skip navigation
Two bikers at the finishline of the Swiss Epic [Swiss Epic]

Swiss Epic 2020: The Best Ever Elite Men Line-Up?

By Epic Series, 08/16/20, 7:30AM HST


With two Olympic Gold Medallists, multiple World Champions and a host of talented young riders, the Swiss Epic boasts arguably its best ever field this year.

Two bikers crossing the Swiss Epic finish line

With two Olympic Gold Medallists, multiple World Champions and a host of talented young riders, the Swiss Epic boasts arguably its best ever field this year.

The Swiss Epic in Graubünden has never struggled for star appeal and every edition has seen World and National Champions assemble on the start-line. Laax, the host town for the opening stage of 2020, though, will see more elite men’s mountain biking talent than any previous race village. Big names set to race in Graubunden, from 18 to 22 August, include Nino Schurter, Jaroslav Kulhavý, Alban Lakata, Lars Forster, Fabian Rabensteiner, Michele Casagrande and Daniel Geismayr, amongst many others.

The five-star favourites for the 2020 edition of the Swiss Epic are a pair who have never won the race before. Schurter and Forster are, however, each eager to add the Epic Series event to their palmarès. For the multiple World Champion, the race represents one of the few events he has attempted to, but failed as yet to win. “Racing on some of my ‘home trails’ is going to be special; a Swiss Epic win is missing from my palmarès, so I’ll be giving it my all to change this” Schurter promised. Schurter and Forster are a proven partnership, having won the Absa Cape Epic together in 2019 and had been tipped to repeat that feat in 2020. As such they are the clear favourites for this year’s Swiss Epic.

They will have to best the defending champions if they are to win the title, however. Trek Pirelli are returning to Graubünden in mass; with four, powerful, teams. One of the 2019 winners, Rabensteiner will be partnered by the reigning under 23 cross-country World Champion Vlad Dascalu. The pair will race as Trek Pirelli 2; with Rabensteiner’s former partner Casagrande teaming up with Gioele de Cosmo, for Trek Pirelli 3.

Another two Trek Pirelli teams complete the Italian outfit’s roster. Samuele Porro and Damiano Ferraro line-up as Trek Pirelli 1; while Simone Avondetto and Davide Toneatti race as Trek Pirelli 4. The squad are usually averse to pre-set team orders; but once the trails have determined the strongest team in the group, expect the others to sacrifice their own results to ensure two of their numbers stand atop the final podium.

Another potential winner lining up for the 2020 race is Centurion Vaude’s Daniel Geismayr. The Austrian marathon and stage race specialist will be racing alongside Ben Zwiehoff this time out. Geismayr’s countryman and multiple marathon World Champion, Alban Lakata, also returns to the Swiss Epic. He and BULLS Legends teammate Karl Platt will be joined by the BULLS Heroes, Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn, as well as the BULLS Youngsters, Martin Frey and Simon Schneller. The three BULLS teams will undoubtedly play off each other and are arguably the most experienced stage racers in the field. With Huber racing on home trails, he and Stiebjahn could well end up at or near the top of the final Swiss Epic podium.

Kulhavý is also a name which is difficult to overlook on any start list. The Czech Express will be partnered by Simon Andreassen, for Specialized Racing, in Graubünden. Having won three editions of the Absa Cape Epic, a marathon and cross-country World Championship title, as well as an Olympic Gold Medal, there can be no debate as to Kulhavý’s well rounded skill set.  Motivation has, at times, been the powerful rider’s undoing, but after the Covid-19 enforced months off from racing he and Andreassen, both, are said to be chomping at the bit. Mountain biking fans will be hoping for an epic rematch, of battles past, between Kulhavý and Schurter.

Fellow former Absa Cape Epic winner Kristian Hynek would be as eager as anyone to see the old rivalry reignite. If only so that he and his Future Cycling Northwave teammate, Martin Stoseck, can fly under the radar. While the attention is on the SCOTT-SRAM and Specialized Racing teams, the softly spoken Czech will be trying to steal a march of the more highly touted squads. Anyone who has raced against Hynek knows however that he is underestimated at one’s peril.

To see how the elite men’s teams get on, visit The racing action will be brought to mountain biking fans, live, via the race website and the Epic Series mobile app. Download it from the iTunes or Google Play store now.