The premiere of the third VAUDE Engadin Bike Giro from June 29 to July 1, 2018, has been thrilling and successful. Fantastic conditions with temperatures around 20 degrees, with bright sunshine and blue sky, made for a picture book start in the 3-day mountain bike stage race. The third VAUDE Engadin Bike Giro started in St. Moritz with a prologue, which was held as a mountain time trial followed by a downhill trail to the finish area at the Hotel Salastrains. Almost 400 bikers from 24 nations worldwide were challenged with a 16km and 881 metre vertical ride on their first day.
The first stage prologue route once again led riders through the middle of the fashionable St. Moritz city. The route was new, starting from the pedestrian zone in St. Moritz the lake. Riders and spectators were greeted with sweeping views over the St. Moritz lake, beside the world-famous “Badrutt’s Palace Hotel” over to the “Hotel Carlton”. From there it went uphill to the stadium of the Olympic Winter Games in 1948, now officially today’s golf course in St. Moritz. The Friday highlight of the route saw participants ride the Olympic Bob Run, which lead down the original bobsleigh track in the direction of Celerina. The mountain bikers faced high speeds with numerous downhill curves including the remarkable “Horse-Shoe” curve. Just before the Gunter-Sachs Curve, the bikers left the track to face a grueling 8km climb will gradients up to 15% to Corviglia, 2,489 metersabove seas level and the highest point of the day. The route continued down the “Olympia Flow Trail” down to Chantarella then finally up to the finish line on the sun terraces at the “Hotel Salastrains”
The winner of the “Men’s Elite” category was secured by Kristian Hynek from Czech of Team Canyon Topeak, who proved to be the best climber of the day. With an average speed of 18.4 km/h and a time of 51:51 minutes, he secured the day’s victory with a narrow margin of only 15 seconds ahead of the Swiss Fabian Giger of the “Kross Racing Team” and the last years winner Jochen Käß from German of the “Team Centurion Vaude “, both within striking distance just 16 seconds behind Hynek. Next placed were Martin Fanger, Simon Stiebjahn, Adrien Chenaux and Thomas Litscher, who all finished together within a minute, which sets up an exciting second stage. Kristian Hynek starts on Saturday in the yellow leader jersey under the patronage of title sponsor VAUDE.
In the “Ladies Elite” crowd favourite and former World Champion and Olympic champion Sabine Spitz from the “WIAWIS Bikes Pro Team” took the days honours. Currently equipped with the German Cross-Country Champion Jersey, she confirmed her current form and won ahead of her compatriot Adelheid Morath from the “jbr BRUNEX Felt Factory Team”. Spitz dominated in a time of 1:03:14 hours leading by 51 seconds ahead of Morath at Salastrains. Third place on the podium was secured by the Swiss Esther Süss, who is 4:40 minutes adrift.
On Saturday, the second stage of the VAUDE Engadin Bike Giro 2018 takes riders 79.9 kilometers with a crunching 2446 vertical meters climb. The first of two marathon stages is a mass start on overlooking the beautiful Lake Silvaplana. Among other things, the famous St. Moritz Flowtrails will also be on show this stage featuring long flowing trails and grippy climbs. Therefore the end of day 2 could see the overall standings rearranged as the leaders times are grouped close together.