Cyclists Ariane Lüthi and Peeter Pruus, crowned as the Queen and the King of Carpathians


“It was incredible, something unseen, really untamed trails… it was one of toughest and most amazing multi-stage races I have ever been to”, these were the most common words used by the foreign participants after finishing each Stage during the Carpathian MTB Epic 2018 event!

During the 4 days of competition, the 2nd edition of Carpathian MTB Epic challenged hardly the champions and MTB legends. Facing the Prologue, which was a qualifying race, and the 3 Stages of the race, the participants at the 4-day EPIC had to pedal a total distance of 190 km and climb 9,000 meters in the Southern Carpathians. The event introduced the participants in the local atmosphere, the Romanian culture and traditions, offering some unforgettable routes to ride and explore in the wild and rugged Carpathian Mountains. The three stages were considered extremely demanding and very tough by most of the foreign cyclists, being compared with similar competitions from Canada, Switzerland or Belgian Ardennes.

There were many battles between men and women Elite cyclists for the podium, and the order changed a couple of times. Nevertheless, the victory belonged to the most resilient athletes who are the overall Elite winners of Carpathian MTB Epic 2018: Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) and Peeter Pruus (Estonia).

In the finale of the Stage 3, the Swiss MTB star, winner of the most grueling races in the world and 5 times Absa Cape Epic champion, stated that this was definitely the toughest race she ever competed in: “It was such an amazing race! I was competing with Jovana all the time, Jovana Crnogorac, which makes being on the 1st place even more awarding. (…) I also made a few mistakes, but I told myself that I have to focus and keep up my pace. I want to congratulate the organizers for doing such a great job and also the riders, who conquered this incredibly tough terrain!”.

The next places were occupied by Jovana Crnogorac (Serbia) and Katazina Sosna (Lithuania), at Elite Women category, and by Marek Rauchfuss (Czech Republic) and Frans Claes (Belgium), at Elite Men category. The national champion of Serbia and Olympic athlete Jovana Crnogorac put a lot of fight into this competition.

Considering that I will participate in the World Cup next weekend, I took this ride as preparation and I enjoyed the event. I am really satisfied with my overall performance, considering that we almost climbed the Mount Everest these days here. A really good experience and the trails were amazing!” said Jovana.

Katazina Sosna, the national champion of Lithuania, was satisfied with the 3rd place in the overall standings: “It was a really good training for me and I am really happy that I came here. I thank the organizers and congratulate them for doing such a great job”.

The competition among the first 5 cyclists, in the Elite men’s category, was almost constant during the 3 stages. The Estonian proved to be the strongest and the fastest rider.

Today’s race was the hardest. I also had some technical problems, which I have fixed, but meanwhile Marek Rauchfuss and Frans Claes overtook me. Then, they took the wrong way and I managed to go ahead of them. It was a crazy ride and I am happy! The Carpathians are incredible, and the competition was super well organized!” commented Peeter.

Even the Czech cyclist Marek Rauchfuss was very determined to defend his place on the podium, he admitted to never competed before in such a tough competition.

Although I had no problems, I was tired from the 1st and 2nd stage. Today, I rode together with Frans Claes. About 15 km before the finish we took a wrong turn, which slowed us down with 1-2 minutes. The organization was great, and the mountains are wilder than what I saw in Czech Republic, Slovakia or Austria!” told us Marek.

Frans Claes, the world leader at UCI marathon series, had a serious fight for the 3rd place, but he succeeded in keeping a good pace. He is really used with multi-stage races.

Today, I felt better in the beginning than yesterday, so I could go with the first 5 riders. But then, Peeter Pruus and the other Czech rider who won today, they went too fast and we had to pace ourselves like in the last two days, because otherwise… you pay for it at the end. I felt very good here, amazing places and great mountain trails!” said the Belgian athlete.

The champions of the event won 80 UCI MTB XCO points, which will help them in the qualification race for the Olympic Games.

The Carpathians are different, they offered a lot more challenges for the riders, and it’s been Epic as the name says. It is beautiful up there, the weather has been challenging here and there for us, but it’s really a unique race! The routes are unique and it is certainly a lot of variety here, and there are certainly some things that can be improved in terms of what the riders get. The organization team that is crucial for the success of the event, the team here is super!” appreciated Ido Eindor, the UCI International Commissaire who was the Head of the Commissaires during the event.

The most important multi-stage event from Southern-Europe, registered in the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar, S2 category, was held at Cheile Gradistei – Fundata during August 16-19, an Olympic-level resort in the Transylvanian “Alps”, in Brasov County.

The competition is full-service type – „eat, ride and sleep”, offering to the participants a challenging and amazing experience, high standard services and an impeccable organizing of the race. 131 participants from over 20 countries and 3 continents were reunited at the Start line, in an attempt to conquer the Romanian mountains and enjoy the breath-taking landscapes and untamed trails.

The prizes awarded at Carpathian MTB Epic 2018 include trophies, medals, flowers, and a prize money pool totaling 15,480 Euro, plus special prizes from sponsors. All the details about the event and about the 4-day EPIC and 1-day Challenge races are available on the official web page, and the recording of the LIVE transmissions and official movies can be found on the official Youtube channel of Carpathian MTB Epic and Facebook page.

The event claimed to be Wild, Rugged and EPIC, and so it proved to be!

Likes and Shares are much appreciated on social media pages Facebook Carpathian MTB Epic and Instagram Carpathian MTB Epic. The ACS MPG team congratulates all the winners and the participants and wishes them the best of luck!