The second day race was easier and the athletes from Slovakia and Ukraine showed their strength and speed, easily detaching themselves from the rest of the participants
The CARPATHIAN MTB EPIC competition reserves surprises every day in terms of participants’ evolution. Following the conclusion of Stage 2, the Slovaks are still dominating the Elite riders’ podium. Difficult and high-altitude routes have tested the resistance of all participants, but both cyclists from Slovakia and Ukraine seem to be able to cope with the challenges of the Carpathians.
Tomas Visnovský, the winner of Stage 1, and his compatriot Matej Ulik finished the race together, taking the first two places in the ranking with a time of 3 hours and 19 minutes, respectively 3 hours and 20 minutes. After the Stage 1 while they struggled with the mist, it seems that the strategy of the two riders was to ally in order to secure their victory, and they stood by each other along the way. The two cyclists were placed at a comfortable distance from the third position which belonged to Hungarian Márton Blazsó, who finished the race in 3 hours and 28 minutes. On their trails were Romanian riders Alexandru-George Stancu, Arpad Kelemen, Ede Molnar and Ion Valentin Rosoaga.
“Today I was very satisfied and happy! We preferred to go together because we knew it was a difficult stage, not as bad as yesterday though. I knew we had to go together, keep the rhythm and get to the Finish. The world is really nice and welcoming in Romania and the routes and landscapes are so beautiful!”, told Tomas Visnovský, now relaxed after winning twice stages of this contest.
In the Stage 2, the race took place over a distance of 59 kilometers with 1,950 meters of climbing. However, the route was easier comparing to Friday, especially as their efforts were hampered by the thick fog covering the mountains peakes. On Saturday, the weather was better and the riders reached the Finish line much faster.
“Today I felt stronger than yesterday. I hoped for making it to the second place in the overall ranking. The race was very good today, everything went out as we wanted! Tomas was again very strong, it was very difficult for me to stay close to him. I think at the moment Slovak athletes are stronger than the Romanians”, Matej Ulik said very confidently, happy that he managed to advance on the podium.
The route during this stage crossed the Piatra Craiului Mountains, and the first technical descent came after 17 kilometers. Then the riders entered a part of the road that connects Magura and Zarnesti’s Walls. After that, the cyclists had to cope with a slope of almost 10 kilometers, the longest climb on this route. “It was very difficult for me in the first 10 km! I lost my contact lenses and I had problems with my right eye. Immediately, I encoutered a rather complex technical zone. I fell and it affected me. I also broke my shoe closure. Then, I managed to recover 4 or 6 positions. I’m happy with this place today! My legs are tired because I pulled hard. It’s a difficult stage race so I will try to stay on the ground and not risk too much”, explained Márton Blazsó, Hungary’s marathon champion in 2016.
The girls’ podium, from Elite, was also dominated by Slovaks. Instead, places reversed. Krystyna Konvisarova from Ukraine arrived first in 4 hours and 18 minutes, and Janka Keseg Števková took the second place with a duration of 4 hours and 19. She was followed by her compatriot Andrea Juhásová, who finished the second Stage in 4 hours and 28 minutes.
Ukrainian Krystyna Konvisarova came to this event after another hard race, Playtika Epic Israel, where she finished thefourth. She won the title of UCI MTB Marathon Series champion for two years in a row. “It was pretty tough but it does not compare to yesterday. Today, I felt good, normal, because I’m not doing well at high altitude. I could go to my normal speed. The route was very technical and I liked it very much. In the last 14 kilometers to Finish, I had the feeling that the road was not ending, but I did everything I could. Now, I will relax and drink a beer”, Konvisarova told.
The Romanian cyclists have faced quite well all the challenges of the Saturday race even though they are not in the top 3. “For me today it was much better. It was not a high-altitude ride, which made me much more competitive. In the second half I managed to recover a few positions. I do not know if I can get recover any position in the overall rankings, but I’ll fight for a place on the podium. I had a good shape. I managed to regain my rhythm in the second part of the race”, said Alex Stancu, who won this year the vice-champion title at XCO during Romania National Championships.
Arpad Kelemen, who won the second place after Stage 1, accused back pains that diminished his performance on this day of contest. “It was harder for me today. The route was easier, but yesterday I pulled so hard and today I’m tired and I have back pain. I’ve had the strength but if you have pains… it’s hard! Yesterday I was repairing my bike after the race, but today I will sleep, I will rest”, he confessed.
Every rider participating in the 4-day EPIC is monitorized by a tracker, so both organizers and guests knew where the athletes are, at any time. Besides, almost the entire Stage 1 and Stage 2 could have been watched Live on Yoututube and Facebook Riders Club. Moreover, every night during the 3-day competition, September 22-24, there are Live broadcasts summarizing the CARPATHIAN MTB EPIC, moderated by Alex Ciocan and Catalin Sprinceana. These can be watched on Pro X – Sport.ro, Telekom Sport and TVR HD, and the TV and Live broadcasts program can be found on the official page http://www.carpathianmtb.ro – click here.
A short ceremony after Stage 2 was organized and the winners received cash prizes ranging from 100 to 200 Euro. At the end of the 4-day EPIC and after riding 157 km, the fastest cyclist will get 2.050 Euro and products from the sponsors, whose total value reaches an estimated amount of 30,000 Euro. Check the Stage 1 and Stage 2 results here.
See you On Sunday for the last Stage! Stay hydrated and in shape!