enough to secure the overall title by 2 minutes over Jakub Zamroźniak and Krzysztof Łukasik.
Having battled back from fifth to third on the general classification, the Wilier 7C Force 1 team were happy with their efforts in the Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees. “It was a really good day today” Tronconi allowed. “We attacked after 4 kilometres and managed to build a little gap. We then managed to hold that advantage until JBG2 CryoSpace caught us on the day’s long downhill. But we had saved some energy for a last effort and attacked again in the last 10 kilometres. That was enough to allow us to win the final stage.”
Willier 7C Force 1’s winning margin was 29 seconds, after 2 hours, 4 minutes and 36 seconds of racing. Despite finishing fourth on the day, Team BULLS comfortably secured the Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees title. Frey and Schneller had ridden an intelligent race, establishing their lead on the Prologue and Stage 1, then managing their efforts over the next two days in a fine display of professionalism.
“We’re super happy to have taken the win in the first ever Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees” Frey smiled. “It was four really hard, demanding days so to finish it off with an overall victory feels amazing.” “I’d definitely recommend the race to professional and amateur riders alike” Schneller added. “It’s not too long and it’s great fun to ride. The landscapes and the scenery are amazing, and the trails are even better. The race is also perfectly organised, so it has everything you need to have a fun four days on your mountain bike.”
In the women’s race, Sandra Mairhofer and Costanza Fasolis capped a perfect Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees with another stage victory. The RDR Italy Leynicese Racing Team added another 6 minutes and 59 seconds to their overall advantage, taking their general classification margin to a massive 31 minutes and 6 seconds. MTB Pro Merchandising’s Alice Pirard and Greete Steinburg were second on the stage and overall, while Ariane Lüthi and Sandra Jordá, of Orbea Factory Team Women, completed the podium places on the day and on the general classification.
“We’re really happy! Really satisfied with the four days of racing” Mairhofer grinned. “It was an important race and an important goal for us, so I’m ecstatic that we were able to fight for four stage victories and the overall title.” “It was a beautiful race” Mairhofer’s teammate Fasolis contributed. “Especially the singletrack in the mountain!”
Beyond the Elite men’s and women’s races there was age group racing for the Masters, and Grand Masters men, as well as the Mixed category. The 2021 Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees Masters title was won by Karl Platt and Michael Anthes of the Team BULLS Masters. Harmeling Sport Geluk’s Rob and Raymond Harmeling won the Grand Masters division; while Joaquim Rodriguez and Virginia Cancellieri, of ORBEA Factory, won the Mixed category after four fiercely contested stages.
Raquel Lisbona, who finished second in the Mixed category alongside Marc Figueras Grabulosa for Imparables123, has now completed three Epic Series races. Along with the Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees, the Spanish rider has a FNB Wines2Whales and an Absa Cape Epic finisher medal at home. She is thus perfectly placed to evaluate how the newest event in the series compares to the more established races.
“Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees is an entirely alpine race and is, therefore, more technical than the Absa Cape Epic or FNB Wines2Whales” Lisbona revealed. “People who enjoy technical downhills will really like it! That said, the Absa Cape Epic with its 8 stages, which are also longer, is more stressful. The accumulated fatigue from 8 days of racing means that you require more assistance. The support team around you, even as an amateur, starts to become really important during such a long race; especially if you’re targeting a result in one of the categories.”
“What one does notice, though, is that the level of organisation across the events is exceptionally high” Lisbona praised. “Everyone gets treated like professional riders in every Epic Series event, and that was no different in the Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees.”
To recap on all the action from the inaugural Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees visit www.andorraclassicmtb.com alternatively download the Epic Series mobile application, from the Google Play or the App Store, to view daily highlight videos. For more information on the Epic Series and the other events in the series visit www.epic-series.com.
Results: 2021 Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees
Stage 3 | Elite Men:
- Wilier 7C Force 1: Johnny Cattaneo & Martino Tronconi (2:04:36)
- JBG2 CryoSpace: Jakub Zamroźniak & Krzysztof Łukasik (2:05:05 | +00:29)
- BUFF Scott MTB Team: Hans Becking & Francesc Guerra Carretero (2:06:24 | +01:48)
- Team BULLS: Martin Frey & Simon Schneller (2:06:26 | +01:53)
- Wilier 7c Force 2: Marco Rebagliati & Nicola Taffarel (2:07:42 | +03:06)
Stage 3 | Elite Women:
- RDR Italy Leynicese Racing Team: Sandra Mairhofer & Costanza Fasolis (2:40:45)
- MTB Pro Merchandising: Alice Pirard & Greete Steinburg (2:47:44 | +06:59)
- Orbea Factory Team Women: Ariane Lüthi & Sandra Jordá (3:14:18 | +33:33)
General Classification after Stage 3 | Elite Men:
- Team BULLS: Martin Frey & Simon Schneller (7:14:44)
- JBG2 CryoSpace: Jakub Zamroźniak & Krzysztof Łukasik (7:16:44 | +02:00)
- Wilier 7C Force 1: Johnny Cattaneo & Martino Tronconi (7:20:37 | +05:53)
- BUFF Scott MTB Team: Hans Becking & Francesc Guerra Carretero (7:22:47 | +08:03)
- Wilier 7c Force 2: Marco Rebagliati & Nicola Taffarel (7:26:00 | +11:16)
General Classification after Stage 3 | Elite Women:
- RDR Italy Leynicese Racing Team: Sandra Mairhofer & Costanza Fasolis (9:03:51)
- MTB Pro Merchandising: Alice Pirard & Greete Steinburg (9:34:57 | +31:06
- Orbea Factory Team Women: Ariane Lüthi & Sandra Jordá (11:01:09 | +1:57:18)
General Classification after Stage 3 | Mixed Category:
- ORBEA Factory: Joaquim Rodriguez & Virginia Cancellieri (10:09:28)
- Imparables123: Raquel Lisbona & Marc Figueras Grabulosa (11:33:00 | +1:23:32)
- Celyon: Yon Elissagaray & Celine Martin (11:38:34 | +1:29:06)
General Classification after Stage 3 | Masters Category:
- Team Bulls Masters: Karl Platt & Michael Anthes (8:21:08)
- Mondraker Blue Force: Tomi Misser & Daniel Ruano (8:54:35 | +33:27)
- Cibel-Cebon-Allnuts: Jurgen de Witte & Sven Berthels (9:32:36 | +1:11:28)
General Classification after Stage 3 | Grand Masters Category:
- Harmeling Sport Geluk: Rob Harmeling & Raymond Harmeling (9:35:03)
- Never Get Old: Markus Gisler & Oliver Bayl (10:22:27 | +47:24)
- ALL1 MASTERS: Ferran Escabia Llombart & Gonzalo Galofre Pujol (11:06:58 | +1:31:55)