Stage 3 of the 2022 SPAR Swiss Epic threatened to flip the script for the all-conquering Wilier Pirelli team; on Thursday, 18 August, in Laax. However, an untimely puncture for BUFF MEGAMO’s Hans Becking prevented the Dutch Marathon Champion and his partner, José Dias, from contesting the final kilometres of the stage. This handed Fabian Rabensteiner and Daniel Geismayr their third successive stage victory. The Davos Klosters Women, Bettina Janas and Adelheid Morath, likewise extended their dominance over the women’s race notching up their third win too.
After two days of sunshine, wet weather and slippery conditions added to the challenge of the 63 kilometre long stage through the Laax, Flims Falera region of Graubünden. The weather did not daunt the men in the yellow Ciovita Leader Jerseys, however, nor the BUFF MEGAMO team who were eager to make up for the mechanical which limited their performance of Stage 2. Rabensteiner and Geismayr once again proved that attack is the best form of defence, placing their rivals on the back foot. Becking and Dias were best able to follow.
“Fabian [Rabensteiner] and I feel really good at the moment,” an ecstatic Geismayr smiled, after adding to his team’s general classification advantage. “We work really well together and we are equally strong at the moment. Today was a good day again, I tried to control the race from the front because I know Singer Racing want to attack us in the downhills. So, if I get into the trails first I can slow down a little bit and ride my own pace.”
“BUFF MEGAMO caught us on the last climb,” Geismayr expanded. “We rode together with them until Hans [Becking] punctured. So, we were a little bit lucky in that we didn’t have to fight for the stage win.”
BUFF MEGAMO’s poor run of luck leaves them 25 minutes off the pace being set by Wilier Pirelli, though they did manage to climb into fifth overall by salvaging fourth on the stage. Becking nursed his bike home on a broken rim to limit his and Dias’ losses. Rabensteiner and Geismayr’s winning margin on the day was 1 minute and 19 seconds over Martin Frey and Simon Stiebjahn. That means the Singer Racing team now trail Wilier Pirelli by 6 minutes and 21 seconds. The home team, Laax’s Andrin Beeli and Frans Claes fittingly made their first appearance on a stage podium, but KTM ALCHEMIST & ATTITUDE still hold third overall.
In the battle for the women’s orange, Ciovita leader jerseys, Davos Klosters marched on. Janas and Morath’s perfect streak was extended to three in Laax, as they added another 61 seconds to their general classification buffer. “I was very relaxed today,” Morath confessed. “The first climb of the stage wasn’t particularly steep and it was into a headwind, so it was very difficult to escape. But we still managed to get into the first downhill in the lead. This allowed us to take it safely and still have fun.”
“Janina [Wüst] and Debora [Piana] caught us again in the valley,” Morath added. “With the wind blowing it was nice to have them with us and we rode together until near the top of the final climb. Where it got very steep we were able to attack and open a little gap, which we held to the end.”
With two stages left to race Davos Klosters lead MTB Pro Merchandising - Team Cingolani’s Janina Wüst and Debora Piana by 13 minutes and 37 seconds. Vera Looser’s issues with illness saw her and Kim le Court, of Efficient Infiniti Insure / Rare Street Coffee, cede 5 more minutes to the team in second. They, thus, remain in third at 19 minutes and 5 seconds behind Janas and Morath.
The Queen Stage, from Laax to Davos, provides the terrain over which the chasing teams can make significant time gains. Though, any mechanical or puncture could soon compound into a dramatic time loss on the 100 kilometre Stage 4, which also includes an imposing 2 800 metres of climbing up the Alter Schin and over the Junkerboden. To see if anyone can unseat Wilier Pirelli or Davos Klosters tune in at www.epic-series.com/swissepic.
2022 SPAR Swiss Epic Results:
Men’s Stage 3 Results
1. Wilier Pirelli Factory: Fabian Rabensteiner & Daniel Geismayr (2:48:52)
2. Singer Racing Team: Martin Frey & Simon Stiebjahn (2:50:11 | +1:19)
3. Laax: Andrin Beeli & Frans Claes (2:50:22 | +1:30)
4. BUFF MEGAMO: Hans Becking & José Dias (2:52:38 | +3:46)
5. KTM ALCHEMIST & ATTITUDE: Dario Cherchi & Martino Tronconi (2:53:08 | +4:16)
Women’s Stage 3 Results
1. Davos Klosters Women: Bettina Janas & Adelheid Morath (3:35:47)
2. MTB Pro Merchandising - Team Cingolani: Janina Wüst & Debora Piana (3:36:48 | +1:01)
3. Efficient Infiniti Insure / Rare Street Coffee: Vera Looser & Kim Le Court (3:42:02 | +6:17)
4. Velo Flütsch: Alessia Nay & Antonia Bünter (3:56:51 | +21:04)
5. MTBcamps: Maaris Meier & Liisa Ehrberg (4:01:57| +26:10)
Men’s General Classification after Stage 3:
1. Wilier Pirelli Factory: Fabian Rabensteiner & Daniel Geismayr (9:32:32)
2. Singer Racing Team: Martin Frey & Simon Stiebjahn (9:38:53 | +6:21)
3. KTM ALCHEMIST & ATTITUDE: Dario Cherchi & Martino Tronconi (9:51:24 | +18:52)
4. BUFF MEGAMO 2: Hugo Drechou & Enrique Morcillo Vergara (9:57:26 | +24:54)
5. BUFF MEGAMO: Hans Becking & José Dias (9:58:24 | +25:52)
Women’s General Classification after Stage 3:
1. Davos Klosters Women: Bettina Janas & Adelheid Morath (12:08:57)
2. MTB Pro Merchandising - Team Cingolani: Janina Wüst & Debora Piana (12:22:34 | +13:37)
3. Efficient Infiniti Insure / Rare Street Coffee: Vera Looser & Kim Le Court (12:28:02 | +19:05)
4. Velo Flütsch: Alessia Nay & Antonia Bünter (13:31:46 | +1:22:49)
5. MTBcamps: Maaris Meier & Liisa Ehrberg (13:54:18| +1:45:21)
To view the full results please click here.