Saturday’s results could influence the overall standings at Carpathian MTB Epic 2018
The hardest race among the toughest! The second Stage of Carpathian MTB Epic 2018 pushed the cyclists’ limits to the edge and changed the order on the podium. This was the most exhausting stage of this competition, set in the Southern Carpathians.
The participants pedaled 60 km and climbed 3,300 m, facing the highest elevation gain in the whole event. The track included a challenging ascending, but also the longest downhill of the route, over 10 km. In fact, the longest from all the three stages. It started from Șaua Strunga and crossed Guțanu Meadow. Although technical and steep, it was appreciated by many cyclists and the view was amazing. The area is called Amfitheater due tot the large Bran valley overview. Most of the foreign participants could not imagine how wild and beautiful the Carpathian MTB Epic routes are. The event slogan “Wild. Rugged. EPIC!” matches perfectly with the reality.
The cyclist arrived pretty exhausted at the Finish line, but after they succeeded in catching their breath they were able to smile and telling all about the experience they just lived.
In the Elite men’s ranking Peeter Pruus (Estonia) won again the first place on the podium, on a slightly higher gap than in the first Stage comparing with the time pulled by the Czech athlete Marek Rauchfuss.
“I cycled very hard today! Marek, the second one, was very close to me, then I lost the sight of him in the middle of the race, and later he came closer again. I went as fast as I could. Fortunately, my legs have helped me and I was able to take this suffering route to the end. If it would have been 5 km longer, it would have been very difficult. I was able to finish the first. Today I had to walk much more, because the terrain was rocky and steep. A tough race!” said Peeter Pruus smiling.
“Another difficult day, maybe a lot harder than yesterday. It was much more difficult to get down, more steep than in Stage 1, even more dangerous and longer. It was good and I really liked biking on the track and I’m happy with the second place!“, appreciated Marek Rauchfuss.
The third one who crossed the Finish line is the world leader in the marathon races, the Belgian Frans Claes, who climbs to the 3rd place of the podium in the overall standings.
“This race is the Queen of the mountains, because it is very steep! We had to push the bikes again, it was challenging crazy! I knew from my Belgian friend what to expect, but he actually underestimated the contest level of difficulty. But I’m well prepared, stage races are my specialty. I participated in Cape Epic, I made some hard races in Belgium in Ardens, and I trained a lot in the mountains. Tomorrow, if my feet will react well, I will be on the podium!“, stated Frans Claes.
Peeter Pruss strengthened his leadership position, currently being 2 minutes ahead of the Czech athlete. On Sunday, he is determined to defend his title in stages: “I think tomorrow will be difficult again, I will stay close to the participants who attack my position and try to control them“.
In the women’s race there was a flop, Ariane Lüthi (Switzerland) losing the advance she had before this stage.
“Jovana was very strong today, congrats! I didnt see her at all on the route. I was trying to stay positive and push my limits to the maximum. I’m glad to have finished the race with such a small distance from Jovana. Today, I had to go and push the bike a lot because of the steep slopes. I made a few small mistakes, I did not get a turn well and I lost some time. I’m not sure yet how the race will be tomorrow, because today was a hard one. It is very beautiful here, I am delighted!” stated Ariane Lüthi.
The winner of the Stage 2, Jovana Crnogorac (Serbia) recovered good minutes and she assured the victory after the toughest race of Carpathian MTB Epic.
“I came to this race in order to prepare for the world championship. I usually attend cross-country competitions. Yesterday, I set my own pace that a very slow one, and today I started just like yesterday. This stage was easier for me, because I did not have to walk that long, walking is not my strength. I had fun and I tried to keep up my pace” confessed Jovana Crnogorac, satisfied of the victory.
Though she hurt her leg on the trail, Lejla Tanović (Bosnia and Herzegovina) occupied the 3rd place on the podium.
“I did not fell alone, it was an incident, another participant hit my back, probably because he was tired… Everyone was tired. For tomorrow I don’t want to worry. I’ll see how I feel in the morning“, commented Lejla Tanović.
The first Romanian to cross the Finish line was Raul Sînza, ranked 8th in the second round. He is 19 years old and this is his first mountain biking contest, being a road rider, but also his first multi-stage competition. This result illustrates his hard work during this year and the hard races he participated in.
“Fast, technical, lots of climbing. But it seemed easier than the Stage 1, because there were quite large distances between the competitors on the route and I managed to focus much better during the race. I was slower on descents, but I recovered during the climbs. I decided to participate due to the beauty of this contest. The organization and atmosphere of this event resembles those of world-class competition”, said Raul Sînza from CarCover Team.
The Saturday’s route reached important points: Start from Cheile Grădiștei – Fundata towards Valea Cheii – Curmătura Fiarelor – Bucșa Peak – Șaua Strungulița – Padina – Drumul Hoților – Bătrâna Refuge and Peak – Drumul Grănicerului – Șaua Strunga – Poiana Guțanu and finishedin Cheile Grădiștei – Fundata.
Most athletes, coming from across borders and accustomed to rocky roads, said that this competition is perhaps the toughest or the toughest they participated in.
“I was here in January at the Winter Triathlon Championship, so I knew a little bit about these mountains, but in the cold season. It is an amazing difference between the Carpathians and the mountains of the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Austria. The Romanian mountains are more wild, with more nature, I like it a lot!“, said Marek Rauchfuss.
On Sunday, August 19th, it starts the third Stage with the smallest level difference of 2,500m over a distance of 60 km. It will be a great fight for both the yellow shirt and the red one.
At the same time, the cyclists who are not prepared to face a stage race will have the opportunity to enjoy mountain biking at 1-day Challenge, set on a separate 40-km course with 1,500 m level difference, also included in this event.
The second edition of the Carpathian MTB Epic, the most important multi-stage mountain biking competition in South-Eastern Europe, accredited by International Cycling Union (UCI), has gathered participants from 25 countries and is taking place during August 16 – 20, at the Cheile Grădiştei – Fundata Resort, in the Carpathian Mountains. The event organized by MPG Romania offers two choices to compete: 4-day EPIC, a race for both professionals and amateurs that consists in 180 km of pedaling and 8,500 m of climbing; and 1-Day Challenge, where participants have to ride 40 km and ascend 1,500 m. Competing in Carpathian MTB Epic 2018 the professional cyclists have the opportunity to win 80 points of UCI, which helps them to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The results can be checked on the official page of the event: http://www.carpathianmtb.ro. The MTB fans can follow LIVE transmissions and news about the Romanian multi-stage race on the official Youtube channel of Carpathian MTB Epic – click here, and the official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/carpathianepic/.