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Elferink and Gantenbein on the Davos Klosters [Swiss Epic]

Popular Locals Line-Up for Davos Klosters

By Epic Series, 08/11/20, 7:30AM HST


Mountain bikers planning a trip to Davos Klosters will already be familiar with Hielke Elferink and Corina Gantenbein.

Elferink and Gantenbein on the Davos Klosters

Mountain bikers planning a trip to Davos Klosters will already be familiar with Hielke Elferink and Corina Gantenbein. The pair have featured prominently in the tourism region’s marketing campaigns. Though they are far more than just the poster women for mountain biking in the area.

Elferinik and Gantebein

There are unlikely to be many more popular or approachable elite riders in the Swiss Epic field than the Davos Klosters team of Hielke Elferink and Corina Gantenbein. The Dutch citizen turned Davos resident, Elferink, is joining up with her long-time friend Gantenbein, who hails from Klosters. Often seen sporting broad smiles and being happy to talk about their home trails, the pair are the perfect ambassadors for both the race and the sport.

Elferink, in particular, has reason to smile. A long-term injury kept her out of the 2019 Swiss Epic and she’s ecstatic to make her racing return in an event she has completed on three previous occasions. “I was very disappointed to miss last year’s race” she lamented. “Especially because I injured my knee pretty badly. I was exceptionally upset because not only was I missing the event, but I was also uncertainty if my knee would ever be fixed well enough to do events like the Swiss Epic ever again.”

“To get healthy and fit again was my main goal” Elferink continued. “I dreamed of doing the Swiss Epic the year after my injury. But that seemed so far away and was hard to set as a real goal. It’s so cool that it became a reality and that we can do this! I’m really excited. To do so in this home race with Corina [Gantenbein] makes this extra special, of course, and a real challenge too.”

Gantenbein will undoubtedly have to manage Elferink’s efforts somewhat. In order to not let the Dutch rider’s enthusiasm get the better of her own best interests. “Racing as a team is just a complete other story to racing on your own” the Swiss rider stated. “It’s of course important that I’m well prepared and in good shape for the Swiss Epic, but it’s even more important to look after each other. To support each other and always think as a team. Knowing each other so well is a big advantage. We know exactly how the other rides. Above all, we are not just riding buddies but really good friends. And no matter what the race brings we are already sure that we will have a unique, unforgettable and great time together!”

“We are very good friends” Elferink reiterated. “We like to tackle challenges together. I know we’re both looking forward to having a fun week together. The rest will come as it comes… I hope I can follow Corina [Gantenbein] a bit and she won’t make me suffer too badly.”

Elferink has made her home in Davos, having moved from the Netherlands, and thus knows a thing or two about adjusting to the trials of riding and racing at altitude. “I think it might be smart to arrive a bit prior to the event” she advised riders travelling from sea level. “Get some riding in and get used to the thinner air. Once you’re here, riding and racing, it is smart to not blow yourself up, right from the start. Save some energy for the end. It’s key to pace yourself well and to focus on controlled breathing.”

The pair’s local knowledge will come in handy on the final two stages of the 2020 Swiss Epic. “The trails here, in the Davos Klosters region, are amazing” promised Gantenbein. “You find everything, for every different level of rider. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy the trails during the race as much as I do when I’m out training. But I also know that with all the lactic acid in my legs it’s going to be a lot harder and I won’t have as much time to appreciate the spectacular views as I do in training.”

“It’s a long and hard race” she added. “Things can change on the general classification really quickly, which I experienced for myself last year. Of course, it would be great to wear the leader jersey on the final podium; but more than ever I’m just happy to have the opportunity to race again. In these uncertain times I really feel privileged and grateful to be able to live and train in this beautiful area and doubly so to be able to race here again. I’d like to say a big thank you to the Swiss Epic team who have all worked so hard to make this happen!”

If you share the Davos Klosters’ team’s enthusiasm for the Swiss Epic you can follow the race, from 18 to 22 August, on our website.