Mountain bike stars, European and national champions, international cycling legends and passionate riders joined the 2nd edition of Carpathian MTB Epic in an attempt to conquer the Romanian mountains. The multi-stage mountain biking competition, accredited by the UCI, introduced the participants to the wild region of the Southern Carpathians and the energetic sports atmosphere of the Grădiştei – Fundata Resort. The Race Village of the Carpathian MTB Epic 2018 has vibrated today by the hundreds of voices of the participants and their supporters. The event organized by MPG Romania offers cyclists two choices to compete: 4-day EPIC, a 4-day race for professional and amateur riders during which they have to pedal 180 km and to ascend 8,500 m; 1-Day Challenge, a one-day contest where participants have 40 km to ride and 1,500 m to climb. Many famous and passionate cyclists, from European champions to world-class champions from 25 countries, are competing today in the 4-day EPIC race. Among them are Ariane Lüthi, from Switzerland, who has won the podium of some of the toughest mountain biking competitions around the world, such as Absa Cape Epic, where she was 5 times champion; Frans Claes, from Belgium, the number 1 in the UCI World Series Marathon 2017; Portuguese Vitor Gamito, an Olympic athlete, winner of the MTB Tour of Portugal; Gustav Larsson, from Sweden, a Silver medalist at European Championships in 2008 and at World Championships in 2009.
The first multi-stage competition in Romania, registered in the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar, at S2 category, started on Thursday, August 16, with a 10 km Prologue, a mandatory qualification race for cyclists. The Prologue is important to determine in which order the competitors will Start the first stage of the competition, which will begin on Friday. The time recorded by the participants is taking into account in the overall final standings. This XCT race was designed to test the skills of cyclists through two technical and steep slopes, downhill type, and with a high degree of difficulty. The route is surrounding the Cheile Grădiştei – Fundata Resort, being created as a loop, and the elevation gain is about 600 m. The first cyclists finishing the Prologue, at General Elite Women category, are Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland), Jovana Crnogorac (Serbia) and Katazina Sosna (Lithuania). “It was a really beautiful race, extremely technical. I felt really good on the trail! Today, I felt really great and I hope I will perform the same the next days also”, stated the Swiss MTB-er, Ariane Lüthi. Andras Parti (Hungary), Peeter Pruus (Estonia) and Martin Haring (Slovakia) were the fastest riders at General Elite Men category.
For the UCI World series champion things did not go so well during this qualification race. “I am not happy with how I cycled today. Unfortunately, I had a small incident in the beginning of the race, I fell! That was because I was not paying attention and this moment influenced today’s race result”, said Frans Claes.
Among the youngest UCI riders in the race is Pirmin Sigel (Germany). Carpathian MTB Epic is his first multi-stage race and he is determined to see how far he can push his limits. “The race was really difficult for me today, the first part was really beautiful and on the descents I felt comfortable. Besides this, it was pretty tough”, considered the German cyclist. In the next coming days, nearly 130 participants will face the rocky Southern Carpathians. Even the race is pushing their limits to the edge, they will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful views over the Bucegi peaks, the Piatra Craiului and Leaota Mountains. After competing in Carpathian MTB Epic 2018, the professional cyclists will have the opportunity to win 80 UCI points, which will help them in the qualification race for the 2020 Olympic Games.
1 – Ariane Lüthi (SUI) – 0:37:23
2 – Jovana Crnogorac (SRB) – 0:38:12
3 – Katazina Sosna (LTU) – 0:41:29
1 – Parti Andras (HUN) – 0:30:57
2 – Peeter Pruus (EST) – 0:30:59
3 – Martin Haring (SVK) – 0:31:02