Union Européenne de Cyclisme
MTB 16 June 2021

#EUROXCM21, The countdown has begun

#EUROXCM21, The countdown has begun

Evolène will host the first European Mountain Bike Marathon Championships on Swiss soil this Sunday. On the demanding course of the Raid Evolénard, a whole armada of top riders will compete to succeed Tiago Ferreira and Mara Fumagalli in the European prize list. Starting with the world champion Ramona Forchini (Wattwil) and the bronze medalist of the world championships Ariane Lüthi (Thun). In addition to Ferreira, five-time Swiss champion Urs Huber and European runner-up Samule Porro are among the contenders in the men's event.


A first for Switzerland
By awarding the European Championships to the Raid Evolénard three years ago, the European Cycling Union (UEC) has allowed the Valais race to become the first Swiss host for these competitions. This is not really a surprise since the Raid Evolénard had already successfully hosted the national championships of the discipline in 2015 and 2016 and is celebrating its 25th edition this year. For the occasion, the organizers have considerably hardened the route, which will be 78km and 3900m of ascent for the men and 70km and 3400m of ascent for the women. According to Urs Huber, three-time winner of the Raid Evolénard, the course is now similar to the Dolomiti Hero Bike Marathon in Val Gardena: "With the changes made this year, the course has become really difficult and the race time will be very similar to that of the Italian event. The main difference is that the descents are much more technical in Evolene".


Tiago Ferreira on his way to a third title
The results of last weekend's Hero Dolomites provide valuable information for identifying the favorites for the European titles. In the men's race, the Italian Samuele Porro, showed that he is in good shape by finishing second behind the winner Andreas Seewald. After second places at the 2018 and 2019 European Championships, Porro is hoping to finally step onto the top step of the podium in Evolene. The reigning European champion, Tiago Ferreira from Portugal, will do everything to defend his title. The five-time Swiss champion Urs Huber, who won the Andalusia Bike a few weeks ago and who will have the advantage of knowing the terrain better than anyone else, will be watched closely. The extended circle of favorites includes the Italians Tony Longo and Fabian Rabensteiner, the Czechs Martin Stosek and Kristian Hynek - all of whom played leading roles at the Hero Dolomites - as well as the reigning Swiss champion Martin Fanger, who feels at home on the course and can count on local support as a rider of the Valais Papival Scott Grand Raid team. Former world champions Alban Lakata and Periklis Ilias will also be at the start.


An open race for women
In the women's race, Katazina Sosna is one of the favorites alongside world champion Ramona Forchini and Swiss champion Ariane Lüthi. The Lithuanian won the Hero Dolomites last Saturday ahead of Lüthi and Austria's Angelika Tazreiter, who won bronze at the European Championships in 2017. At the finish line in Selva, Lüthi confirmed: "Sosna rode in a class of her own today. Everyone who tried to follow her paid off afterwards. It remains to be seen if she will be as strong on a course she knows less well." In addition to world champion Ramona Forchini, Lüthi sees another Swiss medal contender: young national champion Steffi Häberlin. Lüthi, who has won the Raid Evolénard twice, considers the two Germans Bettina Janas and Adelheid Morath, who won the last Swiss Epic, and the Frenchwoman Margot Moschetti as outsiders.
Nearly 300 athletes from 28 countries will be at the start of the European Championships in Evolène on Sunday June 20. For children and amateur runners, the competitions will start on Saturday on courses from 2km to 62km.

Info #EUROXCM21

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