As part of the Epic Series, the global portfolio of best in class mountain bike stage races including the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa, the 4Islands MTB Croatia attracts many of the world’s best professional riders as well as dedicated amateurs from across the world.
The 2023 edition sees a stacked field of professional teams who will give it their all on the trails of the islands in a bid to claim the CIOVITA leader jerseys and the 4Islands MTB Croatia title.
Headlining the Men’s field are Buff Megamo, Bulls, and Speed Company Racing.
Buff Megamo will arrive in Croatia with two teams. Hugo Drecho and Hans Becking will race as Buff Megamo while Peter Pruus and Enrique Morcillo Vergara will race as Buff Megamo 2. The Buff Megamo team have Epic Series experience aplenty with a combined 8 Absa Cape Epic finishes (including stage podiums), 10 SPAR Swiss Epic finishes, 4 4Islands finishes and 4 Andorra MTB Classic finishes. Buff Megamo’s friendly and approachable nature is one that the team prides itself on and while they maintain this friendly demeanor whilst racing, if given the chance to go for a stage win or a GC position, they are more than capable of laying down the hurt.
The Bulls team has become synonymous with the Epic Series over the years, especially the Absa Cape Epic. At the 2023 4Islands MTB Croatia Simon Schneller and Alban Lakata will represent teams Bulls; Schneller and Lakata will be eager to build on the form shown at the recent Absa Cape Epic where they, racing with different partners, finished 15th and 10th respectively.
Georg Egger and Lukas Baum burst onto the Epic Series scene in 2022 when they claimed the overall win at the 2022 Absa Cape Epic in spectacular fashion on the final day. Later in the year, at the 2022 Andorra MTB Classic-Pyrenees (now Andorra Epic), they repeated their actions as they won the event on the final day. The German team almost repeated their Absa Cape Epic win in March this year, however they ended the race in second. The team’s aggressive racing style, incredible bike handling skill, and abundance of power will stand them in good stead to charge on the islands.
While there are three standout favourites in the Men’s race, there are many teams that are sure to put up a fight for stage wins and spots on the GC. To view the Men’s startlist, click here.
In the 2023 4Islands MTB Croatia Women’s race, there are five teams who will race for the coveted orange CIOVITA leader jerseys.
Velohunt/VeloFlütsch’s Alessia Nay and Liisa Ehrberg are the highest ranked women’s team for the race; Nay finished the 2022 SPAR Swiss Epic and the 2022 4Islands in fourth place – experience that will prove to be beneficial when she returns to the islands with Ehrberg, who finished the 2022 SPAR Swiss Epic in fifth place.
Triscelion | SRT-Protective Factory will be represented by Tanja Priller and Greta Karasiovaite. Priller will assume the lead role in the team given her 2022 4Islands MTB Croatia fifth place and will aim to guide Karasiovaite through her first Epic Series event and possibly even to a podium finish.
Daniela Höfler and Evelyn Sulzer, racing as Rose Racing Circle, are also newbies to the Epic Series and will be eager to show their competition who they are.
Rodeo Bike / Raid Evolenard’s riders Stefanie Zahno and Lehane Oosthuizen have each gained experience in the Epic Series in recent years, particularly at the 2022 4Islands (where Zahno finished sixth) and the 2022 Absa Cape Epic (where Oosthuizen finished eighth).
The final team in the Women’s field is team Full Charlotte, represented by Charlotte Welter and Charlotte Rigoni.
The racing is set to be exciting across the categories and fans are encouraged to follow the racing on the 4Islands MTB Croatia Instagram account and Facebook page, and to enjoy the daily video highlights on the Epic Series YouTube channel.